A lot goes into conversion copywriting. There’s voice of customer research, brand voice development, persuasion and psychology, a clear value proposition, positioning statements, direct response techniques… and more. But if you’re not a trained copywriter, don’t have any interest in becoming one, and don’t have the budget yet to outsource this aspect of your marketing, advertising, and sales, here’s a quick fix for you: Spruce up your messaging with psychologically proven words.
Nothing disappoints me more than copy that reads:
“We offer quality service. Choose from one of our personalized options to get started!”
No, thank you. I won’t be buying this time.
Conversion copywriting is interesting, but clear. It’s descriptive, tells stories clearly walking the reader from point A to B, uses proven formulas, and words that convert. What are words that convert? There’s a whole list of them in a popular copywriting book, Words That Sell by Richard Bayan.* When strategically placed to engage your audience, painting the picture of what their life will look like if they purchase your product or service, they work a whole lot better than saying your service is “quality and personalized.”
*Psst… check out my Amazon shop to grab your copy and browse my other favourite reads. This is an affiliate link, but there’s no extra charge for you.
As a copywriter, one of the most useful books I’ve ever purchased is Words That Sell. It’s full of lists of words to use in different instances, and all these words are meant to encourage emotion or action. After picking this book up the other day, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite words here.
Before diving into the words that convert though, I want to explain a bit about my writing process when writing effective copy for my clients. A full project includes research, strategy, writing, and editing. It’s collaborative between my copy skills and their expertise about the ins and outs of their business, resulting in copy that actually works for them.
I love doing research, so I go pretty deep. I’ll listen to (if they’ve already been completed) or conduct customer interviews, research the industry, their market, any direct competitors. I call this my “cyber-stalking phase” where I gather as much information as possible about anything and everything to do with my clients.
Next, I create a strategy that summarizes all my research into a clear plan for the client. To outline a strategy, we need to know the foundations of the business. What are their goals? What are their mission, vision, and values? Why do they do what they do? Who is their ideal customer? What makes this business unique? Why should their ideal customer pay attention? What’s the value proposition?
We can’t write copy that is engaging for their ideal audience unless we know who their audience is and exactly how they solve a problem in a unique way.
From there, I brainstorm the creative themes we can weave throughout the copy to make it read less obviously salesy and more like a story. Every business has a story of interest if we figure out just how to tell it. Big ideas are those amazing ones that bring in sales for years to come because they’re just so good. They’re memorable, unique (everything has to be unique), and timely.
I present all this in a formal strategy document to my clients so they understand the direction for their messaging, and know exactly what to expect from the finished copy.
With the strategy approval, I start writing copy that converts for my clients because I truly want each of them to reach their business goals. I want my words to put in work for them. No fluff. Nothing unnecessarily flowery. Copy is more of a science than an art, which is pretty neat if you ask a creative type like me.
This might be where you’re at if you want to DIY website copy, for example. You might be wondering how to take meh copy and transform it into effective copy that captures the attention of your readers and encourages them to act. This is where Words That Sell comes in… Use the following examples to spruce up your copy.
This book has hundreds of words that you can use as alternatives to common (ahem—overused and boring) ones. The following is literally just a small snippet of some of my favourites. I highly recommend picking up this book for yourself if you want to improve your copywriting skills.
Instead of results
Say: effective, efficient, productive, powerful, produces, delivers, boosts, tackles, rejuvenates
If you’re reliable
Say: authoritative, dependable, faithful, trusted, steady, secure
Instead of self-improvement
Say: self-empowerment, life-enriching, personal growth, wisdom, fulfillment, harmony, limitless opportunities, up level, refine, magnify, refresh, grow
If you want to say sophisticated
Say: polished, refined, elegant, worldly, articulate, eloquent, perceptive
To encourage action
Say: free, discount, no obligation, tell us, let us show you, boost, change your life, save, because
Mixing up the words you use keeps people reading because your copy sounds a little less like everything else out there.
And one last thing—the word “you” is probably the most powerful one to add to your toolbox. Speak directly to your audience if you want them to act.
Want to improve your copywriting skills so you can write copy that converts and helps you grow your business online? Check out my free 4-day online course: 4 Steps to Profit. Enroll now!
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