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How to write copy that increases conversions

Increasing conversions. That’s what writing killer copy is all about. And a good copywriter will bend the rules of grammar and syntax, or even sense, if necessary to achieve it. But the process of ensuring your copy increases conversions starts long before you put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard). Neglect the process, and your copy may turn out to be little better than useless. Here are Oxygen’s tips to writing copy that increases conversions exponentially.

Get into your target audience’s mindset

It’s essential to understand exactly who your audience is. Their age, reading habits, etc. But that’s just the start. Think long and hard about what their concerns are, particularly in relation to the product or service you’re writing about. Not just possible objections to purchasing, but their secret fears and desires. Think the seven deadly sins here. Are they afraid of looking stupid if they purchase (pride)? Is the process too complicated (sloth)? Do they anticipate a problem down the line (sloth again!)?

Each of these should go on your list as an item to address, either with ‘done for you’ tools, a bonus which solves a future problem, or social proof such as endorsement from an authority figure or their peers. How can you make buying seem like the right, or even the noble thing to do? Tapping into their fears around the subject-matter can also be a rich seam of effective ideas for copy (see the next point). In short, don’t neglect this phase. If you’re able to articulate and assuage fears and desires they’ve never even spoken of, subtly of course, you’ll win a loyal customer, probably for life.

Use emotion not logic

People use emotion to make purchasing decisions and use logic to justify them later. So although you may spend more words doing it, hitting the reader with some emotion is far more effective than simply stating benefits. ‘Mummy… I’m hungry’ may be more effective than ‘How to use every scrap of food you buy’. Help the reader to put themselves in a situation where they’re using the product, or missing out because they don’t. Because emotion is so effective a selling tool, it’s always worth testing long copy especially where you’re asking for a large or expensive commitment. What looks overly long to the client, may be riveting to the buyer.

Use a killer headline

Eight seconds is all you get to capture your reader. That’s the average amount of time they’ll stay on your landing page unless your headline convinces them to read on. The most skilled copywriters spend about 80% of their time crafting the right headline. We’ve blogged on sure-fire headline formulas in previous posts here and here to help you. ‘Clever’ and ‘enigmatic’ don’t usually work. Sell benefits, and tap into the ones that address your reader’s deepest desires.

Overcome your reader’s chief objections

By now, you should have a list of what these are from the initial analysis you did. Some will need to be addressed in the copy itself. Others can be tackled by refining the product, offer, or by making it easy to respond by cutting down on the number of steps a buyer has to take, and making buttons big, well placed and easy to see.

Keep your main copy above the fold

Where short copy will be effective, don’t hide your benefits and calls to action below the fold. Readers are often too lazy to scroll down. You should repeat the call to action at the bottom of the page too so that they don’t have to scroll back up.

Using social proof to increase conversions

The commonest fear among prospects, is that of looking stupid, especially if a product or service is new, expensive, a little known brand or out of the ordinary. One way to build social proof is to use testimonials, client logos or an authority figure endorsement. Another is to use pictures of real and happy people. The third is to use social networking such as likes and pinterest to show that others love you and trust your brand.

Focus on the one thing you want your reader to do

You can do all the above and blow it by confusing the reader as to what you want them to do. Don’t fill a page full of options, such as ‘liking’ them on Facebook, signing up for a newsletter and recommending you to their friends. If you want them buy, make it easy and clear. If you want to lead them down the path of small decisions to a sale, make it clear exactly which step you want them to take e.g. ring for a brochure or book an appointment.

Add urgency

Most people aren’t concentrating on your page or your advert. You need to convince them to act before they’re distracted. Sometimes that’s as simple as using the word ‘now’ or ‘today’. But it can be even more effective to make your offer time dependent. Make sure that it’s a genuine offer that finishes when you say it will, otherwise you’ll lose your reader’s trust.

 

Writing well may be hard, but writing copy that increases conversions is even harder. If you’re struggling, call in the experts. Our specialist in-house copywriting team know exactly how to make your offer compelling. Give Oxygen a call today on 0845 2606 255.

 

 

Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.

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