Conversion Rate Optimization for ANY Business

Copywriting That Skyrockets Conversion

Hey I’m Becky Davis and welcome to my YouTube channel. This is part three of my series where I’m talking about Conversion Rate Optimization, Digital Marketing, and applying behavioral science to businesses of every size. I’ll be breaking down the hurdles most business face when looking at CRO — lack of traffic and lack of money — and making this applicable to any business.

Last video we talked about ways to optimize your headline for clarity, readability, and engagement. Now let’s move down the page to the body copy.

There is SO much out there on copy, so I’m going to give you a framework to get started today. Once you have this framework, future suggestions will fit in and you’ll have a foundation to start experimenting with.

Now…

Oh.My.God.It’s.So.Much.Text. Do not do this. This needs to be broken up into at least five sections instead of two. Each section should be ONE concept. Headers, subheaders, lists, and graphics. Use these to break it up and add to the meaning.

Chunking information this way helps group it into smaller and smaller bits. It clues the reader in to what information is related and how much they have to hold in their short term memory at once.

Ok, now copy flow. Starting with the headline, we’ve introduced the value proposition. The visitor knows why they’re here and what they could get. Now they have to make a decision. Do they convert or do they leave?

Yep, decision making, this is my jam. Behavioral economics has a lot to tell us about decision making and it’s one of my favorite fields. But you know what’s the best place to start for a strong foundation to build your copy off of?

Face-to-face sales.

Oh yeah. Since sales has been around probably as long as humanity, through trial and error, they’ve managed to get the conversion process down. So what we’re doing here is just adapting the best sales conversations to a digital medium. That’s what conversion-focused copy should be, a conversation you are having with a prospect.

You’re just stripped of the face-to-face advantage of seeing your prospects’ response to something or hearing their questions. Normally you’d use that to guide the conversation. Since you can’t, you have to accommodate for that and allow the prospect to do it for you. This is part of the formatting I mentioned a minute ago.

Formatting to increase amount read

I need to be able to skim while still getting meaning. People are going to skim and they aren’t going to give you their full attention until they decide if they are interested in a section. Your section headers should accommodate by providing meaning to someone skimming.

So instead of “About Us”, you’re going to want to use a section header like

That actually conveys something meaningful while giving an idea about what other information will be in that section.

I’m not reading in a linear path. I’m first skimming to decide if I want to give you my time and attention, then I’m slowly getting pulled in when something catches my interest. At that point I’ll read the copy and move towards making a conversion decision.

Repeat things. Not word for word, present the concept from a different angle. I’m looking at a KickStarter for Chase Pants right now that mentions they have a lot of pockets–5 times. Each time is slightly different.

This helps with inattentive readers. The information sinks in and recall is improved when your core benefits or message are presented in different ways. It’s why you see the same commercial and variations on it over and over. If you got the message 100% the first time, then they wouldn’t get any benefit from additional airings.

Copy flow that converts

Next, how to organize. This is a lot easier if you’ve actually had sales conversations with your prospects. Even better if you’ve had successful sales conversations.

Start out by immediately orienting the prospect. They should know where they are and what they can do from the headline. Ideally they should also know why they should do it with you versus a competitor. That would be your differentiator.

Then you’re going to tell a story. This story can be formatted differently depending on the targets and the business but it’ll go something like this: What the problem is. What’s missing, what’s not ideal, or what’s just plain wrong. You need to let the target know that you understand them and their motivation. Next, how you’ll solve it and what makes you different, what makes you better, or why they should act. Then you’ll want to prove it. Social proof, testimonials, demos; those belong in this category.

Finally, ask for the sale. Don’t be shy. I hate Facebook’s “Learn More” button for this reason. “Learn More” started popping up more frequently as a call-to-action on landing pages. In 9 out of 10 cases “Learn More” is too weak a call to action. Your call to action, your ask, should be what your visitor needs to do to convert. Want them to sign up? Say sign up. Want them to buy? Say buy now.

Ending with an ask will increase your conversion rates. If you are letting your page just trail off or maybe ending with a different ask, like a newsletter sign up, then you are missing out on conversions.

You can throw things that are extras in like social proof, scarcity, trust building, and supporting stats. These are all highly useful elements but, as its core, your copy needs to be built around the story. If your story can hit exactly what your target wants then everything else is just bonus. I’ll use my experience with the Chase pants on KickStarter as an example.

I’m not much of an impulse buyer. And KickStarter, well by definition I can’t see much social proof since the things don’t even exist yet. And I could easily believe they managed to take in a few hundred suckers. I don’t know any of the publications they mention being listed in and I don’t know the company.

But, I really want a pair of durable skinny-cut pants with a bunch of pockets that don’t restrict my movement the way jeans do. And the story they are telling me matches that immaculately, complete with plenty of pictures of people wearing the prototype pants hiking and charts explaining the durability.

Plus they’re made from recycled bottles in a low-environmental impact facility. I mean, it’s like I’d walk into their offices and see myself on the wall as their persona.

This helps with inattentive readers. The information sinks in and recall is improved when your core benefits or message are presented in different ways. It’s why you see the same commercial and variations on it over and over. If you got the message 100% the first time, then they wouldn’t get any benefit from additional airings.

Next, how to organize. This is a lot easier if you’ve actually had sales conversations with your prospects. Even better if you’ve had successful sales conversations.

Start out by immediately orienting the prospect. They should know where they are and what they can do from the headline. Ideally they should also know why they should do it with you versus a competitor. That would be your differentiator.

Then you’re going to tell a story. This story can be formatted differently depending on the targets and the business but it’ll go something like this: What the problem is. What’s missing, what’s not ideal, or what’s just plain wrong. You need to let the target know that you understand them and their motivation. Next, how you’ll solve it and what makes you different, what makes you better, or why they should act. Then you’ll want to prove it. Social proof, testimonials, demos; those belong in this category.

Finally, ask for the sale. Don’t be shy. I hate Facebook’s “Learn More” button for this reason. “Learn More” started popping up more frequently as a call-to-action on landing pages. In 9 out of 10 cases “Learn More” is too weak a call to action. Your call to action, your ask, should be what your visitor needs to do to convert. Want them to sign up? Say sign up. Want them to buy? Say buy now.

Ending with an ask will increase your conversion rates. If you are letting your page just trail off or maybe ending with a different ask, like a newsletter sign up, then you are missing out on conversions.

You can throw things that are extras in like social proof, scarcity, trust building, and supporting stats. These are all highly useful elements but, as its core, your copy needs to be built around the story. If your story can hit exactly what your target wants then everything else is just bonus. I’ll use my experience with the Chase pants on KickStarter as an example.

I’m not much of an impulse buyer. And KickStarter, well by definition I can’t see much social proof since the things don’t even exist yet. And I could easily believe they managed to take in a few hundred suckers. I don’t know any of the publications they mention being listed in and I don’t know the company.

But, I really want a pair of durable skinny-cut pants with a bunch of pockets that don’t restrict my movement the way jeans do. And the story they are telling me matches that immaculately, complete with plenty of pictures of people wearing the prototype pants hiking and charts explaining the durability.

Plus they’re made from recycled bottles in a low-environmental impact facility. I mean, it’s like I’d walk into their offices and see myself on the wall as their persona.

Again, I’m not an impulse buyer, I’m not an early adopter, but when you can tell me a story that makes me feel like you get me, you can win my trust without having to lean on much else.

Last item: length

How long should your copy be? As long as the visitor needs in order to make a decision.

Most web pages selling pants are short. Like Lucky’s. Chase’s goes on and on and on. And yet I still read the whole thing. Multiple times. And their pants were cheaper than Lucky’s.

I’ve had high-converting long pages that were just targeted at getting an email address. It really depends on your product and your target audience’s mindset. Would Lucky’s pants do better with an epically long sales page? Very likely not, because their shoppers are in a different mindset than people looking at the Chase Pants.

Just add calls to action through out so that the target can convert whenever they feel like they have enough information. Don’t make them search. That also accommodates people who may not need quite as much information to make a decision.

Ok, that was a lot. Here’s a fast recap:

  • Format your text to increase the chances that it actually gets read.
  • Tell your product’s story in single-concept sections with meaningful headers (this is flexible, “benefits” can be a section or a single benefit can be a section)
  • Make a strong ask for the conversion in your call to actions
  • Make the copy as long as your visitor needs

Next up, key design elements for conversion. Click to go on to that video post!

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