Category Archives: Copywriting

3 Psychological Tips to Boost Your Business Web Site (Part 2 of 3)

stack of books

The Psychology of Copy

Welcome to part two of this three part series on the three most commonly unknown psychological tricks to increasing your conversion and interaction rates on your business web site.

In my last post, we discussed the Psychology of Color.  Where you were taught what colors were effective and what ages these people prefer them.  If you haven’t read it, check it out!

This next psychological trick to boosting your business web site is one that can greatly make or break a site.  Industries have evolved around this concept.  People spend years trying to master it.  Only few can truly say they have succeeded.

I am talking about copy.  The voice of your web site.  The idea that explains who you are, and what you can do for your customer.

Let’s explain.

The Psychology of Copy

Most people think that in order to gain a readers respect and trust and eventually make a sale, they need to write in a formal manner.  They make sure to correct all their contractions, changing words with better thesaurus replacements, and use deep and lengthy sentences.  A piece of copy that a college professor would be proud of.

The truth is the average American education level is 5th grade.   So unless you’re selling to a sophisticated target market, most of your web site users are not looking to read sophisticated wording. They want to be told the benefits and where to buy.  Trying to be too fancy with your wording won’t impress your reader, it will confuse them.

Dr. Rudolph Flesch talks about this point further in his book, The Art of Plain Talk. Here he creates his Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) which, based on a 1 to 100 scale, rates the reading easiness of your copy. The higher your score, the easier your copy is to read.

The Flesch Reading Ease Score is calculated in a 5 step process as follows:

1)     Count every word, number, and symbol in your copy.

2)     Count all the syllables in the words, numbers, and symbols as you would pronounce them.

3)     Count every sentence that is separated by a period, question mark, semicolon, colon, exclamation point, or dash.

4)     Divide the total number of syllables by the total number of words.

5)     Divide the number of words by the number of sentences.

The result of your answer is your readability score.  If your score is 70 or above, your copy is in a good readability range.  In order to be truly effective as well, you should keep your sentences at around 11 words.

So when looking at your site, are you selling your product, or just telling about your product?

How to write winning sales letters

blank note pad with penToday’s sales letters aren’t mailed and are rarely handwritten. But, they’re often repurposed as paid search landing pages for lead generation. Writing sales letters is more art than science, but if you follow the five suggestions below, you’ll achieve greater response.

Get Their Attention
Pretend you’re the client, and tell them what they want to know about your offer, anticipating questions they may have.

Show Advantage(s)
Good sales letters have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. And they’re written conversationally, with short paragraphs, even shorter sentences and lots of white space. After you’ve told them about your offer, show them a benefit — not what they get, but what they really get. For example, if you’re a criminal lawyer, you’re selling legal services, but your client is staying out of jail!

Prove It
This is where great sales letters are made. Social proof, in the form of real testimonials, are often more powerful than any other part of your letter. Psychologically, we all have some resistance when being pitched, but we let down our guard when someone else, who went before us, had nice things to say. Do not forget this section!

Sum it Up
Tell me again everything you’ve told me — why I’m reading this letter, what benefits I get and why I should believe you.

Ask for Action
Don’t make me think — tell me what you want me to do. Pick up the phone, fill out your form, etc.

If you follow this simple, 5-step formula, your sales letters and landing pages should convert suspects into prospects, prospects into leads, and leads into sales.

Photo credit by RAWKU5.

AIDA Formula for Sales Copy

mathematical formulaAIDA is a marketing acronym and formula describing a sequence of events your sales copy or sales letters should follow for maximum success. The formula is easy to follow and remember:

A – Attention. Create a headline or other element to attract and capture the attention of your reader.

I – Interest. Get your client involved with the message by focusing on and demonstrating the advantages of using your service (instead of just listing features). Benefits, and more so what they get from that benefit, are why your prospects buy.

D – Desire. Build desire by making your offer irresistible, such as including bonuses, your guarantee and the urgency of the offer.

A – Action. The end goal is leading your prospect or reader towards taking action by inquiring or purchasing (depending on the nature of your offer).

Some modern marketers are also including an additional “S” at the end of the formula for Satisfaction. But I think the “S” should really be a “$”, since satisfied customers buy more, and are more likely to give referrals to friends, family and colleagues.

So there you have it, one of many, very simple formulas to follow when crafting and creating your sales letters.

Photo credit by tap78.

Are Fluff Words Ruining Your Sales Copy?

blackboard alphabetIn this quick copywriting tip, you’ll see how removing fluff words makes your copy stronger and more conversational. When dealing with fluff words, like my mom always said, “when in doubt, throw it out.” Get rid of the fluff and you’ll no longer sound pompous and insecure (by using fancy words to look smart).

In just about every instance, you can remove the word “that” from your sentences. Instead of “He said that his lawyer helped him create a will” say “He said his lawyer helped him…”

This one sneaks in all the time in places it shouldn’t. Instead of “The contract of mine is on your desk” use a possessive statement like “My contract is on your desk.”

The ultimate fluff word. It does nothing good old “use” doesn’t do, and certainly doesn’t make you seem smarter. So strike out “utilize” and replace with “use” and you’ll have cleaner, tighter statements immediately.

Always replace “vehicle” with what it really is: a car, a truck, etc. Instead of “Lili took her vehicle to get washed” say “Lili washed her car.”

This common word has legitimate uses, however, in a sentence like “the shareholders gathered together to meet” it’s cumbersome. See how much clearer “the shareholders met” sounds?

TO BE (and it’s variations: IS, AM, ARE, WERE and WAS)
Make every effort to banish as many of these words as you can, sentence by sentence. Dropping “to be” and it’s variations isn’t easy, and you can’t get rid of them entirely, but when you do, your sentences come alive. “Kevin is running to the store” is passive and awkward. “Kevin ran to the store” is active and alive. Another indicator is to look for sentences beginning with “There are” or “There is” since you can always rewrite them more powerfully. When you eliminate “to be” and it’s variations, you’re forced to think about the sentence and improve your verbs.

So make an effort to tighten your copy with these guidelines, and sell better with clean, clear and powerful sentences.

Photo credit by Cieleke.

12 Secrets To Better Sales Copy

There are no shortcuts to effective, compelling sales copy. The best copywriters follow these guidelines when writing marketing messages. Stick to this list and improve the response of your sales messages:

  • Use the words “You” and “Your” generously. This makes your copy “talk” to the reader.
  • List features and emphasize the benefits. Every reader is selfish and only thinking how your offer will solve a problem they have.
  • Write short paragraphs (2-3 sentences) of varying length. Make use of white space, bullets and subheadings.
  • Grab your reader’s attention with your opening statements. A headline like “Attention: Electricians” really singles out who you’re trying to reach.
  • It’s OK to break grammar rules. Use sentence fragments, start sentences with a conjunction and use contractions.
  • Use connector words such as “Here’s how”, “So”, “In Fact”, etc. to move the reader from paragraph to paragraph.
  • When writing sales letters, the “P.S.” and your headline are the most important elements. Devote extra time and effort to these sections, writing and rewriting until they are powerful.
  • Use the shortest words possible yet still make your point. Why write “policeman” when you can write “cop”?
  • The length of your sales copy should be just long enough to tell everything that needs to be told. Don’t follow any rules – say what you have to say in your sales letter, so long as it remains interesting to your reader.
  • Include your call to action on the first and last page of your sales letter. It should be obvious.
  • Always write conversationally, like you were talking to a friend. And read your copy out loud, you’re sure to discover areas that confuse or ramble on.
  • Copywriting is considered salesmanship in print. Write your marketing messages as one person talking to another.