These are the exact Instructions on how we write copy that doubles enquiries.
How Important Is Copy?
Your website copy is your sales pitch. And just like the best salespeople can be 2 to 4 times better than the worst salespeople, good website copy can multiply your inquiries.
Having high converting pages also means you can afford to pay twice as much to get visitors to your website. This opens up large volumes of potential traffic and advertising channels that may have been too expensive in the past.
Good website copywriting can be the difference between a click and a conversion: but what do we know about copywriting?
Here is a recent new client of ours: we took over their account, rewrote their landing page copy, and week-on-week their conversion rate was up 315% and total enquiries up 155%.
Here is an old client in an industry where most Google Ads campaigns typically convert at 5% (family law), we got over 30%.
If you sell a service, something that is invisible, then you can’t sell it using a picture and a price like you would a pair of branded trainers. Good copywriting practice is an essential part of any pitch, and it can be hard to figure out what’s best practice by yourself.
Luckily, Measured Marketing have you covered: we’ll talk through eight steps to great website copy in this article, and help you identify where and how to start turning clicks into conversions for your business.
Step 1: Initial Ideas
List bullet points for all of these psychological hot buttons:
- All the problems your service solves and value you provide
- Belief / credibility – why should people trust and believe you
- Speed – what you do to deliver value quickly
- Ease – what makes your service easier to use than competitors
For example a marketing agency might have a list like this:
- Problems Solved / Value:
- more enquiries
- high quality enquiries
- get you more business
- get a great return on marketing spend
- grow your business
- be a more successful business
- be able to reach and help more people
- grow your brand
- increase the value of your brand
- increase the sale value of your business
- have a consistent marketing system
- more high value customers will increase your profit margin
- Screenshots of results
- Case studies
- Money back guarantees
- Be getting more leads within a week
- We can tell you today if social media ads will work for your business
- We’ll get the phone ringing, you just need to answer
- High quality enquiries will convert quicker and easier
Don’t try to write the actual copy yet, just what you can think of under those categories. Focus more on the emotional feel you get from each point. Don’t worry if they overlap.
For ideas, research competitor ad copy (paid ads near the top of google are ads that attract higher click through rates, therefore they are probably appealing to your audience), and check out competitor’s website. When you look at your competitor’s content check for the same things – value, credibility, speed and ease. And add them to your list if applicable.
Also look at all the keywords people search for. Most people will just type in the industry they are searching for like “marketing agency Liverpool”, but every now and then you’ll see a long tail search like “award winning marketing agency”, “pay per lead marketing agency”, “gas safe plumber”, “no win no fee lawyer”. These are clues to what some competitors are providing that people may value. What isn’t there? If there aren’t any searches for “chartered accountant” then maybe that’s not a strong benefit. You can use a keyword tool to find this data, we recommend using the Google Ads Keyword tool.
Step 2: Write The Points As Actual Landing Page Copy
Using the rules below, write each point multiple times in different ways to see what works best.
From the marketing agency list above here is copy for just one point:
- High quality enquiries
- Enjoy high quality enquiries that convert easier.
- Get the best enquiries.
- We’ll target and deliver the keenest high quality prospects.
- Grow your business faster with a steady supply of high quality enquiries
- High quality enquiries
How do you rate each line above on simplicity, the value demonstrated, and emotional impact? They all say they same thing but they feel different.
Rules on writing the copy:
The way you write your copy should also embody the same 4 hot buttons. The copy should be easy and quick to read, filled with certainty (for believability / credibility), and demonstrate that you offer lots of value, that you solve lots of problems.
This is to maintain psychological congruence (consistency). If you use long complex sentences to try and describe your service as quick and easy it won’t sit right with the reader.
The same applies for the layout and design of the page, everything needs to fit and be consistent with value, believability, speed and ease. You need to be die-hard about making everything as simple as possible.
Don’t use uncommon or needlessly complex language. Don’t plaster your page with images and links. Images don’t provide value to the user and stock photos don’t show real credibility. Use short paragraphs, especially the first paragraph.
The content needs to provide value quickly, this means you need to get straight to point, cutting out all the fluff and using as few words as possible to convey a strong clear message.
It should be as quick and easy to read as possible. Use short simple sentences with a comma or full stop every 10 words max.
Simple copy is more likely to be believed. This has been shown in scientific research and makes sense, we believe what we can understand. Whereas the harder something is to understand, the more unknown, the scarier, and the less trusted it is.
Also the mental effort required to read a more complex sentence makes us feel like that business will be complicated and hard work.
Everything should demonstrate the value in an obvious way. Don’t say “family owned business” if you are trying to say you are trustworthy. Say “trusted by over 600 local families for 10 years”. Use numbers where possible. Be especially precise with any guarantees.
Try to reduce ambiguity as much as possible.
Check if any parts of each sentence have different possible meanings. This happens more often than people realise. A sentence may make sense by the time you get to the end but the visitor has to work through other possible meanings in their mind. This creates split seconds of confusion and requires more mental effort from the reader.
“We’re a small team”
“We’re a small team and all”
“We’re a small team and all of our clients are”
“We’re a small team and all of our clients are very important to us.”
The last line is the actual line from a website, but as you can see the person has to work through other possible meanings. Also the two points aren’t well connected; it’s a stretch to work out why a small team means clients are important.
- Use positive words as much as possible especially near the start
- Avoid negative words as much as possible especially at the start
Mentioning negative words on your page whilst the person is being exposed to your brand and your offer forms associations between your brand and those negative words.
We often see things like “dealing with employment law can be a nightmare, let us take care of it for you” scattered across pages: it can be a real mood killer when a potential client is moments from converting. This association effect is especially true for visitors being exposed to the brand for the first time or who have little knowledge of the brand.
Although the sentence makes sense to the logical part of the brain, the all important emotional part now has your brand and those negative words tied together. Your logo + “nightmare” are now close together. Along with anything else associated with that negative word.
The association usually takes place before the person has consciously read the words on the page. The quick thinking emotional brain will pick up on negatives words within fractions of a second and the reader will just get a bad feeling about the page and not even know why.
There’s lots of research showing our emotional brain will use whatever cues and context are available to form an opinion no matter how illogical. It’s why it’s better to sell your house on a sunny day. Logically your house didn’t make the sun shine that day, it isn’t going to be sunny 365 days a year, but despite this the effect is still there making potential buyers quicker to fork out thousands because of it.
Another example is that split tests have shown that saying “we won’t spam you” on a contact form lowers the number of enquiries through that form. Because you mentioned spam.
It’s like shaking someone’s hand and saying half way through “don’t worry I washed my hands after I last went the toilet”. Logically – it’s a good thing, emotionally – yack, mental images of you on the toilet.
Another rule is to use “you” as much as possible in the copy to make it feel relevant to the reader.
Step 4: Prune
Remove weak points from the four sections. Adding weak arguments to a list of strong arguments has been shown to have a negative effect, it makes the whole thing look weaker.
Also remove any points that are strong but can’t be explained in a single simple sentence, to avoid the complex. If you must put a complex benefit in the copy, it should be near the end once the reader has gained some momentum.
Step 5: Put It All Together
Find the single strongest point from all your ideas and make that the title. The title needs to say what it is you offer too so you may not be able to fit in the best point without making it too long.
Then take the next best 1 – 2 points and make that the first paragraph, and then next 1 – 3 after that as the second paragraph.
Then add a call to action as the third paragraph, where you specifically ask the reader to take action. Include a reason why they are taking action. “Contact us on 0800… to get more information”.
The smaller the ask the more likely the visitor is to take action. “More information” is low action, “get a quote” is medium, “Call to become a client” is a big ask.
Add up to 2 more short paragraphs from your list after the call to action. Credibility points tend to work best for Google ads campaigns, so use a lot of those.
[best point as heading]
[2nd best point. 3rd best point]
[4th,5th, 6th best point]
[7th, 8th, 9th]
[10th, 11th, 12th]
Testimonials may naturally be a few paragraphs and should be used towards the end.
If needed add extra elaboration to the end of the page on how the benefits you have described will work.
Have as few images as you are comfortable with on the page. Images should add proof to what your content describes. They should not under any circumstances be random smiley stock photos. Nobody will believe they are real photos and they don’t communicate anything related to your content. They don’t prove you offer value, ease, believability, speed.
If you do add images they should be used with caution, less is better and they should be lower down the page. Visitors are less likely to read your content if there are images on the page.
As images stand out a lot more than text you are creating the impression that what you have to say isn’t very important, not when it is next to a big colourful image. Especially if the images are at the top of the page, the higher something is on the page the more important it is deemed to be. Large banner images pushing the content down the page are the worst.
Examples of photos that might actually prove the points mentioned:
- A tradesman that says high quality finish on your kitchen could include a few kitchens that have a quality finish.
- Images of what might be included in your package like a stack of easy to use templates
- Images of accreditations, associations and collecting awards are good.
- If you mention a large team of experts then have a team photo of the whole team.
- If you can’t think of anything then a smiley photo of the business owner has been shown to outperform stock photos.
Step 6: Write Multiple Versions
Now go through step 5 again but mix up the order of your points, and swap a few round with others from your original list. It’s difficult to know which one potential customers will actually value more. So you are going to test this second version against the first.
Also great copy is often the result of repeatedly rewriting your copy, making it better one tweak at a time.
Step 7 : Testing Phase
Test both versions and keep the highest performer. There are a number of tools you can use to test the performance of two different versions of a web page, but we recommend Google Optimise.
Optimise lets you generate a version of the web page with minor edits which you can test against the baseline page.
Step 8: Editorialising Your Website Copy
Example of bad copy – what’s not there, and shouldn’t be there.
If you’ve gone through this process and you still end up with rambling spiel that you see on most sites like this:
“Jones solicitors are proud of our heritage, we can trace our roots back over 100 years. But we aren’t in the past when it comes to modern technology. Our case management system has an online portal that clients can use to view their matter”
Then you have gotten lost in the process somewhere.
- “Jones solicitors are proud of our heritage” – no value to reader,
- “we can trace are routes back over 100 years” – almost no value to reader, reader has to figure out why that may be good
- “But we aren’t in the past when it comes to modern technology” – long winded and weak way to say you use modern tech, no substantiation of why this improves quality / speed / ease
- “Our case management system has an online portal that clients can use to view their matter” – has value, but can be written either in half as many words or with more emotional impact, should use the word “you” instead of clients, shouldn’t start with “our”.
Only the last line has value, most of the value in that paragraph can be written as:
“Stay up to date on your case in real-time, with our easy to use online portal”
If you can cut your copy down to ¼ and still get all the important hot buttons across, then you’ve turned a three hour drama in to a one hour action packed movie.
Example high performing content
The following content was only 100 words, excluding testimonials, much shorter than most pages, it converted at double the industry average, and brought in enquiries for around £5 each.
Here’s some of the mobile version:
Note that it’s super simple with no padding. Most people that are going to call will only spend 30 – 40 seconds reading. Good website copy doesn’t have to be complex!
You probably wouldn’t know that the content is high performing just by looking at it. Sometimes our agency clients worry about how plain the pages are, but most of the time they are happy when they say performance double!
Special Bonus Step
If you are getting more enquiries than you can handle and would prefer to improve the quality, move the call-to-action further down the page.
Also remove the contact number from the top of the page so it first appears in the call-to-action.
Also consider moving the contact form further down the page depending on where it appears.
- It filters out some users that weren’t keen enough to read more of the content, users that are just trying to ring the first number they could find.
- This means the average enquiry will be from someone that has read more of the benefits of your service.
- And they will have spent more time on the page so they are now more invested.
This should result in less but higher quality enquiries. Often it improves quality without effecting volume much.
I hope you have found this useful. If you would like to discuss how this can be applied to your business feel free to get in touch on 0151 515 7467.
Additional Food For Thought
Why not have a think about how you could actually improve your service so it pushes more of the hot buttons (value, believability, speed and ease). And then you can include this in your copy.
This would make your service more valuable; you may even be able to charge more. For example:
- Most services can describe a lot of what they normally provide as though it is a bonus by separating out the core service and describing everything else as a bonus. Like “free set up worth £xxx” if you don’t normally charge a set up fee when taking on a new client.
- Freebie from other services you offer (free review of something, it may lead to them signing up to that service too.).
- A free marketing review when you buy a new website
- A review of your Will when you sign up for any other legal service
- A free review of your personal finances when your business signs up for bookkeeping services
- What else would allow the client to gain more value from your service? Ideally things that you produce once but will continue to add value to your service for a long time like guides, software, and training.
- A sales script might help a marketing client get more from their marketing service.
- Template documents for clients of HR services
- A database of regular awards events that PR agencies could give to clients
- Online backup service to keep contracts that lawyers produce for clients
- Additional services you can include that will allow the user to get more value and better achieve their goal.
- Add-on services from other suppliers, other suppliers may offer a freebie just for the intro to their business.
- A lawyer could arrange a commission on online document signing software to help clients use contracts they produce
- An estate agent could introduce house buyers to interior designers that offer a free initial brainstorming session
- A second-hand car salesman could introduce a mechanic that will offer a discounted first service when you but a car
- Can you offer some sort of guarantee
- Awards, association / regulatory memberships, qualifications
- Successful case studies
- Reduce service delivery time any way you can eg using clear operating procedures, templates, software, automation
- Improve how quickly you start delivery so you can say “start today..” or “start sooner with our..(special new feature)” .
- Can you reduce the amount of work a potential client would have to do
- Can you reduce inconvenience? Tradesmen may adopt a process of being quiet and tidy. Lawyers may help a business implement a new contract, marketers may make it easier for the business to receive and manage enquiries…
Then once you implement ideas from the above in to your service add them to your original copy.