Is your online store not giving the conversion rates you need? Something you might be overlooking is “persuasive copy”.
Persuasion and conversion go hand-in-hand. If you’re not persuading visitors, it’s going to be very hard for you to boost your conversion rate.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- E-commerce Copywriting That Sells
- E-commerce Copy Analysis – What’s Missing?
- Elements of Persuasive Copy to Increase Sales
- How To Write Seductive Sales Copy to Woo Your Customers
The Rise of Online Shopping
Online shopping is now extremely lucrative.
Just this month, Remarkety revealed that the world e-commerce market has amounted to trillions of dollars in sales projected for 2015. China has the biggest e-commerce market with $562.66B, followed by US with $349.06B and UK with $93.89B.
The numbers are surprising. No wonder both budding and existing entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the online market.
According to a study by Harris Interactive, 36% of customers gather information from a company website prior to making a purchase. Only 22% gather from face-to-face conversation with a salesperson, or other company representative.
This proves how important it is to fill your website with relevant information about your products or services. That information should be a credible, persuasive copy to enhance your visitors’ trust and convince them to buy from you.
E-commerce Copywriting That Sells
Your online store is part of a highly competitive web marketplace. It not only serves as a store, but also a catalog, marketing tool, and company information source. That is why you should know exactly how to sell with words.
Essentially, your copy must achieve two goals:
- Establish trust and
- Convince visitors that your product is right for them.
Setting Your Tone
Who, exactly, are you writing for?
For instance, if your store sells products for teenagers, you wouldn’t want to use the formal writing style. Keep your copy focused on your target audience. Let your company’s personality shine through.
Use this Customer or Buyer Persona to establish a tone for all of the copy throughout your site. Remember, each piece of copy is an opportunity to broadcast your brand.
There are three types of copy used by copywriters:
Informational. This is the type of copy often found in a site’s frequently-asked questions section. It offers customers to-the-point information. Straight-forward, uncluttered writing is often used, while still maintaining the tone.
Marketing. This copy is mainly used in promotional materials and product descriptions. It’s the most common form of copy, but it’s one of the hardest to write.
Notification. This copy appears when you want to notify a customer when they complete actions. They may encounter positive and negative messages. One example is when they stumble upon a dead link somewhere in your site.
Good Copywriting Samples
Being a copywriter isn’t easy. You need to have the ability to find the exact right words to sell whatever it is that your company is offering. Here are some websites with stellar copywriting.
Pay attention to their tones of voice.
This Enter Bandman copy is really far from ‘boring’. UrbanDaddy’s unique tone can be found in every single one of their copies. From their homepage down to their editorial policy, the company clearly knows their audience.
Instead of using the usual pics of ripped hunks and supermodels, with cliché fitness headlines, GymIt goes for a different approach. Their powerful copy is tailor made for the average Joe, and the humor’s great too!
3. Velocity Partners
This B2B marketing agency’s co-founder, Doug Kessler, is dubbed as the master of word economy. You can check out their popular slideshares here.
Tesco uses short sentences to captivate their audience, and they do it with a punch. It’s witty, personal, and effective. Of course, it depends on what you’re trying to sell and who your target audience is.
ModCloth is known for their joyous, pun-filled, and clever copy, especially when it comes to their product descriptions. They also tend to tell the story of what you’ll do while wearing their items.
Basic Rules to Follow
Avoid long sentences. Long sentences are difficult to digest, and inappropriate for persuading your audience. Shorten sentences by refraining from too many adjectives, adverbs, and pointless modifiers. Don’t use ‘for the purpose of’ when you can use ‘for’ instead.
Avoid jargon and clichés. Your aim is to sell and not to impress your readers with your vocabulary. Using jargon will only confuse your customers. If customers don’t understand something about your product, they won’t take the risk to buy it. Clichés are unoriginal and can only distract your readers.
Write in an active voice. This makes it easier to persuade your visitors to buy your products. It means to lead with the noun that is doing the action.
Hemingway is a great tool to run your copy through and reduce the fat.
E-commerce Copy Analysis – What’s Missing?
If you’re running an ecommerce site and you’re not testing your copy, you could be missing a huge opportunity to boost your sales. It’s recommended to test your copy for conversion drivers – relevance, clarity, and urgency.
Relevance. Does the copy on the page relate to what the visitor thought he was going to see when he clicked on a link to your page? Be consistent with the incoming links.
Clarity. Does the landing page clearly articulate the value proposition? Clarity of content is often the most common factor ecommerce sites struggle with. If it’s hard to scan or understand, it can’t do its job.
Urgency. Is there an indication that the action needs to be taken now? The tone of the copy, offers, and deadlines can all influence urgency.
Test Your Copy
Businesses can make great gains by optimizing their site copy, content and headlines. As much as possible, find out what’s missing. Your visitors should understand your value proposition in your words.
While you’re focused on the merchandising aspects of your site, trying to get more products into carts, don’t neglect the benefits of testing copy.
From the headline alone, do visitors understand why they should buy from your site, and not your competitors? Some sites bury their value proposition deep in the copy. Testing your headline can yield surprising results.
Most marketers know that connecting with customers on an emotional level is a key driver to increased sales and loyalty.
Managing your customer’s expectations reduces buyer anxiety. This copy drives action, and guides the customer towards completing the sale. Clarify expectations such as when to expect their shipments, or what will happen when they click the order button.
Tone of copy
Are you conveying the words your customers want to hear? Of the two call-to-actions, the first one was clear, but not compelling. The second is more personalized, gives a more positive message, and therefore more effective.
“Please select your tax-deductible gift amount below.”
“Yes I will donate a tax deductible gift of:”
Ideas, not words
Once you know what’s missing, you can apply the results across all the copy on your site. If you’re testing the effect of customer-focused copy, you might learn something about how your customers react.
Elements of Persuasive Copy to Increase Sales
Your copy should be engaging and should bring customers closer to your brand, allowing them to see what’s in it for them. A copywriter persuades customers to see their point of view. They want their writing to influence others in a positive manner.
Let’s have a look at the elements that contribute to persuasive copy:
1. Conversational Tone
You won’t win over your readers with hyped copy. Customers turn away from anything over-the-top, especially those related to sales.
The first rule to writing persuasive copy is to write as you talk. Create that personal connection. This way it will be easier to read, since people usually have an internal monolog accompanying what they read.
2. Be an Expert
You don’t necessarily need a degree or years of related experience. Being an expert just demonstrates that you’re knowledgeable in your particular market.
True experts know what they’re talking about. Establish yourself as an influencer by conveying confidence and certainty in your copy. Sharing your knowledge so others can learn bestows authority – and authority leads to persuasion.
3. Good Structure
Copywriting is different from writing an essay or a short story. It’s more of a news article, wherein the most important information comes first.
This structure is called ‘inverted pyramid’. It starts with the relevant points, then followed by details. Make sure to captivate your audience with your headline, then motivate them to continue on with the benefits, features, and call-to-action.
4. Give a Reason
Psychologist Ellen Langer has demonstrated in her book ‘Mindfulness’ that people are more likely to comply with a request if they’re given a reason, via the word ‘because’. Why are you asking them to take action?
You can also use the words ‘imagine’ or ‘picture’ to influence your readers into putting themselves into their desired outcome.
5. Benefits, Then Features
By using a ‘benefit first’ content strategy, customers will immediately know what’s in it for them. A benefit answers the question, ‘so what’. When you show the benefits of your product, think of it like telling a story. You want to engage the audience and leave them feeling an emotional connection.
Take this example from Method Home.
Product features are physical characteristics of a product sold and marketed by the company. It includes the form, color, size, weight, odor, material, and tactile qualities. They provide added functionality to products on your site.
Take a look at the product features from Sperry.
5. Write for Scanners
Most online consumers scan a web page first, and if they find it interesting, they go on to read the whole article. A study by Nielsen Norman Group revealed that 79% of customers don’t read, but scan when they are browsing.
It’s because of the following reasons:
- Reading on a computer screen strains the eyes.
- People’s ever-dwindling spans of attention.
- Customers who are mostly surfing the Internet are on-the-go.
- There are millions of websites vying for their attention.
You can persuade your prospects to actually read your content by using some of these eye candy elements:
- Headings and subheads, relevant and on topic
- Bullet lists to highlight benefits and features
- Font variations, bold, italics, and colored links
- Short sentences and short paragraphs, each with one idea only
- Images and infographics
- Memorable captions
How to Write Seductive Sales Copy
Ecommerce merchants have many pages to write copy for. Home and landing pages, category pages, product descriptions, articles, and shopping messages are just a few. It’s always important to strengthen your editorial skills whether you’re a seasoned writer or a novice.
Formula for Persuasive Copy
You can always start with the 1-2-3-4 method. It’s a handy little checklist for any copy you write. It’s so simple you won’t have to look it up.
1. What I’ve got for you
What’s your product? What does it do? Who is it for? Let the folks know what they’re in for. Start with a simple overview, a birds-eye look at what you’ve got to offer.
What’s in the box? These are the ‘features’ of your product or service. The best way to list them is usually a series of fascinating bullet points. Include enough specifics to make the product feel valuable.
When you can, attach a benefit to each feature.
Instead of saying, “Next-action worksheets come with every module.”
A better version is, “Next-action worksheets come with every module, so you can take what you’re learning and immediately put it into action.”
2. What it’s going to do for you?
There’s a saying that goes, “sell with benefits, support with features”.
What’s better about life with your product? Talk about the great benefits of taking action. Describe the end result, or the “after” picture once your customer has bought your product and used it as you recommend.
3. Who are you?
Most of the time, you need to establish your authority. Show in your copy that you know what you’re talking about. Make your customers believe that you’re a trustworthy and worthwhile person.
For instance, if your site is all about gardening, and there’s a photo of you in front of your own garden, customers will consider you more credible.
4. What you should do next?
This is where call-to-action comes in play.
From a copywriting standpoint, it’s been proven time and time again that if you want someone to do something, you’ll get better results if you tell them exactly what to do. A MarketingSherpa experiment revealed that two or three “click” link words can lift click through rates by more than 8%.
Never assume that a customer knows the whole process. A reader needs to know specifically what to do next. Don’t just put a link in. Instead, tell her to ‘click here’.
7 Bulletproof Copywriting Techniques
Many people misinterpret the uniqueness of effective copywriting. It’s more than writing the hard-sell sales letter. A well-crafted copywriting should stand on its own without the overabundance of sales language and design embellishments.
Here are some seductive copywriting techniques from Henneke Duistermaat, a UK based content marketing expert:
- 1. Create a One Big Idea
A good headline focuses on one big idea – usually your product’s most important benefit. Focus on that one message that you want to communicate to your audience.
- 2. Short and Broken Sentences
Sales copy is different from academic writing. Readers will not make the effort of reading your entire content. Short sentences are much easier to read than long, spiritless sentences.
It doesn’t matter if you start a sentence with an ‘And’ or ‘But’. As long as it works. Shorter sentences improve the rhythm of copy. Don’t be afraid to cut long sentences into two.
- 3. Be Memorable with Sound Bites
Sound bites are described as easy-to-remember, easy-to-quote nuggets of wisdom. They communicate one idea in a short and simple way. Contrast or surprise is used to startle the brain and attract attention.
“Everything you need. Everywhere you go.”
“The thinnest, lightest, fastest iPhone ever.”
“So much more than before. And so much less, too.”
- 4. Be Credible with Technical Details
Technical details are not only a sign of expertise, but also enhance trust, and make you more convincing. Presenting exact details actually sell.
- 5. Fascinate with Stories
What stories can you tell about your product? Can you explain where the idea for your product came from? Sharing stories is a powerful copywriting tool. You can share the challenges you had to overcome, just make the delivery fascinating.
- 6. Persuade with Problems
Customers often search for solutions. So, present features and specifications as solutions to their problems. Consider what problem each of your product’s features solves.
- 7. Create a Persuasive Call-to-Action
Your site may have a compelling headline, a well-written sales copy, and an unbelievable opt-in offer. But all these things are of no use if you don’t include a clear call-to-action. A good CTA should stand out and be specific.
More inspiring call-to-action examples in this article.
4 Copywriting Tricks Swiped from Psychology
Good persuasive writing leaves you wanting more, right? Here are four useful, little-known tricks from Joanna Wiebe, author of “Copy Hackers”.
1. Don’t Be Sloppy – Write Rhyming Copy
A study conducted by Dr. Matthew McGlone found that rhyming phrases are somewhat believed more accurately.
Take this Animoto snippet for example. See that second line?
Rhyme has the power to influence the way we think, which relates to psychology. So, one rule to consider in writing a copy is, if it rhymes, it must be true.
2. Use a Word that Humanoids Don’t Expect to See
According to Wiebe, “unusual or unfamiliar material is easier to remember than common material.” This is actually called the Bizarreness Effect.
As a copywriter, you have to grab that chance for recall. And, recall is a big deal not only for converting visitors. Customers need to remember messages as they move through your site. A study from Purdue University found that people were best able to recall messages when bizarre nouns were mixed with common words in a standard sentence.
3. Repeat Your Message Again and Again
The more you hear a message, the more likely you are to believe it’s true. This is due to the Illusion of Truth Effect. In other words, repetition works.
It’s not just copying and pasting your marketing materials. For the Illusion of Truth Effect to work, you can use a copywriting technique called “3D”. It’s where you write the same message three different ways in sequence.
It actually works best when your audience isn’t that attentive. It doesn’t matter whether or not the audience is concentrating hard, repetition will increase persuasion.
4. Organize Your Lists so Peeps Remember the Right Stuff
This method is about the Serial Position Effect. It simply states that people remember what they saw first or last, but almost never what they saw in the middle. This affects online customers as well.
So, in creating your copy, what stuff are you okay with your visitors NOT seeing? That’s what you should put in the middle of your bullet list, or in your Features page.
However, there’s always an exception, right? The Von Restorff Effect states that if an item in the middle of your list stands out, your visitors may remember that part better.
Start spotting these persuasion elements in your online store and you’ll be on your way to increasing sales.
Your online store offers you the opportunity to connect with potential buyers and to differentiate your products while establishing credibility and trust. Make the most of this opportunity by diving into your website copy with a clear purpose in mind.
In creating the content for a product description, an advertisement, a landing page, or a sales email, you want the copy to be powerful enough to convert visitors to sales. Lead your boring copy out of the grave and make it live.
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