It’s very difficult to write effective copy.
Creating incredible copy that’s both emotional and informative requires a unique blend of both art and science. The art comes into play with your beautiful and creative prose. The science comes into play with the extensive testing needed to create copy that truly resonates with your readers.
Let's explore seven of the main principles that make the difference between great copy that converts and poor copy that does little more than take up space.
1. Focus on Benefits Not the Product
Customers don’t care about the tangibles of your product. They care about your product based upon what it’s going to do for them. Today, with so much information out there customers already know what solution they’re looking for.
They already have a solid grasp on the problem they’re trying to solve and know what’s going to help them solve that exact problem. This means you need to speak a lot less to the features of your solution and instead match the benefits of your product to the benefits they’re actively looking for.
You still need to mention your product or service. But, dedicate less time to talking about your solution and spend more time speaking to the benefits you can bring.
2. Write Like a Human, Not a Computer
Across digital and written communication it can be easy to forget there’s another human being on the other side of the interaction. Failing to realize you’re actually speaking to another living, breathing human can lead to robotic sounding copy.
A lot of copy sounds like it’s speaking to the computer it was written on. Or, the copy is so complex it would take a dictionary to decipher it.
Take a look at the very conversational, yet high converting copy from AppSumo:
Highly Converting Copy
You can make your writing more relatable by following a few of the tips below:
• Write in the same way you speak (talk-to-text software can actually be great for this).
• Use readable words; don’t make your reader take out a dictionary.
• Use short sentences.
• Include short paragraphs and easy-to-digest-content.
• Be conversational (think about how would you describe your product or service to a friend).
3. Spend a Lot of Time on the Headline
Your headline is one of the most important aspects of your copy. If your headline flops, no one will read the rest of your content.
Your headline is the hook that will sink into your reader and get them to read the rest of your content. Face it: people are busy and live chaotic lives. If your headline doesn’t inspire them to act, or click, to open up your piece of content, then it isn’t working.
However, don’t be audacious or make promises that you can’t back up. This is only going to break the bond of trust that you’ve established with your reader. And today trust is everything.
Take a look at this great headline example from Ramit Sethi:
Great headlines will spark curiosity, speak to the reader’s pain point and inspire them to act right now.
4. Don’t Be Vague: Cite Facts and Numbers
Writing great copy is all about being persuasive. Numbers and facts will persuade people to act more than mage statements and claims will. Vague claims like, “this product will change your life” won’t lend any believability to your product.
By citing statistics, research, or other metrics you do something that a lot of people won’t bother to do. You back up your claims. Anyone can make an unsupported claim about their product.
For example, I could say “reading this post will make you an extra $2K in the next five minutes.” Now, that would be nice, but it simply isn’t true. This only works to discredit everything else that’s included in your copy.
But, if you could back up that claim with verifiable proof, statistics, and customer testimonials, then your claim would be much more believable.
5. Simple Writing Trumps Complex Content
Simple copy will convert and sell much better than complex copy.
Your copy doesn’t do you any good if your readers can’t understand a word you’re saying.
Take a look at Lumosity’s simple, yet effective landing page:
You don’t need a lot of words to sell the benefits to your reader. However, some types of products and services might require longer copy as there will be more resistance to overcome before they buy.
6. Tell Your Reader What Action to Take
Every good piece of copy needs a solid call-to-action (CTA) to wrap up the content. You can’t let your readers guess what action to take next. If you want them to sign up for your email list, then tell them. If you want them to purchase your product, then give them options to buy.
This is an important aspect of your web copy to test as well. Even small changes in the verbiage of your buying buttons can increase your conversion rate.
7. Let Your Past Customers Speak for You
Are you utilizing testimonials to sell your product or service for you?
Take a look at this great landing page testimonial from Unbounce.
Unbounce Landing Page Testimonial
One of the best conversion boosters possible is using your past customers to speak for you. Testimonials act as social proof that what you’re teaching or providing actually works.
Plus, these allow your readers to image themselves as the person giving the testimonial. It helps to create an emotional response to what you’re selling. Developing a connection to your offering will greatly help to increase conversions.
Great copy is never written on the first go around. It is re-written, tested, and written again. Think of any piece of copy you write as a continual work in progress. Over time you’ll increase your conversion rate as you grow to understand your customer and the unique benefits they’re looking for.
What non-negotiable rules do you use when writing copy? Share in the comments below.