The ability to write effective copy is unquestionably a refined art form. A good copy writer can string words together that influence random visitors to do an incredibly specific set of actions, often times these visitors have had no prior knowledge of you or your brand. One could liken the ability to a mild form of hypnosis. While that is a bit of a stretch, good copy writing is a combination of sound emotional persuasion, attractive logic, and scintillating provocation of desire.
I wanted to discuss a few findings related to the science and psychology of buying and then share some reference tools with you.
Trust is an incredibly important aspect of sales. If the prospect doesn’t believe you, it doesn’t matter if your product solves their life’s biggest problem or makes them a millionaire overnight. It is more important to establish a feeling of trust than to make big outrageous claims.
Trust also plays a part in order form conversion. The majority of buyers are aware of the risks of buying online. If your site looks questionable or insecure you won’t have much luck. The age-old solution to this is trust seals. In addition to implementing well-known trust seals, using a similar order form layout that they might be familiar with is also a smart tactic. Processing through a major platform like amazon, paypal, or ebay also lends a level of credibility and safety.
The Science of Buying
Awareness - A prospect consumes content making them aware of the existence of a given product. This can be via email, banner, post, or word of mouth among other things. They are open to listening to more information on the subject.
Interest - Interest is generated in the given product after the prospect considers the relevancy of the item in their life. They are actively learning about the product and want to know more about how they can use it or what it is.
Desire - The compounding and growth of interest, until desire is achieved and the prospect has to have it. Some part of the copy will act as a catalyst to elevate the emotional response to a want or need. They are looking for reasons that support this desire to warrant action. At this point, depending on what kind of buyer they are, they might also be looking for a good reason not to buy.
Action - Persuaded by the emotion of desire the prospect takes action in order to get the item. After they make an action they enter their post purchase evaluation, at which point they might leave a review or voice their opinion of their experience.
Want to get better?
If you are looking to learn copy writing or are interested in improving your ability. The almost unanimous consensus in the industry on the best course for email copywriting is called, Auto Responder Madness. If you are really interested in stepping up your writing game, it is time to check it out. It is really well written and presented course that illustrates its lessons in a unique and incredibly effective way.
Some Copy Writing Conversion Boosters
People like shopping. As an American I can attest to being conditioned to be a consumer. It feels good to click that submit button, the anticipation for the delivery box on you door step. Which is then followed by the personal gratification of unboxing your new prize and exploring it.
This whole process activates the reward system of your brain; in fact the same endorphins that are released during sex are released during the purchase process.
Here are some recent tests that have been shown to increase sales or conversion.
Small Payment - This is a silly one. As ridiculous as it sounds, if you test 1 payment of $5 against saying “1 small payment of $5″, the small payment will win every time. This might also be achievable by likening the amount of money to something everyone buys. Like the age old, “for the price of a cup of coffee per day, you can..”.
Mirror Neurons - You know that uncomfortable wincing feeling you get when you watch America’s funniest home videos and somebody gets hit in the groin? This is you identifying with the person on screen. Your “mirror neurons” fire and you empathize with that person, you recall or imagine what that might have felt like. This is a very powerful concept on copy writing, if you can evoke an emotional response you are doing your job as a copywriter.
Instead of writing, “Jane got a flat tire on the way to the office and was late for the big meeting”, you would write, “Suddenly, the front end of Jane’s car pops into the air and a terrible repetitive thump begins. As she rolls onto the shoulder of the road the terror sets in… She realizes that not only does she not know if she has a spare tire in her trunk, she is going to miss the most important meeting of her life…”. By painting a richer more descriptive picture, you are able to envoke a feeling in the reader. They can more easily identify with the situation you are describing and are able to project him or her into that scenario. In addition to creating an emotional response, your copy is more engaging and fun to read.
Freedom to choose - In a test where the copy was the same except the salemen mentioned that the visitor was “free to choose” or “not obliged to purchase”, conversions went up. This is somewhat counterintuitive but it reinforces the trust factors I mentioned earlier. This technique is doubled conversions as an in-person sales technique, but is less effective in written copy. However, this should still be effective in a video sales letter. If you test it please post your results below.
Copy writing is a balance of evoking an emotional response while providing a logical value of your product. Here is a great list of emotional trigger words.
You can email your email swipe copy to firstname.lastname@example.org, this automated app will instantly reply with your spam assassin score. It is a quick and painless way to test a questionable mail. If you aren’t sure what your spam scores look like, this could be the key to getting into more inboxes for you.
Here is a handy collection of SPAM trigger words that could be raising the score of your emails. Take a quick look and see what you should avoid.