You may have heard that using the right emotional triggers helps you write web copy that converts. Indeed, persuasive copy does increase conversion rate and should be an essential ingredient of a successful marketing strategy. You can engage your visitors, build trust and persuade them to try your products by using compelling, well-crafted web copy. Alongside a conversion-centric web design, persuasive copy can increase conversion rate significantly.
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to be an expert in copywriting or hold a Master’s Degree in English to optimize your website’s content. Rather, it really comes down to implementing a few fundamental techniques, integral to effective persuasion and sales practices.
In this post, I am going to show you what those techniques are and how you can use them to write web copy that converts.
#1. Be consistent across all platforms
Headlines and subheadings often get brushed aside as a minor detail, but truth of the matter is that these details matter—especially with how they relate to other elements of your sales funnel (i.e., PPC ads, body copy, banners, etc.) Companies will go to great lengths to see which headlines covert best through A/B, multivariate testing and metrics. This serves a purpose, as this next case study demonstrate, because sometimes your first hunch may not be accurate.
Case in Point: California Closets tested two variations of their homepage with Version A and Version B. The first version (A) reads “You’ve Arrived. Get organized with the best. Call or click today.” Now the second version (B), sounds a bit catchier and to the point. It reads, “Clean. Bright. Organized. Schedule your free design consultation today.”
Anyone who has any notion whatsoever of effective sales knows that using the word free automatically appeals more to audiences. Coupled with the descriptive opening words, the individuals conducting the trial theorized that version B would outperformed the former however, the tests revealed the otherwise. Version A “increased leads by 115%.”
The Takeaway: The test showed that visitors engaged better with version A because it was more reminiscent of the PPC ad that led them to that page in the first place. The takeaway here is that visitors do place a high value on consistency, and if you can tie in all of your elements together you have a greater likelihood of solidifying the deal.
What’s the first thing that your visitor notices when they land on your page? If it’s not the headline, then you have some serious restructuring to do! The headlines should not only mention the relevant keywords that pertain to the copy but they should entice the visitor to read the body copy.
Say for example, I’m the owner of a bar in town and I want to discuss a new, specialty drink I’ll be offering. Let’s call it “The Nightcrawler”. My intent with this article is to attract people to come try this new cocktail at an event I’m hosting. Some different headlines might look like this:
- “The Nightcrawler Tasting Launch–Register Here”This is a more direct approach, it gets straight to the point and doesn’t beat around the bush.
- “Your Taste Buds Have Waited All Year for This!”Unlike the first direct headline, this teaser headline has a sense of mystery to it. What have my taste Buds waiting all year for? I want to know!
- “Announcing The Nightcrawler Tasting Event”This is what you might consider a news headline. It’s clear that the article will detail an event for The Nightcrawler.
- “7 Reason You Need to Try The Nightcrawler Cocktail”People love reading lists, it’s a fact. “11 Ways to Organize Your kitchen”, 9 Must-Have iPhone Apps, the list goes on and on. Studies have shown, however, that odd-numbered lists have a 20% higher click-through rate.
The goal is to make it catchy and pique your readers interest that they can’t help but click on it! An effective way to approach it, as the trainers at American Writers & Artists Inc. point out is to use The Four U’s to write your headline and subheadings.
- Useful: Is the headline useful for identifying what the rest of the page is about?
- Urgency: Does it convey a sense of urgency? In other words, is the reader urged to read it immediately or put it on the backburner for later?
- Unique: How original are you being? Put your creative skills to the test with your headlines.
- Ultra-Specific: Zero in on your main objective and convey it in the headline.
#3. Plan ahead for higher conversions
In the beginning was the word and the word was plan. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning. Of course, there is a natural order to writing and you can’t overanalyze the flow once inspiration strikes but you can take the time to create an outline.
What this outline does is keep you on the straight and narrow in times when you may be compelled to go on a tangent or get carried away by your copy. Focus is the key to converting customers. If you can keep them focused on your call-to-action, whether that be subscribing to your newsletter or making an on-site purchase, then you’ve succeeded.
One way to keep your audience focused on the call-to-action is to use affirmative action verbs. Rather than asking your visitor to complete an action, however, word it with what they’re receiving. For example, instead of “subscribe for a free 60-day trial” use “Receive unlimited access for 60 days!”
Not only is the latter more appealing, but it it implies less work and more reward for the user. The same holds true when posting articles on social media platforms like twitter and Facebook. Use fewer nouns, and more verbs!
#4. Longer posts (usually) rank higher and convert better
This question gets raised time after time— how much content is ideal?
As Neil Patel demonstrates in his research, content length definitely matters and sites with long high-quality posts are proven to generate more clicks. Take a look at the graphic below. SerpIQ gathered data on the top ranking pages and evaluated each one’s average content length. From the first position, to the tenth there is a significant difference in the content length.
First of all they all they all exceed the 2,000 word mark and the top two even surpass 2,450 words. In-depth articles are preferred every time to those that simply skim the surface because they contain more applicable information. Likewise, other sites are significantly more likely to link to an in-depth article so you’ll not only benefit from organic search result clicks but also backlinks!
#5. Serve your content in bite-sized morsels
In our tech-driven society, we’re constantly on-the-go. That means checking emails in between conference calls, browsing Facebook during lunch and often fitting in more than we can realistically handle at one time. With so much of our time consumed in multiple projects, we tend to scan content rather than reading each line word by word.
For that reason, condensing heavy copy into bullet points or bite-sized chunks is not only beneficial for your reader, but also increases conversion rate. Other ways to make your webpage easily digestible include:
- Adding photos, charts, graphs alongside content rich pages. Humans are visual creatures, by nature, so adding these sorts of elements greatly aid in driving home your message.
- Breaking up length blocks of text into smaller paragraphs. Again, readers get overwhelmed when they see a page that drags on forever. Having the right balance of white space in between paragraphs is proven to hold a reader’s attention better than an infinite grid of text.
- Bullet points and numbers add variety and offer the opportunity to highlight benefits.
#6. Use these 5 magic words to increase your conversion rate
Have you ever been tempted by a product or service that was offered for free? How about buying into a fad just because it was new? A single word can change the entire dynamic of your client’s perception and skilled marketers know this. Here are the top five words to store in your copy arsenal:
What makes the newest iPhone such a hot commodity? Apple capitalizes on a recent release by playing up the ‘new factor’. New operating system, new widescreen retina display, new fingerprint security features. And Apple’s loyal customer base buys into it–literally. Customer’s will never stop wanting the newest gadget, product or offer so it works, as Apple demonstrates, to play it up.
Freebies! Free Stuff! Free Trial!
Multivariate tests are a great way to assess the value in which these powerhouse words carry. Just to give you an example The Sims 3 wanted to increase the number of users who registered for their games. The original page was a three column design with the call-to-action button “sign up now” in the center under “Join the Fun!” (see below):
After redesigning the page, they focused on improved copy and an emphasis on the free aspect.
The new page says, “Register Your Game and Get a FREE New Town Now!” Furthermore, they reworded the central button to read, “Register Now-Free!”. In all the game registrations increased by 128%.
As is evident, by drawing attention to the free portion of the game, they were able to entice and register more users. Just remember, very few words in the dictionary increase conversion rate better than “free”.
A guarantee, written or implied with a trust symbol, can improve online sales by instilling confidence in your visitors. It can be a simple as saying “we are commitment to protecting your privacy on our website and guarantee not to share any of your personal information with third-parties”. Or, you can relay a guarantee through a trust symbol like these below:
Urgency is a great tactic for driving sales and words like instantly, now, don’t delay, limited time definitely light a fire under your visitors. Also, people as a whole are impatient, so by saying“get instant access” you’re able to satiate their desire for immediate satisfaction.
The last word to keep in mind, may be the most overlooked—you. Using reader-inclusive language is more relatable and addresses the action to the reader directly.
#7. Increase conversions by highlighting your testimonials
Testimonials, even though they’re not typically written by the copywriting team, are still a part of the copy and they are of paramount importance. If you want new visitors to recognize the value of your product or services, dedicate a section to positive client testimonials. This is not only a source of validation but also shows that your company is more than capable of completing the job. Bonus: If you can add a photo next to individual testimonials that boost’s the authenticity factor!
WordPress has a number of unique testimonial plugins to easily incorporate testimonials on your webpage. So not only is it simple to include, but it has a proven record of boosting conversions. This case study for WikiJob was able to increase sales by 34%.
#8. Exit Overlays: Use sarcasm to increase conversion rate
The last attempt to hook a visitor before they abandon your site completely is with an exit overlay. There are a number of designs and formats that you can utilize but the one noted below is quite common. Notice the wording used in each one of the options. The green call-to-action button says “Yes, Download the FREE EBOOK” while the other gray button says, “No thanks, I’ll stick to my gut on how to grow on my subscriber base”. The latter is obviously very snarky and anyone who doesn’t want to be poked fun at may give in and click the green button.
This just goes to show that you can, to a certain degree, use sarcasm as a way to persuade a visitor. I’ve seen countless exit overlays like this, and if anything it makes the site that much more memorable upon leaving.
Adjusting your copy doesn’t take an immense amount of effort but it can have a tremendous impact on user behavior, conversion rates, and your overall bottom line. Consider implementing the aforementioned strategies including exercising consistency across platforms, testing out different headline types, incorporating testimonials, as well as the other points mentioned.
Do you know of any other techniques to write web copy that converts?