You’ve probably noticed the articles, blogs or retail copy you prefer reads more like talking to your best friend and less like talking to a robot. Gone are the days of strict AP Style or Chicago Style grammar rules. In are the wily thoughts of creative writing, boastful copy and enticing new words that aren’t really words but for some reason still make sense in a trendy way.
And although I’m loving the freedom to take on a project with my real voice, there are still some key ideas to keep in mind when writing for conversion. Here, many copywriters might still argue with me and say there’s no way to put a value sign on a piece of copy – they’re wrong. In fact, if your copywriters don’t know how to track the effectiveness in their copy, it’s time they get to reading up on A/B testing and SEO. This post won’t make you a genius, but here are three things you want from your copy now.
1. Write Why
I’m reading a great book right now by Simon Sinek called Start With Why. After feeling inspired by his TED talk, I immediately bought his book. According to Sinek, just like there are only seven story plots, there are really only 8 ways to convert customers: Manipulation, Price, Promotion, Fear, Aspiration, Peer Pressure, Novelty and Why.
The first 7 copy strategies do work; however, these approaches are less likely to create loyal customers or inspire your customers to use your product. You want customers to be loyal because you always want them to come back, you always want them to seek you first with a problem or a need, and you always want them to recommend you first to their friends. You want customers to be inspired by you because you want them to believe your product makes their business/family/friends/sex/life better. When these two things happen, your customers belong to your brand so wholeheartedly that price, promotions and novelty don’t matter, nor will they feel fear before or after buying because they trust you.
When you’re brainstorming copy, be very sure you know why it needs to be written. Remember there are hundreds of thousands of words on the internet that will match yours, so make sure it’s ordered to answer the question “Why?”
2. Mindful Keyword Insertion
After you’ve done your keyword research, mindfully read through your drafts and insert keywords before finalizing copy. A couple keywords or iterations of each are probably already written throughout, so edit and reframe sentences to better highlight and explain the use of each keyword.
I call this “mindful” keyword insertion and not the more familiar term “keyword stuffing” because if you are actually stuffing keywords, your sentences are going to convert to total crap. I know you know those sentences… they’re high and mighty, and if you don’t have time to read them three times slowly, your readers certainly don’t have the patience to read them either.
Only use keywords for clarity or your readers will sniff your bs and forget you existed.
3. Split Test
Here’s a likely scenario: You like two titles or two sentences or two wireframes. You could choose, but you shouldn’t and you don’t have to anymore. A/B and multivariate testing software have made choosing the best of two or three or hundreds easier than jumping rope. Submit your best ideas and watch your very own customers choose for you. We like Optimizely because it’s intuitive and your customization choices are almost endless, but Adobe and Kissmetrics also have great products. When your test has achieved statistically significant user data, make permanent changes to reflect the copy your users think is best.