Knowledge

5 tips for writing copy that converts

6-MINUTE READ - 3rd November 2016

Emily Park
Emily ParkSenior Content Executive

Writing copy for your business’ website might seem like a simple task, but there’s a whole host of things you need to consider before hitting publish. You want your copy to convert — that is, convince people to pay for your products or services — and ensuring that it does can take a lot of time, effort and careful consideration. This is especially true if you’re new to writing content for product or landing pages.

So, here are our top tips for writing copy that is more likely to bag you those sales.

Find your brand voice

To ensure that you have a consistent tone across all platforms and that consumers identify with your business, it’s important that you find your brand voice before publishing anything online. Your voice can be anything from authoritative to witty, but it needs to be authentic — your audience will be able to tell whether it’s genuine or not. Also, according to Psychology Today, research has revealed that consumers pay a lot of attention to brands’ personality traits, much like they do when deciding whether they want to be friends with someone. So, it’s important that your brand voice attracts the right kinds of people and is believable.

Your voice will depend entirely on what you’re selling, who you’re trying to target, and what your objectives are. Ask yourself how you want your brand to be perceived, and then pick out some adjectives that you want to define your company’s personality. For example, if you’re selling children’s toys you might want to opt for a brand voice that is fun and outgoing. Or, if you’re aiming to sell technical equipment to businesses, you’ll likely want to sound authoritative and knowledgeable.

It’s incredibly important that you’re consistent across all platforms. What customers see on your social media platforms and website should reflect what they can expect from you. That way, they’ll be more inclined to trust and buy from your business.

Know your audience

Woman typing on a laptop at a desk

Regardless of the products or services you offer, the first and most important thing you need to do is imagine your pool of potential customers. In order to write copy that appeals to them, you have to understand their requirements, so think about the challenges they face in their day-to-day life and how your business can fix them.

The best way to know your audience is by creating buyer personas that you can then tailor your writing to. A fully-developed buyer persona might look something like “a stay-at-home parent with two or more children and a household income of £30-35k. Main concerns include making sure their kids are eating healthy food, finding time to fit everything in, and being able to support their family financially.” This includes demographic information and other details that paint a picture of who your content is likely to be read by.

Shopify has a fantastic guide to researching and establishing your buyer personas, which recommends looking at your competitors for inspiration and using tools such as Facebook Insights and Google Analytics Audience Reports to get an idea of who is already engaging with your business and others like it.

Speak directly to your reader

Copy that speaks directly to your readers is a lot more likely to engage them, as it demonstrates an understanding of their situation. For example, if you’re writing for a shoe retailer’s website, something like “we have a special discount just for you. To get your hand on a pair of shoes for a fraction of the price, sign up to our newsletter now,” is more likely grab consumers’ attention compared to “get a special discount by subscribing to our newsletter”.

Look at the existing copy on your website and identify any instances where it doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone in particular. Then, rewrite it in a way that speaks directly to potential customers — this could be as simple as using the word “you” to address your readers where possible.

Give potential customers a reason to buy from you

Paying with a credit card

According to Copyblogger, there are certain “power words” you should aim to use in your writing, and “because” is perhaps the most persuasive of all.

Many studies into the power of “because” have been carried out and it has been proven time and time again that the word holds a great deal of sway. For example, psychologist Ellen Langer published a series of monumental studies in the 1970s and 80s, the most famous of which has come to be known as “The Copy Machine”. During this experiment, Dr Langer sent someone to interrupt a person using a copy machine. If they simply asked “may I use the copy machine?”, the person let them cut in front of them 60% of the time. If their interruption was reworded as “may I use the copy machine because I’m in a rush?”, this jumped to 95%. However, the most interesting result of this study was that rephrasing the request to “can I use the copy machine because I have to make copies?” was still successful 95% of the time, suggesting it’s the word “because” that influenced people’s decisions. So, if you can use it alongside your USP or call to action, it’s quite possible that more people will be tempted to pay for your products or services.

Give a clear call to action

Being perfectly informative and concise isn’t enough — it’s also important that you tell potential customers exactly what they need to do, whether that’s clicking through to buy a product or contacting you for more information. All of your focus should be on making a sale, so it’s vital that you encourage readers to take the next step in the process at relevant points within your copy — more often than not, this will be at the end.

A call to action should be brief and clear. It should also focus on actions, so starting it with a verb like “buy”, “contact” or “subscribe” is always a good idea. If you struggle with devising an effective call to action, check out CoSchedule’s guide, which outlines 54 words you should be trying to use.

 

When your goal is to sell a product or service, it’s vital that potential customers are persuaded by your website’s copy. If you take all of these points into account, you’ll start seeing results very quickly.

If your business needs some help with writing copy that converts and improves your website’s rankings, get in touch with us today and request a free digital audit.