CXL Institute Conversion Optimization Mini-Degree Scholarship Program Week 10 Review
I left off last week’s blog post covering the ‘shopping cart page’ and ‘checkout page’ modules for the CRO best practices module of the Conversion Optimization Mini Degree training. This week, I will move on to a new section of the training, the “Intro to Conversion Copywriting” course.
Copy can make or break conversions. Words sell (or don’t). The exact words you use and the amount of words you use can make a huge difference. The goal of most “regular” text is not to sell but to instead entertain or inform. However, in sales copy, the goal is to make sales, to get people to do something, to get sign ups, to collect leads, to collect emails, to make a purchase, anything along those lines.
Hiring an expensive copywriter can be out of reach for many so it is important to have the skill yourself, whether you want to write copy and get paid well for it by other companies as a freelancer or employee or to sell your own products or services in your business.
There is a process behind writing great copy. If your approach to copywriting is “I’ll just try to be convincing”, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
You don’t even need to be a natural writer to come up with excellent cop. It just takes the right process and some key principles to write copy that sells.
Here are the six steps of effective copywriting process:
1) Research: customer, product and competition.
2) Outline and guideposts.
3) Draft copy.
4) Conversion boost.
5) Revise, rearrange.
Let’s dive into this into more detail:
This is the most intensive part of writing copy. You need to figure out why people buy the product, how they buy it, what they use it for, and what really matters to them. If you don’t have this figured out, you cannot write copy that converts (barring any luck on your part of guessing what it is that you are selling and why people would buy your product). When it’s your own business that you’re writing copy for, it is usually easier since you know the product and the competition.
Within this research process, it is important to gauge the competition.
You need to be aware of your direct competition, how they present their product, and what claims they seem to be making. If you are not selling something unique, you are selling as much for your competition as you are selling for yourself. Being like the others or choosing to be one of the leading providers of your product is a losing strategy.
Neuromarketing research shows that differentiating our claims is the key to talking to the old brain, the decision-making part of our brain. Your entire business’ identity should be different from the competition, and the claims you make about your product should stand out.
This is especially crucial in e-commerce where many sellers try to sell the same “thing” as everyone else and try to win by pricing their product the cheapest. This is not the way to go about it of course.
Furthermore, we need to get out of the office. Instead, you have to interview people. And not just any random people. You want to interview your ideal customers and find out what is on their minds.
Find out what your ideal customers think about your product, what language they use when they talk about it, what attributes are important to them, and what promises would most likely convince them to buy it.
Here are some questions to ask your most recent buyers (recording the interviews is a good idea, but ask for permission):
- Who are you? What do you do? (customer profile)
- What does our product help you do? (helps you understand how they use it, tells you words they use to describe our product)
- Which parameters did you compare on different options? (which features matter)
- What were the most important ones? (key pains to solve)
- Which alternatives did you consider? (competitors we have to look at)
- What made you choose our product? (our key advantage)
- What were the biggest hesitations and doubts before the purchase? (things we have to address in the copy)
- Were there questions you needed answers to, but couldn’t find any? (necessary information to provide)
- What information would have helped you make the decision faster? (same as above)
- In which words would you recommend it to somebody you know? (words they use to describe our product)
Take note of the exact wording they use. Your copy needs to match the conversation in your customer’s mind. If you talk about “scribing devices” and he needs a pen, there is a mismatch. And with a mismatch, customers will not feel that your product is for them, and therefore they will NOT buy your product.
However, if customers see the product described in words they have in their mind already, then you’ve got their attention (and a much higher chance to get them to buy your product from you, not your competition).
2. Outline And Guideposts
The next step now after gathering research and intel from your ideal customers and past buyers, it is now time to outline. You should use guideposts to serve as markers to help you write the content on the outline.
Writing an outline usually only takes a few minutes and provides a roadmap for the rest of the process. It allows you to complete the work faster and ensures that you stick to the flow.
The copy outline structure will depend on the page you’re writing the copy for. The main pages you need a well thought-out copy in place are your home page and product pages (for e-commerce websites especially).
Here is one formula you could possibly use for your home page copy (though there are various potential formulas or ways to go about it depending on your business):
- Headline: What is the end-benefit you’re offering, in one short sentence. Can mention the product and/or the customer. Attention grabber.
- Sub-headline or a two-to-three sentence paragraph: A specific explanation of what you do/offer, for whom, and why is it useful.
- Bullet points: List the key benefits or features.
An example outline for the product page could be:
1. Name of the product.
2. Value proposition: what’s the end-benefit of this product and who is it for?
3. Specific and clear overview of what the product does and why is that good (features and benefits).
4. What’s the pain that it solves? Description of the problem.
5. List of everything in the product (e.g. curriculum of the course, list of every item in the package, etc.).
6. Technical information: parameters, what do you get and how does it work?
7. Objection handling. Make a list of all possible FUDs (fears, uncertainties, doubts) and address them.
8. Bonuses (what you get on top of the offer).
9. Money-back guarantee (+ return policy).
11. Call to action.
12. Expectation setting: what happens after you buy?
I will continue to finish up the rest of this module in the following week’s post.