How to Write Copy that Actually Converts

How are your landing pages looking? Your headlines? We hope they’re all full of pizzazz to wow your readers and score those conversions. If you’re not achieving results or just need a refresh, take a gander at our tips below. We bet you’ll feel inspired to crank your copy up a notch.

Know Your Subject, Medium, and Channel

Sounds like a lot to know, right? Well, there are fast tracks if you’re a newbie, but you should also have a plan to reach expert level. First, your subject: if you’ve decided to enter a new market, develop buyer personas – basically, your target demographic. Think up who you’re targeting and flesh out every detail about them. Where do they live? What gender? How much do they make? What are their buying habits and lifestyle preferences? Answer these questions and more with a whole lot of research and consumer studies. Then, tailor your copy’s voice to what these buyer personas want to hear.

Now your medium and channel. Will it be online, radio, tv, or all of the above? How about mobile devices, websites, and social media networks? You should say ‘yes!’ to most of these. But what does ‘knowing’ them mean and how is copy affected? Think of how Twitter copy is different from that of a radio ad. Pretty different, we say. If you’re not already familiar, study how brands use particular channels and mediums when it comes to copy length, voice, diction, vocabulary, and more. Then decipher what will be most effective for your brand – whether you assimilate or diverge from the beaten path.

Headlines

They’ve been important since day 1 of journalism, but now more than ever. Your readers are taking in content quick and need to be pulled in immediately. If you need somewhere to start, there are plenty of tried and true templates on the web, but if you want to take your brand to new heights, you’ll need to get a lot more creative. We recommend writing heaps of draft headlines. We’re talking a few dozen. Then pick the winning batch, and test them out on different social media channels. Track what works and forge ahead!

Focus on THE reader

Don’t just speak to some vague group of nobodies. Write copy that says, ‘Hey, YOU!’ (maybe not literally). This is key for the copy that makes up your call to action (more on that below). Whether it’s a short Facebook update or full-blown campaign, your copy needs to make every reader feel like you’re talking directly to them. Instead of ‘Brunch is from 11 AM to 2 PM today,’ your reader should be drawn in with ‘Fancy some french toast? Come in for brunch from 11 AM to 2 PM this Saturday!’

The words themselves: Short, sweet, and punchy

One of the biggest no-nos of writing is wordiness. Why make your readers read three words when one will do? Just like headlines, all of your copy should get to the point and get there fast. In addition to being short and sweet, choose vocabulary that not only fits your brand’s voice, but really delivers. Choose words that have some power behind them – ‘fearless,’ ‘brazen,’ and ‘best’ are just a few. And we’re not saying to just throwing in superlative adjectives, although those can help. Pick your words carefully by writing, re-writing, shortening, letting it sit, and then going back for the spruce ups.

Tell them why and include a call to action

Copy tells a story, informs, advises. It also needs to give an answer to the “so what?” question. Again, your readers are short on time and their eyes are tired of scanning apps and websites – have a point and get to it! For example, why are you reading this right here, right now? The topic is writing better copy, the ‘why’ is because it can and will boost conversions, which leads to a host of advantages you’re well aware of. It will end with a call to action to get started on writing the best copy for your brand. Make sure your calls to action are concise and clear, and start with an inspiring verb (Click for the coupon! Sign up today! Come in tonight!). Exclamation point optional.

Test & Test

Look at testing copy in two ways: in the sense of experimenting, by actually putting new kinds of copy out there and seeing what sticks, but also A/B testing before you go live. You can do this with Google Website Optimizer with a little technical know-how. This will allow you to designate a control and a variant, and test say, just a headline, or copy for an entire page, by directing some visitors to the control (A) and others to its variation (B). Pick a goal conversion rate, and see what shakes out.

Ready to upgrade your copy? Remember that copywriting is both an art and a science, driven by both creativity and data. It takes constant tweaking. Once you get your voice and vocab down, integrate them into your very own style guide, and you’ll have a foundation to springboard from. Now get to typing!

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