The value of copywriting is not to be underestimated.
According to an older Nielsen Norman Group, users typically decide whether to explore a website or leave within their first 10 seconds of browsing. If you’re utilizing copywriting best practices and your copy holds their attention for that long, you have another 20 seconds to convince them to want to learn more. And if they linger for more than 30 seconds, there’s a good chance that they’ll still be there after two more minutes—and two minutes is a big commitment for web users.
It is very likely that things have got even more challenging for marketers, with the initial bounce decision having shrunk to 6 seconds.
So how do you hold a reader’s attention?
It’s the combination of many things (like load time, design, page usability). But it is also about the copy.
When written well, a web copy invites visitors to keep reading and explore a site further—and ultimately convert. On the other hand, poor copywriting discourages users from sticking around. It’s only through text that your brand voice becomes clear after all.
So, to convince today’s prospects to stick around and become buyers, pay attention to these 9 copywriting best practices.
1. Find the right tone for your audience
You want your copy to sound professional and authoritative, but you also don’t want it to come across as unapproachable. It’s a delicate but necessary balance for driving more conversions from your target audience.
To nail the right tone for your readers:
- Imagine that you’re talking to a client face to face. Listen to the script in your head and write it out. It’ll help you “write like you speak” without letting your copy become too casual.
- Avoid using jargon and terminology that the average reader wouldn’t know, unless you’re targeting a highly educated audience. Users generally want an easy reading experience, not a flashback to studying for the SAT.
- Address your users directly by writing in second person. Using “you” and “your” makes your writing more conversational and personal, while writing in third person generally feels distant and standoffish.
Text Optimizer is a powerful tool allowing you to discover terms and concepts that your audience is discussing. It helps you find the words and terminology that is associated with your niche and hence create a highly relevant copy that appeals to your target users:
2. Showcase numbers for impact
When possible, include precise numbers in your copy to reinforce major points. Quantitative information levels up your messaging, making it more tangible and precise.
Without numbers, your writing comes off as vague and flowery. Consider the difference between these two examples:
- Our solar-powered flashlight’s beams travel impressive distances.
- Our solar-powered flashlight throws light up to an impressive 700 feet.
See how the phrase “700 feet” in the latter statement provides more detail to readers? In this way, exact figures and statistics not only provide more support to your claims; they also lend your brand more credibility.
For a real-life example of copywriting that harnesses the power of numbers, take a look “Examining Inequality” report from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that features one of the most incredible copywriting out there, that is also empowered by data:
The result: visitors to the page can see the tangible difference the company is making in reducing inequality worldwide. Including these numbers showcases the foundation’s commitment to its mission, and it’s far more effective than if they simply wrote, “We make a difference!”
Always strive to focus on content tactics that drive your brand’s growth.
3. Incorporate “power” words into your copy
Power words are sensory, emotional, and action words that have strong associations for readers and trigger action. You’ve probably seen examples all over the internet, especially in headlines and calls to action:
They work because they’re strong, definite, and inspire trust. Any time you want to use a wishy-washy word like “maybe” or “some,” replace it with a power word.
Use Visualping to closely monitor your competitors’ calls-to-actions and how they are changing them. This will give you quite a few ideas on how to improve yours!
4. Appeal to readers’ emotions and logic
Data speaks to your audience’s rational brain, but emotions have a more powerful pull on the human decision-making process. As logical as we think we are, we tend to make decisions with our hearts first and then back ourselves up with facts.
Use that order of operations as a copywriter: emotions first, then facts. Lead by appealing to the prospect’s emotions—for instance, by addressing an issue they might have. Then present a solution.
In case you don’t find your product or service particularly stirring, know that emotion doesn’t mean inserting melodrama into your copy. Strong feelings like anger and love aren’t the only ways to reach potential customers.
5. Provide relevant social proof
Nothing quite sells like social proof—that is, the power of social influence. Applied to marketing, social proof explains why someone is more likely to buy a product if two or three million other people have already happily bought it.
So use this psychological principle in your own copy. Whether it’s customer testimonials, case studies, or something else, find a way to incorporate social proof into your copy and landing pages. This tactic can win over users who are hesitant about trying your product or service.
Here’s a detailed guide on where to place your testimonials on the site and how to best showcase your customers’ reviews.
6. Remember to sell your results
When you’re explaining how your product or service meets a need, don’t stop at simply describing its features. Call readers’ attention to how their lives or jobs will be easier if they buy from you.
- If you run a home cleaning service, highlight how great it is to spend your weekends hiking or hosting dinner parties instead of cleaning your house.
- If you sell medical records software to health care providers, brag about how your program can help them serve patients more efficiently.
Paint a picture of what you can do for your users even if it’s outside the realm of your product’s offering.
7. Write eye-catching headlines
Remember how users generally decide whether to stick around a website or leave within the first few seconds?
Oftentimes the first thing they’ll see is your web page’s headline—which means it’s crucial to make it a great one. After all, titles are the entry point for your users, and whether they decide to click and continue reading depends on whether yours is compelling enough.
To create an eye-catching title, try one of the following:
- Ask a question.
- Drop a shocking fact.
- Address an emotionally charged topic.
- Include numbers for specificity.
- Take a controversial stance.
8. Address users’ fears and concerns
Beyond selling a product or service, effective copywriting assures readers by clearing any uncertainties or fears before these feelings can drive them away. Oftentimes, these worries stem from fear of financial loss or invasion of privacy, so it’s worth investing in consumer protection. Making sure your site has an SSL certificate is the first step.
From there, make these features clear by including them in your copy. For instance, include language like:
- 100% Satisfaction guaranteed
- No-hassle returns
- Secure checkout
Giving customers peace of mind doesn’t have to fit a cookie-cutter mold, by the way—try getting creative with it.
Alternatively, if your customers are concerned about their security, consider getting a trust badge for your site. The most effective, as measured by the percentage of people who trust them, include:
- Norton Secured
- McAfee Tested
- BBB Accredited Business
At its core, copywriting strives to persuade readers of a certain view or perspective. It’s all about minimizing bad feelings—fear, uncertainty, disinterest—and increasing good feelings like confidence, pride, and excitement.
9. Structure your content for readability
The formatting of your content matters. Long blocks of text are visually overwhelming, regardless of whether you’re reading on a desktop or a mobile device.
With that in mind:
- Use line breaks generously. Two to three sentences per paragraph usually do the trick, but don’t be afraid to let one sentence stand on its own.
- Give structure to your content by writing informative but concise headings.
- Break up long paragraphs with bullet points and numbered lists.
- Bold, underline, or italicize any info you want your readers to see. This emphasis helps to catch readers’ eyes even if they’re skimming—just don’t overdo it.
- Use images to let people’s eyes get a rest from text and re-focus
SE Ranking on-page SEO checker will let you analyze your page for performance and readability.
Take a look at your website—how many of these copywriting strategies do you currently use?
If the answer’s none, don’t be surprised to find that your website has lackluster conversion rates.
After all, copywriting is fundamental to branding.
Copywriting goes a long way in getting users to stay on your website and more importantly, convert. This is because it functions as your voice and means of persuasion. If your copy is weak, then what would compel readers to act?
Turn things around by incorporating the above best practices into your content strategy. The better your copywriting, the more users you’ll see staying on your website and converting.