The average human is exposed to between 6000 and 10.000 ads in the span of a single day. The sheer volume of information makes it practically impossible for any sane person to process more than a small fraction of it. In such a world, convincing someone to convert can be quite an uphill battle. Today we will talk about some web copywriting fundamentals.
One of the strongest tools in any marketing arsenal is copywriting. By writing in a manner that can engage readers and spark interest, you can give yourself a fighting chance and ensure your message is one of the few that actually penetrates your audience’s consciousness.
Here are the seven fundamentals of copywriting you should aim to implement when creating any piece of marketing material. We also like to call them web copywriting fundamentals.
Focus On Your Audience’s Needs
Marketing to everyone is just as effective as marketing to no one. In order for your message to actually get through, you will need to aim it at a specific target.
Before you begin writing your copy, you want to have a buyer persona in mind. That way, instead of throwing words into the wind, you will have an easier job imagining the specific person you are addressing.
Once you understand who you are writing for, you also need to tell them what they can do with your product, as opposed to telling them what the product does or what you have done to create it. Benefit-focused marketing always works better than a feature-focused copy.
Use terms that address your customers’ pain points and make them feel like the product is going to do what they need. Don’t be dishonest, however. If your customers are trying to solve one problem, but your product solves a different one, you should rethink who you are trying to sell to.
Take a look at Voices and how they have aligned their copy with the needs of their audience. They use powerful words to convey their message: best, easily, quickly, within minutes, within your budget. All of them are used in the top half of the homepage. Collectively, they address a customer’s concern, and they communicate the benefits and values of doing business with the brand.
Go All-In On The Emotions
Marketing is often nothing more than trying to spark a specific emotion. You don’t just want to explain what a product will do. You want to make someone feel a certain emotion. Think about any Apple product. What does it do? Do you care? How does using it make you feel? Is that something you care about?
This style of copywriting is especially effective when you are a lifestyle-focused brand. For instance, let’s take a look at Impossible. They sell gym gear, which certainly isn’t a product that requires too much explanation.
Their target audience is people whose lifestyle includes working out and who are used to pushing their physical limits. With that in mind, the word “impossible” now has a completely new meaning. It now has all of these aspirational and motivational correlations that will appeal to the brand’s target audience on an emotional level.
Remember the “impossible is nothing” Adidas campaign and how it made you feel? The same logic has been applied to this brand’s homepage copy.
Bring The (Right Amount Of) Irreverence
This may sound a bit counterintuitive as one of the web copywriting fundamentals, but adding a touch of irreverence to your copy can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors in an original way. It can also help you hook your audience early on by using just one striking thought.
Here’s what we mean. Somnifix has a provocative tagline: “Don’t be a mouth breather.” It’s certainly not something you’d expect a brand to call you. Considering what a sensitive topic sleep issues can be, this is a very brave copywriting decision.
However, it works wonders: it manages to break any potential tension and oversensitivity the audience may have, and they won’t feel as embarrassed by their snoring as they might have.
Do note that the rest of the page is completely serious. The brand ultimately comes off as professional and trustworthy, but that one pun makes all the difference.
Prompt Actions With CTA Labels
The CTA is one of the most important elements on any converting page. Sadly, it is often given no consideration and turned into a simple “start” or “click here.”
By making your CTAs more appealing and telling a user exactly what is about to happen, you can significantly increase your conversion rates. Anchor text CTA can up your conversion rates by 121%.
For instance, this Quetext plagiarism checker page is a great example. Anything other than “check for plagiarism” would not have worked nearly as well. This copy is clear, concise, and, most importantly, it’s in direct correlation with the action that is about to happen.
Too often, brands forget that the CTA is an opportunity to reinforce motivation – to give the user a reason to click on the button. In the Quetext example above, the site designers could easily have opted for a more generic button label, like “Submit.”
But by telling the visitor what they can do and what’s going to happen when they click on the button, they create an additional incentive for the user to take action.
Get To The Point Quickly
Contrary to popular belief, the sooner you get to the point on a page, the better. Don’t try to increase time on the page by hiding it somewhere miles away from the fold. The sooner a customer can get their question answered, the better.
This is especially true for blog posts. If a visitor is expected to read several paragraphs (or even just skim them) before their thirst for information is quenched: they are more likely to click off than keep reading.
If you do a good job, your readers will stick with you and want to learn more about the subject. Camper Report does this very well with most of their posts and quickly gives you the top-level answer. They then provide plenty of additional information, which you don’t have to ingest if you don’t want to keep reading.
You will, however, leave with a positive experience and click the same website again when you come across it. You may even browse immediately.
Strike A Conversational Tone
Ideally, you want to strike just the right balance between sounding very professional and being friendly with your web copywriting fundamentals. You want to appear approachable but at the same time underline that you are an expert in what you do.
Mastering conversational tone will take some time. Aim to still sound like yourself (or, in this case, like your brand), but have your target audience in mind and what they would like to hear.
Refrain from using technical terms or too much jargon. Popular culture references are fine, as long as they are in line with your branding and ethos.
Basecamp does a good job of striking the right balance. They aren’t too laid back, but they don’t sound overly serious either. The terms they use aren’t too simple, but they can easily be understood by practically the entirety of their target audience.
Don’t Make Abstract or Outlandish Claims
Finally, you want to ensure the information you’re communicating is correct, legitimate, credible, and tangible.
For instance, you don’t want to say something like, “we’ll shoot your conversion rates to the moon.” This sounds too nebulous, and it is in no way measurable.
A claim along the lines of “we’ll improve your conversion rates by 22%” is better, but it still may strike the wrong chord. Stating something like this is fine if you’re prepared to guarantee this result. If not, you will be safer without it.
Don’t make claims that are obviously impossible or that sound too good to be true. Even if you are actually able to deliver on your promise, customers most likely won’t believe a word of it.
Articulate Marketing did a good job with the claims they make across their homepage. They are all verifiable and can be backed up by research. And while they don’t promise you the moon at any point, their copywriting is still very much conversion-oriented.
Consider these web copywriting fundamentals when you next sit down to write, and you’ll notice how much more engagement your content is seeing. And where there’s engagement, conversions won’t be far behind.