But first, does your web copy even lift? Lift is a term coined by the advertising world, and it simply means the ROI on a strategy or an uptick in copy conversions. So how do you make sure your words hit (or lift) on your customer’s screen? Here are 10 ways to make sure your content is doing all the heavy lifting:
1. Check For Readability
Read it. No. Like literally read that shit. Out loud. For all you and your vintage Lacoste to hear. It’s “an age-old trick” and it works. You’re looking for two things:
- #Awkward — if your copy sounds awkward out loud, it needs work.
- As you read, be on the lookout for any spots where you trip or double-take.
This is a sign that you need to be clearer. Your copy is rough (#draft) until it’s concise. You don’t want to dumb it down. I hate that phrase. Your goal is to smarten it up. Any concept (whether accounting, physics, or Beyonce’s skin routine) that you can explain, and invoke emotion in a 6th or 7th-grade reading level, is pure genius. You want to cancel sentences that are hard to read and any instances of passive (wishy-washy) voice. Your audience literally has no time for that. Make it quick. Make it easy. And say it with your chest.
Hack Tea: Hemingway is a great tool for measuring readability (a sneak peek on how it works on my How To Slay Copy Basics Like A Boss, p.13)
2. “What’s that got do with me?”
In other words, what’s in it for them. You only have a few seconds to connect with potential customers on your home page. They put you or your niche into their little search bar and found you. Boom, goal #1 accomplished. Now, it’s time to lay on all the feels. Let them know that you feel their pain and you’re here to help. The name of the game is: know, like, and trust. Make your visitors feel welcomed.
Tip: Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Observe your own process when shopping for something online. Your customer came to your site for a solution. And you have it — somewhere… Show off your core services or products, right then & there, on your homepage. Don’t be shy! And don’t forget to outline those fits — benefits.
3. The Rule of One.
Trust me. You don’t want to be a player no more. At least not when it comes to copy. Please tell me you’re old enough to know who Big Pun is — ugh, never mind. The most effective way to write concise, compelling copy is to write your copy as if you’re talking to one person. Imagine you’re at a bar, with your bae or bestie. How would you talk to that person about what you do? What words would you use? What questions do you think the person would ask? What would your answers be? Do a little role-playing if it helps. Shit, do it out loud in front of your mirror and record it. Listen back or have it transcribed (just google ‘free transcribe apps’, there’s plenty).
Is there a website or three that totally gets you? Ask yourself why and take notes. And leverage the f&*k out of those strategies on your own site. Not sure why the site gives you all the feels? Send us that bad boy and we’ll pick it apart for you LIVE on the next training.
4. Keep Your Headlines Short
Honestly, headlines might be more important than your copy. At least at first glance. Your headline has only a second or two to entice people to read more. Confuse them or get to clever — and your customer is on to the next. Try to keep your headlines down to seven words or less. And nothing too clever. Just straight facts.
Hack Tea: No clue where to start with your headline. Try Tweak Your Biz’ Title Generator. Enter your subject, and it will create dozens of options you can use or modify. Another good one is this headline tester: Headline Analyzer.
You can always test and make a list of your most successful headline formulas for your audience with your good friend A|B testing. (more about that later)
5. CTA, CTA, CTA! Action!
No, not the Chicago Transit Authority. Call -To- Action, baby! You can have the most perfect web copy in the world, but if it doesn’t contain a call to action, what’s the point? That call to action is what tells readers what you want them to do next, like “get in touch” or “sign up for 10% off.”And yes, each piece of content or page should have a call-to-action. From your About Us page down to your social media post. Your call to action should engage your ideal client with value and also create some sense of urgency (now, today, asap, etc.).
Your CTA should also be really specific. CTAs are not the time to get all cute. And it should relate to what the reader is reading. The lead-up should feel natural. For each page of web copy, you want to ask yourself: What’s the one action I want my peeps to take? And stick to just one or you’ll confuse them. Maybe on your home page that one action is to sign up for your email list. On your service page, it might be to schedule a discovery call or fill out a form.
6. Test, Test, Test (A | B Testing)
Maybe the only time when failing a test might just be good news. I mean you could just guess about the wording that resonates the most. Or….you could actually test your copy and see what you’re what visitors like (or just can’t even).Test. Everything. It doesn’t matter if you have the best copywriter in the world on your team. If your audience doesn’t live for it, then it doesn’t matter. Now for the best results, you’ll need one of two things:
- A decent — aka Fenty sold out at Sephora — type traffic or…
- A fan base that you engage with on the regs
Simply run one version of copy for a week or two. Don’t set it and forget it tho. Like that tragic time I tried to boil my own waist training tea — while chilling on the couch — as an episode of GoT watched me (#dracarys). Make sure to set up some time to measure the results. Next, run the other set of copy and compare the two. The one with better results wins. Now playing with the copy doesn’t have to mean re-writing a whole new bunch of content (but it may if you rule out the next few). You may want to just switch up the headlines, swap out opening paragraphs, and even try different color fonts, emojis, bullet points or buttons. This is major tho: Make sure to change one thing at a time with your testing so you know which tweak changed results. Test too many tweaks at once and you’ll have no clue wtf works or doesn’t.
Hack Tea: Want some software that can A/B test for you, check out Optimizely, or Usertesting.com — caution, can be addictive, so use sparingly.
7. Become BFFs With Keywords
You don’t have to hire your bae’s cousin on Fiverr to harvest your SEO copy. You just need to get familiar with your niche or industry keywords. The right keywords will determine what kind of traffic your website gets. There are a few google chrome extensions out there that will do this for you. I use the Keywords Everywhere plug-in. Literally, every site you visit it breaks down the google analytics for you on the right-hand side of the search engine. Eliminates the time I waste playing myself that I’ll check google analytics every month or for each blog post. Listen don’t drive yourself crazy about keywords and SEO but do make it easy for people to find you.
HACK TEA: Your keyword formula should take these Q’s into consideration:
- How related is the keyword to your business? Keep it real with yourself. Does the keyword fit the vibe, or is it a real stretch?
- How many people search for that particular keyword each month? Where are the receipts? No, or low search. Then that keyword isn’t worth the space.
- What’s the goal for each keyword imply? OK. A search for “what goal hacks work for creating the life you love” means the person is only looking for info at this point. A search for the “best goal tracker” means the person is looking for something to buy, or download and is further along in the customer buying journey than the first example.
- How competitive is the keyword? In other words, find low competition keywords that your website has a chance of ranking for. You’re not going to beat the big names in the ‘Search Engine Results Pages’ (SERPs). Start low and slow. When you dominate that keyword you can move on to another low or mid-level category. The most important thing is to direct people to your website whenever you can and cross-promote. SEO is helpful but you still have to do the footwork.
8. Use Everyday Words
Have you ever read web copy or any sentence, that you had to re-read? Leave you stuck on “what”? Or made you squint all stupid cause the lingo was just way over your head? Umm, yea like every contract ever. We touched upon this in readability so I’m not gonna go on about it for days. But keep the verbiage real middle school. Those jerks in 7th to 9th grade know where it’s at. You are not here to impress people with your industry know-how and big af words. You are here to get read, turn heads, and get these buttons clicked — and quickly.
9. Give less f*#ks. More strong verbs.
No one loves exclamation points than me. I don’t think I’ve ever sent a text without one. But sometimes I have to put my hype to the side for the sake of my (or my client’s) business. You definitely want to keep good energy throughout your copy. But you don’t want to seem phony — or even worse — like you’re screaming at everyone, all the time. You want to give the feels, but still come off as a pro. Instead of punctuation, swap out weak verbs, and dull adjectives — for strong verbs. Words and verbs that paint a picture.
Find other ways to spread the love or urgency through your copy. Try triggers. No, not an eff bomb. More like bolds and italics.
Hack Tea: Here are some places you can look to spice up your copy life: The Emotional Thesaurus is exactly what it sounds like, but it’s a book. So if you’re in a rush, I suggest downloading the power thesaurus plugin. Super clutch and it sits in your toolbar just staring at you, waiting for you to upgrade your word life.
10. Tell us a story
Storytelling is the best way to connect with readers. Even if you’re relaying information about your products or services, there’s a way to do it with a bit of a story. Nothing works better than making a connection with a juicy or inspiring story. After you’ve got them wanting more, focus your energy on your product, service, blog post, email, or whatever. Try sprinkling stories or tidbits throughout your website. You could include a story about how or why you launched your business. Or use them to talk about how you’ve got results for clients. Alright, that’s it. Hope all these steps take the edge off writing your own web copy. Remember your content should be clear and targeted. There’s no magic word count and less isn’t always more. Say as much as you need to say to get to the right people.
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