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Write product copy that converts – a quick guide for beginners

Are you struggling to captivate new visitors for your product?

While we spend a lot of time thinking about another feature to convert more users, often the biggest room for improvement is the copy. Product messaging is an important craft for strong product managers and the basics can be learned quickly.

Here are my top tips on effective copy writing.

Generate “warm” leads first

If you want to maximise conversions, you need to consider the temperature of your traffic and adjust your message to fit.

That means ALWAYS think in conversion funnels and (almost) NEVER sell directly to your (first-time) website visitors. (rule might apply less for eCommerce businesses and its importance increases with the price point and innovativeness of the product)

Thus, typically you should provide VALUE and create TRUST before people buy from you.

Initially, try to ask for actions from your visitors that require little effort and commitment that they are willing to take when they just get to know your brand, and that provide value instantly (without trying to sell). Depending on your business this could be:

  • “Learn More” link to another information page
  • FREE downloadable PDF that provides valuable information to the target user and his problem
  • Whitepaper, Study
  • “Schedule FREE call” through Calendly
  • Join FREE Facebook or Slack group
  • Email Newsletter with an automated campaign (e.g. next 5 days user always receives one valuable tip)
  • FREE Consultation
  • Other: Checklists, Cheat sheets, Quizzes, Video course, Live demo, Webinar, Infographic

Now you turned a visitor who is worth nothing to a lead, who has a value for your company as you can follow-up with him.

Eventually you can convert some of them into sales calls and customers.

Provide VALUE first and build TRUST. Turn visitors into leads into customers.

A common mistake I see on many websites:

The CTA on the home page is called “Contact us”: Why should someone contact your brand if they don’t even had a chance to get to know your brand? Besides, once they know you better, they know how to contact you anyway.

Formulate messages that convert

Here are some best practices how to formulate your action titles for conversion pages as well as ads.

General tips

  • Always focus on the specific PROBLEM your target group faces
  • Most of the time it is good to be provocative. You want to say the opposite of what your competition is saying. If you want to cut through the noise, and enter into a market and own that category, then you need to do something different to get attention.
  • Scarcity has been shown time and time again to skyrocket conversion rates → e.g. “only available today”, “application deadline on Friday”, “limited seats on our waiting list”
  • Ads have only one purpose: to get people to click!
    • What drives a click: curiosity, intrigue, shock, or direct benefit that a person stands to get from clicking on the ad.
    • Ads should not look like ads, more like something exclusive or breaking news.
    • Average copy wastes money. Don’t be vanilla, be provocative. Do something different. Stand out. Look at what all the competitors are doing in your space – and then do the opposite.
    • Where applicable: Test at least 10 different ads through engagement campaigns on Facebook: typically if your cost per share and per engagement are below €0.20, your messaging is good and resonates with your target group.
  • A compelling offer removes all friction for a prospect to buy from you:
    • Consider including risk reversals: money-back guarantee: “… or money back”
    • For high prices, instead of showing the full price, shrink it down on your sales page: e.g. 90-day program → price per day = X€ = cheaper than a daily coffee
    • Upsell later / in a 2nd step
  • Your message should be crystal clear what someone gets when the person clicks the CTA and “signs up”.

Templates (for action titles)

  • [PROBLEM]? Get My [SOLUTION] and [RESULT]
  • Achieve [Desirable Thing] like [An Expert] Even Without [Something Expected]
  • How to Eliminate [Biggest Problem] without doing [The Thing They Hate] Within [Specific Timeframe]
  • How to Get [DESIRED RESULT] Without [THING THEY FEAR MOST] in [SPECIFIC TIME FRAME] – Guaranteed.
  • Timeless Formula #1: X ways to achieve [Desirable Thing] without doing [Undesirable Thing]
  • Timeless Formula #2: [Do Difficult Thing] in [Specific Period of Time] Even if [Shortcomings]
  • Timeless Formula #3: Achieve [Desirable Thing] like [An Expert] Even Without [Something Expected]
  • Timeless Formula #4: How to Eliminate [Biggest Problem] without doing [The Thing They Hate] Within [Specific Timeframe]
  • Add numbers whenever possible: “X things you need to know…”

HOOK

  • [counterintuitive statement] what MOST don’t know
  • [question to ideal client’s pain point/goal] want to know the formula to X?
  • [attention grabbing title] HOW TO GET RESULT in 5 STEPS, 3 Things YOU’RE DOING WRONG AS A XYZ
  • Call to action

Future Pacing

  • I know you struggle with [problem] / Are you afraid of: X
  • Imagine if: [desired result]
  • Call to action

Scarcity – Fear of missing out

  • [compare] the difference between X and Y, the reason X does not work
  • [curiosity] you need to STOP X. there is a better way. success is NOT to do XYZ
  • [curiosity] here are top 5 reasons why you do X wrong
  • Call to action

Risk Aversion

  • [desired result] Want to become rich?
  • [common misconception] you do not need XYZ
  • [Cost of continuing the misconception] when you WAIT and don’t do anything …
  • Call to action

Specific examples

  • “What everybody ought to know about” (attention-grabbing headline)
  • 7 Alarming Things You Must Know Before Hiring A Financial Planner (#3 Will Blow Your Mind!)
  • Top financial planner reveals his secret checklist and the dirty little lies that could cost you $10,000s and stop you from retiring 7 years early. Shocking free report reveals all!
  • Make Him Beg to Be Your Boyfriend in 6 Simple Steps
  • 22 Money Murdering Mistakes That No Web Designer Would Dare Tell You
  • A Top Divorce Lawyer’s Secret Checklist: 22 Tipoffs Your Husband May Be Cheating on You
  • 6 Ways to Get Washboard Abs Without Doing a Single Sit -Up
  • Pay Off Your Mortgage in 7 Years Even if You Have a Modest Income
  • Paint Masterpieces Like Picasso Without Ever Having a Single Lesson!
  • How to Eliminate Your Muffin Top Without Giving Up the Foods You Love – Within 21 Days or Less!
  • X ways to Y: This is the most classic of all, ‘Five ways to meet single women in Melbourne’.
  • Where to find Y: ‘Where to find the most ravenous hyperactive buyers online’.
  • How to eliminate X: ‘How to stop joint pain forever’. ‘How to never pay another cent in tax’.
  • What you should never: ‘What you should never say to a woman on your first date’.
  • What you should never do when trying to win over a prospect. (people are more compelled to know what they shouldn’t do than what they should. Fear of loss (pain) is greater than fear of attainment (joy))
  • Say goodbye to X [frustration]: ‘Say goodbye to calorie counting and hour-long cardio sessions’.
  • The truth about Y: ‘The dirty truth about fish oil revealed’. ‘The truth about flossing only after you’ve brushed your teeth’.
  • Have you been doing X wrong? (And does it really matter?) ‘Have you been boiling your eggs in the wrong pot? (And does it really matter?)’
  • “Secret checklist from top expert finally revealed” X Tips you … usually $49 now free. Ends soon, act now. 100,000 Downloads

Further Resources

Funnelscripts generates automatically great copy for your specific website: https://funnelscripts.com

“How to craft a winning message” by Dan Olsen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSil3p-vmag

 

What are your best practices and learnings regarding website copy and product messaging? Let me know in the comments section below.

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