“Talk to the dog in the language of the dog about what matters to the dog.” Roy H Williams
This past month, I shared my 10 step process for optimizing copy for websites or landing pages on my Market Motive training call. I was able to convince my friends at Market Motive to let me share the full presentation video with you (normally they only share the first few chapters unless you are a paid member). Unfortunately, it will only be available to be viewed on the blog until June 3rd.
If you don’t know what Market Motive is; Market Motive was started by my good friends John Marshall, Michael Stebbins and Avinash Kaushik. They provide online training and certification in Internet Marketing. There are over 300 videos like this one already in their archives. This is especially critical now that travel and training budgets have been slashed. It features some great instructors who present monthly trainings, answering questions from audience members, as well as a great online forum where you can ask additional questions afterwords. Market Motive Instructors include:
Enjoy the presentation (it will take less than 20 minutes to watch)! I’ve also included the 10 steps with additional references below.
(If you are having problems displaying the video in your browser
click here to Play Now.)
When evaluating and improving copy I work through these 10 steps one at a time.
Why are headlines first? They are the critical attention-getters that allow your visitor to determine if the page is relevant to his or her need in just a few seconds. Readers of your pages use headlines and sub headlines (headers and subheaders) to grok the content on a page and decide if they want to read more of your copy. Headlines aid in the visual task of scanning and skimming, which helps your visitors organize the information you present. Worded appropriately, they encourage your visitors to go deeper into your persuasive copy.
This is usually a combination of your headline and how it ties into your first few sentences of copy along with your first picture (if you have one in the paragraph). We’ve written several post that illustrate the power of a good first mental image. You may remember the post about how to convert a visitor in under 8 seconds. A strong mental image is achieved by choosing the best copy perspective for your message. Did you miss the copy perspective series by copywriter and copywriting instructor extraordinaire Jeff Sexton?
Everybody’s favorite radio station – what’s in it for me. Are you speaking to the reader about what matters to them? And are you speaking their language? Different personality preferences have different ways of engaging with your content and making decisions. This is where (and why) using personas to decide your content strategy can be so valuable in improving your conversion rate.
If you use your own name or “we” too many times in your copy you’ll end up sounding self-centered rather than customer focused. Face it: you’re not Denny Crane. So use our we-we or customer focus calculator to see how self-centered vs. customer-focused your copy is. You can also read our post to better understand how to measure your we-we. I’ve had many people tell me that they boosted their conversion rate by improving their we we score and creating more customer-focused copy.
Eliminate the black words. Avoid words that do not contribute toward a more vivid or colorful mental image.
Your copy can always be improved by pumping up your verbs and writing in active not passive voice. You can change a couple of setting in Microsoft Word to check for passive voice for you.
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen recently wrote about his research about the importance of keywords in your hyperlinks. Jeff Sexton shares how to write more persuasive hyperlinks and calls to action so you don’t sound like a “more-on“.
Don’t forget to evaluate and test the wording in your images, flash, video and audio content. One client changed the words on the Flash banner on his homepage and reduced abandonment by more than 28%.
1. Do you offer a clear message and value?
2. Have you established Trust & Credibility?
3. Have you answered all the main objections?
4. Have you addressed the emotional “ownership” of the sale?
5. Have you substantiated your claims?
6. Have you made the next steps clear?
7. Could you have said the same thing in a 1/3 of the words?
Improving your copywriting is just one of the many efforts you need to continually improve your results and keep your goals on target.