Why Your Online Advertising Isn’t Working and How Compelling Copy Can Increase Sales Exponentially
In this blog post you’ll discover how to create compelling online copy which can turn even the most casual viewer into an excited prospect eager to buy your products or engage your services
Very often business owners who advertise online complain that despite investing a small fortune setting up a landing page with an irresistible offer and driving traffic through Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, the expected leads and sales don’t materialise. They complain that money invested in online advertising is a complete waste, instead of trying to determine the real reason why their online advertising failed to deliver results.
If you aren’t getting the expected conversions from your online advertising campaign, it’s quite likely your copy may be the culprit. With fleeting attention spans, you have only a few seconds to catch the attention of the visitor and if your copy is not compelling enough to draw the visitor in, the money you invest in driving traffic to an offer on your landing page will be completely wasted.
Targeting the Right Audience
Before creating an online advertising campaign, it’s important to target the right audience. Many advertisers make the mistake of targeting a broad audience, meaning just about everybody. Sadly, this approach is destined for failure. To make your offer irresistible you need to identify a specific target audience who will receive a direct benefit from your product or service. Depending on your price point, you should also target an audience who have the financial resources to invest in your offer.
For example if your offer is for a $50,000 business coaching service, it’s pointless to target startup businesses who are cash strapped.
One of the golden rules of advertising is to have the right match of Market Media and Message, meaning you need to communicate the right message, to the right target market, using the most appropriate media.
For example if you drive cold traffic from a Facebook ad to a landing page selling a $5000 product, however good your ad and offer, the conversions aren’t likely to be great, because you aren’t communicating to an audience who already know, like and trust you.
What Really is the Difference Between Good Copy and Bad Copy
It wasn’t until very long ago that the copy you saw on landing page offers were full of hype, offering miracle cures for life-threatening illnesses or the promise of instant riches by doing very little work. This kind of copy just doesn’t work as it triggers the “Bullshit Detector” in the reader, who instantly clicks off the page, never to return.
Neither is humdrum copy written in a formal style or using verbose sentences which puts a reader to sleep.
Good copy on the other hand targets a problem, challenge or intense desire and is written in a way that acknowledges the conversation which the target audience may be having in their minds. Having caught the attention of the reader in this way, the copy goes on to offer a solution to the problem or a means to satisfy the desire by taking immediate action.
The copy is written in a conversational style as if speaking to just one person. This is why it is important to understand what’s going on in a prospect’s life; their fears, frustrations, challenges and aspirations.
With the internet getting increasingly crowded and the advertising space more cluttered, you have a few seconds to get the attention of your ideal prospect and if your message is not specific enough to hit them between the eyes, they will skip it. As a result, your conversions will suffer.
Here are a few rules you can follow to create compelling copy for your landing pages, so viewers eagerly opt-in to receiving your offers.
- Create a Compelling Offer
Before you create a landing page, it’s important to create a compelling offer. Forget about asking people to opt-in to receive your email newsletter. That’s too passé.
Creating a compelling offer is important because even the most persuasive copy will not result in conversions if the offer is not attractive.
How do you know what to offer your prospects?
If you really understand your prospects, you may already know what their pain points and what keeps them awake at night. Use this knowledge to create your compelling offers.
Here are some offers you can consider:
Free Content Addressing a Common Concern
Once you know what problems your prospects face or the solutions they are looking for, you can easily create content in the form of a short Free Report, Checklist or even a Video. When creating the content ensure it’s something the prospect can act upon quickly. The content needs to be simple and actionable.
If you’re a service provider, for instance an accountant or business consultant you could offer a free consultation on a specific subject, such as setting up self-managed superannuation or creating a business operations plan.
Free Trials or Discounts
Free trials are a great option for businesses such as gyms and software companies, as they allow users to experience the product or service at no risk.
To get prospects to put some skin in the game, requesting a tiny upfront payment such as a $1 pre-payment with the option to make a purchase within a 30 day period is a good strategy to obtain prospects to micro-commit, before they become customers.
- Attention Grabbing Headlines
Once you’ve thought of a compelling offer, you can get down to the task of writing your copy. The first thing you need to do is write an attention-grabbing headline so your prospect reads your offer and takes action.
While there are many theories about the purpose of a headline and how to write one, essentially the headline has only one purpose and that is to get the prospect to read the rest of the content on your landing page.
It’s really that simple.
This is the first test of whether your landing page will convert or not. If your prospect does not read past the headline, the conversions will plunge.
Skilled copywriters invest a few hours in crafting headlines for a landing page, until they hone in on one or two which are the most attention-grabbing. It’s also a good idea to split-test at least two headlines on your landing page.
This simply means running two landing pages, which are identical in every other respect except the headline. The reason for this is to allow the market to decide which one they will respond to. If one of the landing pages convert a lot better than the other, you can drop the one which does not convert as well.
Here’s a real life example where two headlines were split-tested:
The result: The variation with the word “Supplement” to the headline improved sales by 89%
- Conversational Language
Many business owners tend to write copy which is formal, businesslike and focuses on their products or services. The reality is your prospects are only interested in how your products or services can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal.
The copy on your landing page has to address the challenges they are facing and explain in plain English, that you understand exactly what they are going through and how by taking action on your offer, they will be able to overcome the problem or achieve an outcome they are seeking.
One of the ways to do this is to replace “We” with “You” in the copy.
For example, instead of saying, “We offer the highest standards of service in the industry.”
You can say
“You will benefit from a team of experts, who will do whatever it takes to help you achieve the outcome that you seek.”
Can you see the difference between these two sentences?
Both say the same thing, the only difference with the second sentence is that is focused on the prospect, not on the business.
- Benefit Driven Bullets
Bullet Points enable readers to quickly grasp the benefits of what you are offering them. The secret to writing good bullet points on a landing page is to arouse curiosity but never give away the complete solution. Think of bullets as teasers, which get your readers salivating for more.
Bullets should mainly focus on benefits. If it’s necessary to talk about features, the bullet should also explain the benefit arising from the feature.
For example instead of…
The security alarm system undergoes a rigorous 35 point quality check and is backed by 24 hour support which is unrivalled in the industry
You can say:
Every security alarm system undergoes a rigorous 35 point check and is backed by 24 hour support…so you can sleep easy knowing there’s nothing to worry about.
Here are some additional tips for writing powerful bullet points:
- Think of bullets as mini headlines which draw the reader into reading your content
- Avoid using the same word at the beginning of each bullet.
- Break bullet points using Ellipsis, a series of dots (typically three, such as “…”)
- Use facts and numbers to give your bullets more credibility
- Group your bullets by categories so it’s easier for the reader to follow
- Ask questions which can only be answered by taking advantage of your offer
- Proof Elements
If your prospects have never heard of your business before, they would need to be reassured that your products and services can actually deliver the promised results.
There are three main proof elements you can use on your landing page
- Testimonials: The most common proof element, these can be either video testimonials or plain text. Try to use a good mix of testimonials so they don’t focus on just one aspect of your business.
For instance one testimonial can focus on Quality, another on Service and a third on Timely Delivery
- Case Studies: Case Studies are more in-depth, and provide insights into the process which led to a successful outcome. When using case studies it’s important to reveal the numbers, as these are indisputable proof elements.
- Authority Publications: Published data from a study conducted by an authority institution is a great way to reassure prospects about the effectiveness of your products or services.
As this is unbiased factual data, it’s the best supporting evidence to amplify your proof elements.
- Scarcity and Urgency
If you want to improve conversions on your landing page, it’s important to get prospects to act while they’re still on the page. Once they leave the page, it’s unlikely they will return unless they’re absolutely sold on your offer.
Even then, they could have forgotten the link to your landing page and aren’t able to access the page anymore. It’s far easier in these situations to do a Google search and find someone else to address their concern.
Scarcity and urgency are two tactics you can use to increase your conversions.
If your offer is about physical products, you can create scarcity in your copy by indicating there are only a limited quantity of products being offered.
If you offer digital downloads, be careful about using scarcity, as prospects are intelligent enough to realise that digital products cannot run out of stock and you are using a false scarcity ploy.
Whether your offer is about digital products or physical products, another way of increasing conversions is by creating a sense of urgency. If you leave your offer open, your prospects will feel they can delay their decision, which means you will have lost them.
Instead, by indicating the offer is only available for a limited time, the “fear of loss”, kicks in and prospects will be compelled to take advantage of the offer, for the fear they will miss out on what would have been an excellent opportunity.
Here’s an example:
As a final incentive, to get prospects who may be teetering on the edge, offering bonuses can help tip them over to taking up your offer.
When offering bonuses it’s important to ensure these are related to the main offer in some way. A perfect example for a training course is to offer a software program which help with the implementation process.
With bonuses, the perceived value is very important and it’s a good idea to indicate the value of each bonus. A clever tactic used by intelligent marketers is adding up the value of the bonuses so it exceeds the value of the main offer.
Often the reason why prospects take up an offer is because they want the bonuses more than the product.
Here’s an example of how adding a bonus improved retention rates:
Result: Version A, with the pop-up, improved player retention rates 9.2%.
Depending on what you’re offering, a strong guarantee takes away the risk of failure from the prospect, and encourages them to take action. It also adds a degree of confidence in your products or services as you are willing to back your offer with a guarantee.
While money-back-guarantees are the most common, it isn’t always possible to offer a money back guarantee, especially in some service businesses.
Often a performance guarantee works as well, for instance in the case of a business consultant who can offer a guarantee to work with a client for an additional period of time at no cost if they aren’t able to generate results which had been agreed upon.
Here’s an example:
Strange as it may seem, one of the mistakes rookie salespersons make is not asking for a sale at the end of their presentation. They expect the prospect to be so “wowed” by their presentation that they will fall over and sign on the dotted line. Sadly, the reality is quite different.
Just as a salesperson in a personal selling situation has to ask a prospect for the sale, the copy on a landing page must have a strong call to action.
The copy should close out with a persuasive call-to-action message, which urges the prospect to click on a button and get the offer.
Rather than just use the words, “Click Here” or “Buy Now”, in a Call-to-action button, use a stronger message such as: “Yes, I want to get this right now”
Here’s a test which reveals how a simple change in the Call-to-Action delivered different results:
Result: The challenger version had a conversion rate of 3.84%.
Following these guidelines will help you easily double conversions on your landing pages and help you generate the qualified leads and sales you need to grow your business exponentially.
Go ahead and look at your landing page copy. Are you missing any of these elements? Then implement what’s been revealed to you here and use this as a checklist to write persuasive copy for all of your landing pages in the future.
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Samuel Junghenn is the Managing Director of Think Big Online and has over 12 years experience in Online Marketing. He is passionate about building businesses using the power of automation and the Internet along with the thrill of motor racing.