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6 Tips for Writing Copy that Converts

We’ve all heard the phrase: content is king. What that phrase translates to is that creating engaging, authentic and useful copy is a crucial element of your company’s marketing strategy. But not all content is effective. In fact, writing copy for your company’s website is not as easy as it sounds. It takes time, thought, effort and practice to develop copy that will increase your site’s conversion rates. It is a difficult skill and one that takes time to master. Here are six tips to help improve your company’s content marketing best practices that will help to improve low online conversion:

Tip #1: Create a killer headline

The headlines in your copy should stand on their own as they will determine the first impression your prospective reader has of your website page. The headline should encourage the reader to want to stay on the page and scroll to read what you have written in full--or at least the major takeaways. If your headlines are not attention-grabbing, it's not likely that your reader will skim through the rest of your content. In fact, Copyblogger estimates that eight out of ten individuals will read your headline, while only two out of ten will read the rest of your copy. So, not only are headlines important, but the more thought you put into writing yours, the more likely the reader will stay on your website page and choose to read your content. One way to come up with the perfect headline is to write down at least 25 headlines without stopping. This exercise will stimulate your brain and help you come up with as many alternative ideas as you possibly can. Once you have accomplished this step, then you can go back through and edit the list of potential headlines to appeal to your intended audience.  

Tip #2: Use power words

One of the worst mistakes any writer can make when writing copy is to use a passive tone. To make sure you're writing with an active tone always place the subject of the sentence first, for example: don't write "the ball was kicked by the kid," instead write "the kid kicked the ball." You can also look at your content and find words that you can switch out with a more persuasive synonym. But do not stop there. Look to see if any sentences can be re-written to make them more exciting for the reader. Be careful there is a fine line as you do not want to add in more words to take up space. Simple and direct language tells your audience exactly what you want them to do. Eliminating any potential confusion encourages your reader to make a confident and informed buying decision. In fact, the most powerful English words are: you, free, because, instantly and new. Strategically place one or more of these words throughout your copy, and in doing so, you'll help position your company as the industry expert. Don't limit yourself to these five words as there are many more power words in your toolbox to use to help strengthen your copy.

Tip #3: Eliminate redundant words

Now that you have added in as many punch-packing words into your copy take a step back and double-check that your copy is not too wordy. Redundancy in content is common, but it takes away from the impact of your message. Every word is important, and each word should help guide the reader from their current state in the marketing funnel towards conversion. If you find a word or two that do not seem to have any value, go ahead and press the delete button. If you don't take time to improve the effectiveness of your copy, you're only putting your company at a disadvantage as it slows down your reader. Remember, today’s online readers do not have long attention spans when it comes to reading copy. Practice rewriting sentences until they convey the main point using the less amount of words possible.

Tip #4: Make sure to cover the “why”

Content marketing is not a new practice, but it's more important now than ever before. Any copy that you create for your website needs to address why your audience should care about your company’s product or service. We recommend adding in “because” sentences into your copy. This provides a compelling reason for your reader to decide to move further along in the buying process with the intention to convert. Tell your audience why your company's product or service is the right choice for them by answering the question: “what is in it for me?” Create an incentive for your reader to take action. Warning: do not overdo it with the “because” statements and do not include a reason in your copy if you cannot back it up.

Tip #5: Know your audience

You must know your target audience before creating content. You have to know who you want to connect with to understand how your company’s product or service provides them with a solution for defined needs. Before you begin writing any copy, you must research and develop buyer personas for your target audience. A buyer persona is a fictitious representation of your audience based on supportive lifestyle and behavioral data, such as demographic research. Using this key information will help you tailor your marketing messaging so that it connects on a personal level. Did you know that some experts estimate that we are exposed to as many as 4,000 to 10,000 marketing message a day? It's no wonder many companies have trouble retaining loyal customers. Marketing is only successful when it is emphatic and tells a story. If you take time to develop your buyer personas, you will find a direct connection and an increase of conversions that go through your website.

Tip #6: Test your content

In marketing, your content has to be both creative and data-driven. This means your copy needs to contribute to the health of your website overall. Testing your content will let you know if it is. There are plenty of options to test your content, depending on how much energy you want to invest in the process. An easy test involves using one of your company’s social media accounts. Choose one platform, such as Facebook or Twitter and post two to four of your top headlines that link back to your website page. Run them at the same time for a few days and see which headline has a higher click-through rate. This will tell you which headline to use in your copy. Keep testing your headlines and other parts of your copy to see how you can continue to improve over time. Content is an ongoing process that should be reworked as long as your website is working to increase conversions.

If you think your website conversion is low, take an in-depth look at your content. Updating the language on your website page using our six tips will help increase your conversion rate through content.

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About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Samantha is the COO and co-founder of 41 Orange, inc, a marketing agency. She is also currently a member of the Board of Directors for San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Balboa Park’s resident classical ballet school since 1945. Hailing from the agency world, Sam has worked with Fortune 500 tech, financial, and consumer brands, including Intel, Petco and LPL Financial, to shape their online presence and reach their target audiences more effectively through social media and beyond. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, emphasis in public relations from San Diego State University.