If you can persuade visitors, you have a good chance of getting them to take action — to click, learn more, or buy — all actions that lead to more coin in your pocket.
The key to persuasion is this: good copywriting. Writing compelling and conversion-centered copy isn’t just important — it’s essential. How you communicate to your audience either makes them want to learn more or “pogo stick” from your site.
A few copy improvements here, and there will likely lead to more brand conversions through copy alone.
Learn tricks of the trade with these copywriting hacks.
1. Drive demand through urgency
While buying or leasing a car, car salespeople often use the urgency sales trick. “You better decide on a car tomorrow. We’ve got other people interested, and the car you have your eyes on is going to go quick,” they say. Well, the principle of urgency applies to other industries, too.
If you want prospective customers to take action fast, prompt them with a sense of urgency. People are attracted to things in limited quantities or that are only available for a certain amount of time. Urgency accelerates decisions and, thus, drives demand. You can curate a sense of urgency in several ways throughout copy with countdown timers, temporary deals, timing words like (no, low, now, without, limited, reduced, soon, and stop).
2. Infuse numbers throughout copy
“When you use a number in a headline, whether in a blog post, an e-mail subject line, an advertisement, etc., you immediately hook the reader’s interest,” says Write Direction.
Humans are attracted to numbers because they are interpreted in a different part of your brain that manages logical order. Beyond this reason, numbers cut down word count, making it easy for people to scan it and decide if they’re willing to opt-in to what you have to say.
So, implement numeric numbers (1,2,3) versus written-out numbers (one, two, three) in your:
- Pull-out quotes
- Call-to-action buttons / closing copy
3. Get your pronouns right
Go against any English teacher and use the pronoun “you.” You already know it’s all about your audience, so speak directly to them! “Put the audience front-and-center by using lots of “you” language,” writes Julia McCoy at Search Engine Journal.
As you write, imagine your ideal audience member sitting in front of you, attentive and eager about what you’re saying. One thing is for sure: they want to be spoken directly to, not referred to as an ambiguous “they” audience.
Here’s an example
- DON’T: “In this post, I will explain how to [do something].”
- DO: “Do you want to learn how to [do something]? Here’s why you should care.”
4. Nix neutral copy and persuade through emotion
Not surprisingly, emotion prompts action in consumers. Emotion, or pathos, is one of Aristotle’s three elements of persuasion. “Pathos is the emotional content of your presentation and is likely the most important. When you alter people’s thinking at an emotional level, you can motivate them to change their thinking and take a particular action,” remarks author Brian Tracy in a recent American Marketing Association post.
Emotion impacts instinctual impressions and makes things resonate in our memories. It also prompts us to follow the same course of action in the future.
So, nix that neutral tone in your brand’s copy. Aim to include words that evoke either a strong positive or negative emotion.
Here are some ways to sprinkle in negative and positive words into copy:
- Negative words: Agonizing, contrary, controversial, censored, shameful, offensive, lewd, provoking, unjustified, wrong
- Positive words: Critical, delightful, fearful, earnest, huge, honest, natural, loving, uplifting, stable, supportive, smart, trusting, freeing, happy, unified
5. Avoid fluff and prove your true worth
“Credibility is key,” they say. But how do you effectively establish credibility in your brand copy without sounding boastful or gimmicky? Your goal is to have your audience tune in and then trust you.
Unfortunately, a lot of brand copy is loaded with the overuse of adjectives and jargon. While tempting to include generic fluffy words, it’s pointless unless you provide evidence the adjectives are truthful.
Enter philosopher Aristotle’s second element of persuasion: ethos. It refers to believability when you speak. Increasing credibility increases the likelihood readers will accept your arguments and take action on your recommendations.
It’s one thing to say your brand is awesome, but another to prove it through examples.
Here are some inclusions to consider boosting ethos within your copy:
- Contextual links to content you trust to support or expand on a point
- Relevant statistics to support arguments or advice
- Quotes from industry thought leaders
- User-generated or customer-led content
- Case studies to prove the value of your product or service
- Active verbs, numbers, and proof points that your business is the best.
6. Keep copy simple and lead visitors to conversion points
Aside from general user experience, having scannable content helps businesses rank higher in organic search results. In fact, Google says low visual complexity (easy to scan) and high prototypically (one that represents a given vertical) is a major organic search ranking factor.
The most profitable websites out there are simple. They accentuate white space to emphasize conversion points and make it easy for visitors to click and spend to their heart’s content. They avoid sidebars or pop-ups, keep text brief, have a few hero images, and keep call-to-actions at a minimum.
7. Understand your target audiences’ level of awareness
Not every audience member knows the same amount regarding your company. Eugene Schwartz tackled this issue in Breakthrough Advertising back in the mid-1960s when he identified five phases of market sophistication.
- The Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal.”
- Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for him.
- Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.
- Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses he has a problem but doesn’t know there’s a solution.
- Completely Unaware: No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.
To improve copy conversions, map each content channel (and page) to the type of reader awareness level you want to target. For example, your homepage may cater to the “completely aware” or “product aware,” whereas your blog posts and white papers may provide to “solution-aware” audience.
You got this
Remember these copywriting hacks and see your conversions improve! Writing copy that converts is a large piece of the cake when it comes to success, but not the full cake. Need more guidance? Here’s another resource on creating more engaging copy.