4 high-value areas of copy you may be ignoring

When it comes to copy, we all tend to focus on “the big stuff” — stuff like coming up with a great name, writing killer homepage copy and filling out “the blog” are often viewed as high priority and seen as most important during (and even after) a product launch.

They do after all, take the most time to concept, design and execute, so they deserve the most attention, right? IMHO, not necessarily.

What about all of the little bits of copy that help people discover your products, or copy that drives users to take action? What about the copy that pushes a customer over the edge between “I’m thinking about it” and “I want that. And I want it NOW!”?

Those high-value copy opportunities, my friends, are what you should be paying closer attention to. So, let’s review where those opportunities lie and how you can optimize the copy you’ve got. Ready? Great! Let’s go →

#1: Call-to-actions

Take a look at your current CTAs / buttons on your marketing site. Do they seem like enticing offers, or orders being barked by a drill sergeant?


(Okay, maybe not so much with that last one, but you get the picture).

Remember, a call-to-action is the LAST opportunity you have to sway a customer to your side, so don’t waste it by leaving them feeling uninspired.

One way to do this is to begin thinking about your button not as a “call-to-action,” but rather, a “call-to-value,” — or an opportunity to remind your customers of what they’re getting, not what you want them to do to get it.

I learned a lot about this concept from Michael Allard of ContentVerve and Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers, who recommends treating your customers like hungry lizards, always leading with the value they’re getting, rather than the action you’d like them to take (see image below for reference).

Another way to improve your button copy is to add transparency to your message. For example, promising a user something like “Free updates,” is not only uninspiring, it sounds like SPAM, so skip the vagueness and get specific. If you’re going to give users “Free health tips,” get specific about the type of health tips you’re going to give them and how often they can expect to receive them.

The more specific you get, the less afraid users will be to sign up for (or buy) something they’ve never tried before.

Remember, most marketing sites have MULTIPLE “call-to-action” buttons PER PAGE, so these messages will not only be seen by a lot of people, but they are all individual opportunities to drive conversions that you don’t want to pass up!

#2: Subscription pop-ups

Let’s talk about those little boxes that pop out of the right corner of your screen (or in some cases, take over the entire page you’re reading) to tell you some “important” message: Sign up, Subscribe now, or whatever split test message is being served to customers that day.

Now for some, messages like these may seem like unimportant, customer intrusions, something like a “just check it off the list, dammit” situation. If this is the case for you, I just have one question: why spend so much time creating content if no one is signing up to read it?

And it’s not just about getting people to read your content; getting a user to sign up to receive updates from your company is a HUGE opportunity for building brand loyalty and ultimately, driving conversions, so why ignore such a high-value copy opportunity?

This is even more important if you’re serving this message to every single person that visits your site — if you’re getting hundreds (or thousands) of visitors a day, don’t you think this copy is worth investing in?

Here’s an example of what I mean — I’m part of a tutoring startup called Coach; we’re still in beta, so simply filling in the copy has been a higher priority than “getting it right.” But as we approach launch, we’ve been working hard to update and optimize all designs and messaging across the marketing site, blog and product (we’re not live yet — launching mid February ‘16).

The other day, I went to the blog and noticed the newsletter pop-up in the bottom right of my screen; the copy seemed off to me; “did I write that?” I paused and asked myself, slightly confused. I immediately got to work.

With some simple copy tweaks (and in just a few days), we’ve increased subscriptions by nearly 6%!

Now, I’ll be the first to say that the original copy was not great (hey, it happens in a startup), but if you compare the key differences between the two (i.e. — benefit-driven headline, clearer subheadline and improved button copy), it’s easy to see why the updated version is winning over the original.



My advice to you? Take a look at your current subscription pop-up (or whatever device you’re using to serve messages) to see if your copy seems to be falling flat, or if it feels exciting, inspiring, or even RELEVANT to the person who may be reading it.

If your pop-up is in need of a refresh, try focusing on incorporating user-driven values, full transparency and avoid barking orders in that button!

#3: Product descriptions

…Say what? Exactly.

No one ever talks about product descriptions! And why would they!? They’re long, time-consuming to write (and take forever to upload to the website) and there’s always a million of them! Plus, everyone knows no one READS on the internet, RIGHT!? No! Not even close.

When it comes to converting, product descriptions are actually some of the most important copy you can have on your site. “But why?,” you may wonder. I’m glad you asked!

You’ll increase your discoverability: by packing your product descriptions with SEO-friendly keywords, you’re increasing the chances of a potential customer SEEING your product, which is the first step to making a sale.

One way to make this easier on yourself is to have that list of keywords with you at all times while writing your product descriptions, making them accessible and easier to incorporate into your blurbs.

You’ll stand out more: do you know how many times I’ve gone to a site, clicked on a product I was interested in, but left in frustration at not being able to learn ANYTHING important about the thing I wanted to buy?

Be the company that not only gives the person the information they’re looking for to make an informed decision, but the ones who sell them on the experience that product can offer.

It’s your chance to actually SELL your product: at this point in the process, you are SO close to a sale. The customer is clearly interested in the product, all you have to do is sell the damn thing!

You can do this by selling an experience to potential customers — an experience filled with sensory descriptors, enticing adjectives and things that make the customer feel excited to buy. Remember, at this point, you’re not necessarily selling product features, but rather benefits that will add general awesomeness to your customer’s life.

So yeah, product descriptions? Might want to work on those.

#4: Entry fields

You know those times you’re asking a customer to do something, like Subscribe or Sign up? Well, those opportunities also come with a big blank box usually containing the words, “Enter your email,” or something to that effect.

But why just keep the generic “enter your email” copy if you can try something a bit more unique? This copy is, in most cases, attached to your offer, so it’s not something you should entirely overlook.

Here are some ideas I’ve been experimenting with that you can try for yourself:

Connect the dots: If we read top to bottom, left to right, your entire message (from headline, to subheadline, to entry field, to CTA / button) is read as a complete package, not as individual entities, so try approaching your messages the same way.

For example, if your email entry copy is: [[ enter your email to enter our world ]] your button copy could then read: [[ Join us ]]

With just that small tweak, the messages now feel connected, rather than separate from the overall message you’re trying to get across (and honestly feel a bit more exciting than “Enter your email” and “Subscribe now”).

Try something unexpected: people are SO used to the boring old “enter your email here” message that this could be your opportunity to surprise & delight those bastards! Write something funny, wacky, silly, jarring, whatever! If you know your audience, you should know exactly the type of language that will make him/her laugh, smile, cry, etc, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Ready to drive more conversions with copy?

You bet you are! Get started by taking a look through your own marketing site, apply the learnings we just went over, and you’ll be getting more sign-ups / sales in no time!

…And hey, if you need some help, well, that’s what copywriters are for 😉

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