“How do I increase my conversion rate? What exactly compels people to take action?”
This thought gets any serious marketer, salesperson or entrepreneur up at night. Yet the remedy may be so simple yet overlooked!
There are three follow-up questions that are critical to any campaign. And I would personally argue all three must be answered satisfactorily in order to generate a solid conversion rate.
In fact, they can (and should) be used in any type of copy (email, advertisement, chatbots, sales letters, etc.) and in any part of it (headline, subheading, body, close, etc.).
Treat these questions like mantras. That’s how important they are.
Because no matter how informative your content is, or how much money you have as marketing budget, or how catchy your punchlines are, or how good your product is…
These three questions are at the very heart of business. They form the principles of influence. Ignore them at your own risk.
So let’s unveil those three questions and dissect the deeper meanings behind them.
For a question with only five words, it already introduces a lot of concepts. However, we can split them into two overarching categories. One under “What’s In It” and another under “For Me”. Let’s start with the second one.
This is the very first step in any copywriting project. You cannot frame your offer or write the right words without knowing your audience at heart. And that ultimately means low conversion rates. Do whatever it takes to get into their shoes—even to the point of interviewing some of them.
For starters, determine two basic metrics of your audience.
Demographics, such as age range, sex and gender, nationality, language (including inside jokes and group-specific wording), profession and so forth.
Psychographics, such as beliefs and habits.
These are not enough, however. We must carefully note the desires they want to fulfill and the pains they want to avoid. And it is not enough to list just any pain or desire we find. It’s important to delve deeper into their innermost desires and utmost pains. More on this in the next section…
“Wait. I thought benefits are more important than features?”
As a guiding rule, you are right. After all, benefits are results-oriented statements that touch the ego, pains, and desires of your customer.
But why revisit features?
You’ll always want to stand out of the competition. This is a key focus when you’re promoting your product.
Depending how sophisticated your market is, it’s almost always necessary to present the underlying mechanisms behind your customer’s problem, as well as your product. This shows your market how well you know your niche and how unique your product is.
This is not to say we’re explicitly presenting the product’s features in the copy. Instead, what we’re specifically looking for in our features is the mechanism behind their problem and your solution. Presenting them helps establish your authority in the market and helps justify your offer.
Note mechanisms are especially important when writing longer copy like those found in sales pages and sales letters.
But how do we effectively write benefits using these mechanisms? The next section will tell you how…
Whereas “What’s In It For Me” helps reveal the information you need about your customers, “So What” is the tool that agitates them.
One trick that has helped me is to answer “So What” with “So That”. I repeat this pattern as many times as I could until I reach the core rationale behind the purchase.
But to make it even easier, I’m listing “three angles” that help you answer “So What” questions more effectively. Let’s start with the most obvious one.
Obviously, you’ll want to lay out how the customer benefits from your product. But even if this is the most basic of all angles, you should adopt a degree of depth and specificity.
Some marketers only state the overall benefit of the entire product. But in today’s very sophisticated market, there’s a need to stand out. There’s also a demand for more specific solutions for specific problems.
That's why the mechanism plays a central role in laying out the benefit.
A workable formula can be written in this way:
“Why don’t some people achieve [general benefit]? One reason is because [specific problem mechanism]. But with [specific/unique product mechanism], this gives you [specific benefit], which can then [general benefit].”
Let specificity increase your conversion rate. Specific is more.
Of course, you can list the general benefits to introduce your product or to summarize it in your sales letter. There’s also no problem doing this in shorter copy like those usually found in Facebook ads and in emails. (Or you can just talk about a couple of them.) I’m only suggesting that mechanisms help you stand out.
After this level, you’ll want to ask “So What” one more time to get to an even more important angle…
It’s not enough to talk about the direct benefit of your product. To justify the value of our product, you’ll want to explain how it fits into the customer’s life. You have to paint a picture for your customer.
When digging into your customer’s inner psyche, it’s usually more effective to sell with pain. This is because humans tend avoid loss more than to make gain. Loss aversion is an effective tool, so write what they could lose or endure if they didn’t take action—both in product-specific terms and in life-in-general terms.
Surface level pains are those problems which your product directly addresses. We’ve already covered this in the previous angle. However, it’s equally important (if not more so) to uncover the personal pains and secret desires behind the problem.
For example, if you’re selling a Corvette to younger men, the surface level benefit they’re getting is, say, the aesthetics of the car. On a deeper level, they’re probably seeking social status. And perhaps on an extremely personal level, they want to be more attractive to the opposite sex.
(To identify which emotions sell best, you can read this article.)
By “objections”, I literally mean those, as well as FAQs regarding your product or company.
Preempting potential objections helps increase conversions for two reasons. First, it tells the customer that you understand their concerns and your product very well. Second, because of that, you gain a stronger position when selling your product. As a result, customers feel more confident about your product.
This angle is more useful for audiences who already know about you and your product, but are “in the fence” because they need to fill some information gaps. (For more information on Market Awareness Levels, you can read Eugene Schwartz’s iconic book, Breakthrough Advertising.) In a way, objection angles help “save the business”.
There's no question attention is the currency of the day. However, trust is another form of currency that's equally important. Attention plus trust equals high-converting copy.
People have been lied to, scammed, and unfairly treated by other companies. And with so much information roaming around nowadays, customers are more skeptical than ever.
You might have written extremely informative, crystal-clear content designed to help your customers. But for some reason, fear and confusion still loom, so your conversion rate isn't enough. So how do we build more trust from our customers?
You’ll want to talk from a very personal level. As a general rule, write as if you’re writing to your best friend. After all, it’s easier to buy from a friend than buying the same thing from a company.
If you’re writing on behalf of someone else, you should adopt their tone of voice into your writing. This is because their way of speaking is what resonates with their ideal audience. For example, if your client speaks with finesse, adopt a tone of finesse in your writing. On the other hand, if they speak with a stronger, more blunt tone, follow accordingly.
People buy from people; not from companies. Never been seen as a faceless entity.
Demonstrations are very effective when building trust. The reasoning behind this is straightforward. If your customers don’t know the product experience yet, they’ll literally have a sample of what it’s like during the demonstration.
If this is not possible, copywriters can describe the experience. Other than images and videos, they can employ either a literal description of it, or compare it with a metaphor (if the product experience remains unheard-of in the market).
Either way, what helps build trust is to clearly convey the experience by giving them some sort of “sneak-peek”.
Social credibility is also a key factor when building trust. You can show customer testimonials highlighting the benefits after taking your product. The more, the merrier. Overwhelm your audience with testimonials to show them your product really works!
Another effective method to strengthen your social credibility is familiarity. There’s no wonder why personal connections (such as family and friends) greatly increase the chances of purchase. However, familiarity can also be extended to celebrities—particularly those that are relevant in your niche. This is simply because people are more familiar with more popular people.
This is further solidified when authority figures in your niche back up your claims. Consider inviting an expert in your field who can attest to your product’s results. If that’s not yet possible, scientific findings and other empirical evidence will do.
Lastly, for more skeptical customers, find ways to maximize gains and minimize costs. Consider including as much bonuses as you can into your offer. This will increase its perceived value and further justify the price.
Write a strong, irresistible guarantee. Also ensure they get the support they need as they purchase your product. These will convey that you’re taking all the weight off their shoulders and putting them onto yours.
To summarize, the three very fundamental questions that help secure those conversions are:
“What’s In It For Me,” which reminds you to know your customer and your product well;
“So What,” which reminds you to fit your product’s benefits to your customer’s life; and
“Can I Trust You,” which reminds you to place your customer’s burden onto yours.
People buy not because they understand what you’re selling. They buy because they feel understood.
As such, these questions help place the customer at the heart of your business. No wonder why it's what determines the conversion rate of your marketing campaign.
Perhaps you already have good content and a good knowledge of your target audience. A professional copywriter is the person who will repackage your data into words that sell. Consider hiring one and make your conversion rate soar!
Adrian is a copywriter, closer and an aspiring consultant. He's also an international poet and an essayist, his writing background is very diverse, having both a creative and an analytical edge. He is now honing his copywriting skills while traveling around the world.Hire Adrian