The Best Copywriting Practices Every Copywriter Should Know
How do we find ourselves buying certain products? What did that brand do and say to get us to buy their product? When we make a purchase it’s because something caught our eye and made us interested in converting. The brand got us to do exactly what they wanted us to.
Think about Cards Against Humanity. The card game brand got us all to buy their offensive playing cards. And how about Nike? They get us to buy overly-priced workout shirts.
Knowing how to write compelling web copy is a business practice that can make or break your conversion rates. It’s not just about making a website sound great and on-brand, but it’s about writing authentic, strategic, seductive copy that informs and engages the reader so they can make the right purchasing decision. Well-written copy is key to conversions and developing a genuine, deeper relationship with your audience.
So what is conversion copywriting exactly? And how do we do it? We’re getting into some great copywriting tips and conversion copywriting examples to help develop copy that will make your website thrive and get your customers to convert.
Let’s get to it.
Define Your Ideal Audience
The first step to great copy is knowing who you’re talking to. Before you sit down to write, ask yourself, “Who is my primary audience?”.
Knowing your ideal audience is the most critical first step to any website copywriting strategy. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to, how will you know how to talk to them in a way that resonates and draws their attention?
Start by defining your audience by using the data available to you. What do they do for a living? How much money do they make? What age are they? Figure out what they’re buying behavior is like and then craft your web copy and strategies to align with their behaviors.
And even if you’re writing to reach millions, write as if you’re talking to one specific person. Because if you try to talk to everyone, you talk to no one. Talk directly to the person that reflects your ideal audience.
Related Articles to Learn More About Your Audience
Give Your Readers What They Came For
Your readers came to find an answer, don’t make them dig for it. Beating around the bush will only make them feel like you can’t give them what they’re looking for. And they’ll leave.
Instead, structure your content with clear answers and put the most informative information at the top. Then write any additional details and tangential information that will likely contribute to buying decisions toward the bottom. If you draw the eye with an answer clearly near the top, your audience will want to keep reading for more in-depth information.
Just be sure to stay away from actually leading with information that’s too detailed. Scaring them off with too many details can give an overwhelming feeling. And if they leave, they can’t purchase from your brand.
Be Mindful Of Skimmers
The writing style for websites is much different than writing a social media post or a tagline for a billboard. People might skim over the caption of a social media post and read the line on a billboard quickly to get the gist. And for the most part, that type of copy is kept short and sweet—it doesn’t take long to read.
However, websites are different. Web copy tends to be more detailed because you’re aiming for conversion right then and there—you feel the need to give more information that will drive a buying decision.
Consumers aren’t always motivated to read every detail of text and skim over long blocks of copy. Structure your web copy with plenty of headers to guide them through. Then tell them what they can expect to read in each section.
Stick to short paragraphs and sentences too. You’re not writing a research report. Website copy can be broken up into many paragraphs and shorter sentences to make it easy to read, appealing to look at, and skimmable to those who just aren’t the type of people to read things word for word.
Write In Active Voice
If you’ve ever read something with loads of passive voice, it can feel unmotivating and unappealing. The last thing you want to do is make a potential customer feel unmotivated to read your website—it’ll drain the motivation to buy right out of them. Use active voice in your copy instead.
Here’s a quick grammar lesson: passive verbs are ‘linking verbs’ that support the main verb of a sentence. Active voice is when the subject enacts the action in the verb instead.
Passive voice: At the ballpark, 10 hot dogs were eaten by Sally.
Active voice: Sally ate 10 hot dogs at the ballpark.
See? The action sentence kind of makes you want to hang out with Sally eating hot dogs at the ballpark, while the passion sentence sounds awkward and unappealing.
Ditch The Acronyms
You know what they say, “Big words mean you’re compensating for something.” (Do they say that? We say that.) Even if you’re in an industry that’s full of difficult-to-understand terms, (like a technical company, for example) write in layman’s terms. Your audience is most likely not an expert in your industry, but it’s still valuable for them to understand what you’re talking about.
Jargon helps no one. Your reader doesn’t want to see you show off as you parade your intelligence around. Honestly, it comes off as snobbish, desperate, and unclear.
It’s fine to be informative and let your audience learn from you, but don’t be a showoff when doing so. Want to flaunt your smarts? Flaunt ‘em by giving your audience tools they can actually use and learn from.
Don’t obsess about acronyms, either. It’s confusing. Write out what you’re trying to say, especially the first time you introduce the term. If you don’t, how is anyone supposed to know what you’re talking about?
For example, John acted BSC (Bat Sh*t Crazy) at the meeting on Friday. Without a written-out explanation, we could wrongly assume John acted like a Big Scary Corporation.
Be Graceful With Keywords
Keywords are an essential piece of knowing how to write compelling web copy. You want your business to appear among the top 3 search results when someone surfs the internet for an answer to their problem.
Keywords are a huge part of that piece of SEO. But be mindful of the keywords you choose to use and how you incorporate them into your copywriting.
Readers shouldn’t feel like they’re tripping over your obvious incorporation of keywords when they’re reading your website. Keywords are actually falling out of fashion as Google gets smarter, but they’re still a helpful contribution to relevant content.
Let’s take a look at a poorly strategized website content writing sample: If you find yourself trying to squeeze the keywords “better ways to eat mayo” into your Mexican food recipe blog because it’s a commonly searched keyword (weird, we know), your readers will notice.
People are smarter than you might think. Even though someone might not be an SEO or copywriting expert, it’s easy to spot contrived language.
Arrange Your Web Content For Linear Consumption
While one user might find themselves on your homepage first, another might first visit your about page or a single product page. Don’t expect that every person that visits your website will start on your homepage and follow the same linear path.
Structure your content in a way that lets each page stand free and understood no matter what path it took to get there.
Does your product page cover aspects of your brand that are essential to get the big picture of who you are? Does every page’s footer have your contact information so getting in touch with you is quick and easy? Your CTAs (call to actions) should guide users to the next relevant step in their quest for a solution to their particular problem.
Make it easy for every person that visits your site to understand your brand and navigate to find what they’re looking for.
There is ZERO room online for run-of-the-mill, dull copy. You have to know how to write compelling web copy that people will read, enjoy, and understand. What’s your brand’s tone? Make sure to write in that tone in every place copy appears on your website. How does your brand use its voice? If your tone is professional, don’t let any of your copy sound too outspoken and witty.
Always be sure that your copy conveys your brand values. Saying you’re friendly and conversational isn’t enough to display your brand’s authentic self. Most brands tell and don’t show.
Don’t say that you’re authentic, show don’t tell your authenticity. To be truly authentic you need to go deeper. Refer to your brand messaging guidelines to keep things consistent.
A Related Article to Learn More About Authenticity
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