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How to Do Conversion Copywriting in 3 Easy Steps
- Caleb Gasilao
- 21 Jun 2021 11 min read
Conversion copywriting isn’t too concerned about making your copies look or sound good, but rather how it can drive customers to perform a profitable action.
Yes, a catchphrase or a witty headline can attract attention, but what comes next? Did it motivate your reader to make a decision or purchase? Or did they just took note of it and left your landing pages?
See, that’s the common pitfall of copywriters and most content marketing agencies today; selling all the “sizzle” (in their copies) but failing to deliver on the steak (conversion).
When it comes to conversion copywriting, the process itself should be grounded on an approach that takes to heart the customers’ perspective. What exactly do they want, and why should they pick your brand to begin with? Answering those questions is already a good start to understanding thoroughly this type of copywriting.
As a leading digital marketing agency in the Philippines that’s been balls deep into conversion optimization ever since, we know how crucial copywriting is in your overall strategy. They’re not just words plastered on your brand’s website, product, or ads, but rather they’re stories that connect to your audience and influence them to take action.
If you’re tired of writing copies that aren’t getting you anywhere in online traffic or sales, then it’s time to shift your strategies towards conversion copywriting. Here’s how you can do it.
Differentiating Sales Copy and Conversion Copy
Part of understanding conversion copywriting is setting it apart from what other copywriters usually do.
Browsing through the whole catalog of copywriting services can be a conversation for another time, but for the sake of this discussion let’s focus on two specific types of copywriting that are wrongly interchanged: sales and conversion.
While both dabble in the realm of influencing and persuading your audience to take profitable action, there’s actually a fine line that differentiate copies made to sell, versus those that are made to convert.
Mainly, sales copywriting is focused on reeling customers through engaging copies that can convince them to purchase what you’re offering.
At a glance, this type of copywriting is what most businesses opt for since it’s more profit-centric, giving users a reason to keep reading through your copies until they’re convinced to make a purchase. This is usually seen in making striking headlines, that admittedly 8 out of 10 people read, meaning the remaining two are the only people who will run through your whole copy.
Take for example online learning course platform Coursera’s headline which only uses three words and is followed by a subheader that identifies what this supposed “learning” pertains to. It’s quick-witted, catchy, powerful, and even includes a free offer below.
Screenshot from Coursera.
Conversion copywriting, on the other hand, is not just concerned with generating revenue but is more geared towards satisfying your customer journey. This means a conversion copywriter focuses on a macro perspective of how their copies can enhance a brand’s digital campaigns. They take into consideration granular aspects such as the digital advertising channels on which these ads will be discovered, among many other things.
Simply put, conversion copy integrates the various disciplines in writing for SEO, UX Design, Content, PPC, and Social Media. All these are grounded on a data-driven process that works well within a digital marketing framework.
A practical example of this can be the way SEO copywriters work versus social media copywriters. While the first focuses on generating the quality and quantity of online traffic through keywords, the second is mainly geared towards creating engagement. Conversion copywriting encompasses both these disciplines to make sure that overall branding and tone are consistent across all channels.
This is exemplified by hygiene trimmer brand, Meridian, which uses the language of its customers in referring to their private areas as “below-the-waist” or “down there.” They lifted these verbal cues from their reviews and used their customers’ voices to determine how their copies should sound like. This messaging also carries over to their social media channels as well.
What works better for copywriting then?
This article is not meant to discredit the merits of sales copy, but it’s important to understand that this is just a subset of the whole picture painted by conversion copywriting.
As we mentioned earlier, sale copy is profit-centric, whereas conversion copy is customer-driven. There is also an intricate, data-driven process involved in conversion copywriting which we’ll get to in a bit.
Perhaps the most distinguishing trait of a sales writer which should be included in conversion copywriting is their command of persuasion techniques that get people to buy a product or service. If you want to enhance that field, then consider taking these killer copywriting tips to improve the overall appeal and storytelling of your copies.
With that, let’s proceed to discuss how you can begin your conversion copywriting journey.
3-Step Guide on Conversion Copywriting
While there are numerous copywriting guides and learning resources that you can definitely check out anytime, here at Propelrr we approach conversion copywriting in three steps:
1. Customer research
Everything that revolves around your market research is the data set for your customer research and conversion rate optimization strategies.
The intent of this step is to discover the voice-of-customer (VOC) and identify the exact purpose of why they are looking for your brand. This can also iron out the precise pain point of your audience and even look at how your competitors are trying to address these on their respective channels.
At the end of the day, your objective is to come up with a hypothesis on copies that can create an impact on your customer journey based on the research you’ve conducted.
There are various ways to do this, but for the context of copywriting and content we’ll mainly be focusing on:
- Message mining;
- Product messaging. and;
- Emotional content strategy (ECS)
This research approach is a method of scouring the internet or other customer feedback sources for reviews and top concerns about your product or service.
These sources, of course, should come from a credible channel like Google Reviews. Social media feedback that your community management efforts pick up can also contribute to your research.
From here you can categorize your customer feedback and categorizing them based on factors that affect customer conversions like motivation, value, and anxiety.
The results of your message mining can provide you organic customer insights about your company, competitors, and even niche industry. Small companies will do well to benefit from this process especially as you seek out to establish a proper and solid brand message across all platforms.
Bonus tip: Another good practice is gathering all your reviews in a word cloud generator to see word frequency counts which can help in depicting your choice of words vis-a-vis brand tone.
It’s also important to evaluate the overall messaging of your website copies including your competitors’, which can be done with the help of heuristic analysis.
The whole process of product messaging heuristics is an interesting topic that you should definitely learn about but in a nutshell, it helps you answer specifically designed questions that assess a page’s coherence and clarity when it comes to communicating the objectives it was designed for.
For conversion copywriting, if the scores of the heuristic review are non-satisfactory then it’s time to improve or revise the copies of your website and landing pages and align them with your brand objectives.
Bonus tip: We also involve two other heuristic reviews during our audits and research, namely, UX Design Heuristics and the 7 Levers of Conversion. These encompass not just improving your copies but also the overall customer experience of your website.
Emotional content strategy (ECS)
For the final leg of our conversion copywriting research, we also dwell on a qualitative approach using CXL Institute’s ECS analysis to determine if the copies are suited to your website’s top-to-bottom. This ranges an evaluation of your choice of words, the psychological attachment behind the color and design, and what emotion your current copies are currently trying to tap.
An ECS SWOT table helps you collate your current emotional targeting to look for ways on how you can improve on your strengths and alleviate the threats for your branding when writing copies.
Bonus tip: Up the ante of your ECS and include a limbic map to create an emphatic design in your copies that can impact your customer journey. The results of the limbic map also help generate a realistic buyer persona that you can and update frequently.
After collecting all your data from the customer research, you can create a hypothesis on how your copies can convert. The merit of here is that you’re not basing it off gut feel but rather from VOC data straight from the customers’ mouth.
Remember to plug all your findings in a Hypothesis Prioritization Framework (HPF) since you’ll be reassessing these after the A/B split testing and the results come out. We’ll get to that in a bit, but first, let’s get started on your copies!
2. Writing the copies
Since you now have solid data set on customer insights about your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, not just on in a copywriting context, it’s time to start writing the actual copies.
If you’re still struggling with writing great copy, don’t worry, these copywriting tips for beginners should be able to help you on your journey.
Here are three essential components to create high-impact copies when it comes to conversion copywriting:
- Developing your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
- Creating your message hierarchies
- Writing and editing your copies
Developing your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
A common mistake that brands tend to commit when coming with their respective UVP is that it comes straight from the brainstorming sessions of execs and higher-ups without factoring in the customer insights about their service and industry.
The result? Customers will have a hard time thinking about how your brand is different in providing for their needs.
The good news is you’re not brainstorming from scratch since you’ve already done the groundwork of your customer research. These are what we call the building blocks that make for a great UVP.
Here’s a visual representation of how you can develop your UVP anchored on customer data.
As you can see, the best UVP doesn’t come from a single source (brand, customers, product) but rather it is an overlapping mix of different insights grounded on data between your audience needs, what you’re offering, and how is it any different from your competitors.
Marketing automation and email service provider, Mailchimp does this on the following example by showcasing what users are looking for and what they do (“Build your brand, sell online…”), and highlighting how they do it differently (“…all in one place”).
Screenshot from mailchimp
Creating your message hierarchies
Now, it’s time to organize the messaging of your copies into three main conversion aspects categories which are:
- Motivation. These are the who, what, and why of your copies mainly highlighting the UVP and how your service is different. Your copies should give the user a reason to scroll further down the page giving them the desired outcome as well if they go with your service or product.
- Value. This part is where you expound on the delightful features of your brand, communicating thoroughly the UVP offered. Remember to make it more about the customer and less about your company, since you’re adding value for them, not your brand.
- Anxiety. This is the make-or-break portion of your entire copy since this discusses how your service or product can alleviate your users’ existing pain points. This is the conversion aspect that leads to your user performing your intended call-to-action (CTA)
All these can be properly visualized in the classic story arc framework that begins with your Setting (Motivation), Rising Action (Value and Anxiety), Climax (CTA), and Falling Action and Resolution (completed conversion).
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Never interchange the message flow of your copies, always ensure the Motivation-Value-Anxiety structure is followed since this creates a seamless customer experience for your copies.
Writing and editing your copies
Building from the message hierarchies, you can now begin your first draft. Since we believe that each copywriter has their own unique style, we’ll just present a guide we follow when writing the copies:
- Just say it. Clarity always trumps persuasion. Your audience can’t read your mind which is why you have to be specific about your copies. The moment a person asks something that isn’t clear with your copies, then you know there is an issue involved with your copies.
- Match the readers’ mindset. A well-researched, message-matched headline will often outperform an un-researched “persuasive-trick” headline.
- Message-match with a question. A good trick in writing your specific unique value is coming up with questions that your UVPs can answer. Don’t be afraid to be conversational.
- Blow your customers away with value. Make it about them, how can they see value in what you’re offering?
- Show an exhaustive list of specific, happy outcomes. These can come in the form of reviews which can back up the UVP of your copies. Remember that word-of-mouth holds a great influence on the customer journey.
- Use quantifiable proof, if possible. Whenever you make an outrageous offer or claim with your copies make sure to back it up with proof of truth. This can come in the form of a case study, a customer testimonial, or anything quantifiable that adds weight to your copies.
- Be specific. Generic is fake! Don’t focus on being the “best” or the “largest”, but rather on how specifically can you help eradicate a customer’s pain point with your product or service.
- Don’t just talk, Paint a picture. Be creative in the way you write and present your headlines. This is where the techniques of persuasion that sales copywriters possess come in handy.
- Cut anything that’s not doing real work. This isn’t an academic paper or study, If your copies are lengthy or contain highfalutin words, it can actually do your conversion copywriting more harm than good. Revisit your VOC to determine how your audience talk.
In conclusion to writing your copies, ask yourself the following questions after writing and editing your copies:
- Is it reflecting/matching motivation?
- Is it conveying (or clarifying) value?
- Is it proving a claim?
Is it addressing a specific anxiety?
- Is it adding authentic specificity?
Now that you’re done with writing and editing your copies, it’s time to test it out and see how it works!
3. A/B Testing Your Copies
Finally, after all the groundwork is done and the copies have been written, it’s time to test if it can actually perform well.
A solid data-driven approach to see how effective your copies are is through A/B testing or split testing.
A/B testing is simply a strategy that compares versions of an ad, app, email, or website to see which version performs better. This includes your copies. Through this strategy, you can optimize your conversion rate and discover ways to drastically improve your marketing performance.
You can use it for sales landing page optimization, different social media formats and styles, ad copies, and more. It will guide you towards discovering the ways in which you can improve your campaigns.
Applying this strategy to your copies can give you a basis if your efforts are well worth it or if you need to further improve your conversion copywriting. Once the results of the A/B tests are you can prove or disprove your findings from the Hypothesis Prioritization Framework we mentioned earlier.
At the end of the day, when it comes to conversion copywriting here are the key takeaways you should carry along in your process:
- Capitalize on your VOC data. Many brands today often think that customer reviews are there just to heighten their credibility and reputation. They’re not wrong to assume that, but these data sets hold crucial information on how you can communicate your UVPs in an organic way. Make sure to message mine your reviews thoroughly to understand how your audience feels about your brand.
- Conversion copywriting is customer-driven. Put people first before your brand. Settle in the fact that you are not the only provider out there and that consumers are smart to determine the value you put on them just by reading your copies. If you’d notice, our foundation for this data is customer research, without it, we’d all just be blind copywriters in a sense.
- Collect, collate, and improve on your results. In the context of your A/B testing, it’s important that you document the results thoroughly on how you can improve the next batch of copies. A quantitative approach can be including an analytics heatmap as well since this can help you determine the user behavior on your page which answers the question of whether they’re reading your copies