Growth October 18, 2019

7 practical ways to write copy that converts

Harry Dry @harrydry

1) Use value-based messaging

Talk less about your product and more about the value your product brings. People don’t want a better toothbrush. They want a brighter smile:

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2) Get specific

Landing page copy is full of unfalsifiable, blanket claims: “more, easier, faster ...” If you want to stand out get specific. You can’t bullshit specifics:

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3) Call out the type of customer you serve

People pay attention when they know something is specifically for them:

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“What? Loads of authors are using this. I’m an author. Maybe I should be too ...”

4) Think “Call-to-value” not “Call-to-action”

Buttons which amplify “value” over “action” usually perform better. “Create Your Website” is more enticing than “Sign up now”:

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5) Write for one reader

You're not talking to 1000 people. You're talking to the single person reading your page. So write like it.

An informal tone and addressing your users personally (“you”) makes a big difference:

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6) Break long blocks of text into appetising chunks

Better converting copy is as much about repackaging as it is rewriting.

The 2019 human mind prefers “3 simple steps” to “two long paragraphs”:

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7) Use your customers' voice

Your copy should read like your customer wrote it.

Compare the feature page of Etsy and Amazon Handmade (two competitors in the handcrafted e-commerce space):

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Etsy's voice reflects their customers independence, creativity and imagination. Amazon’s voice sounds like their accounts department!

Thanks for reading. I'm not going to lie these took a while to put together! If you find this sort of thing useful, I write 2 marketing case studies every week over on Marketing Examples and also post quick marketing tips on Twitter. Any questions, I'll be in the comments.

Also, big thanks to @louisswiss, @stephsmith and @pauldmet who helped with these ideas.

  1. 5

    Absolutely loved this as usual! Fantastic, and actionable advice with proper examples -- you're killing this stuff Harry! And, you've given me a bunch to think about for Leave Me Alone since I'm currently creating some new landing pages because of your last post on competitor landing pages :)

    I reckon you should offer an advice/roasting service too hah! I might not be Glaswegian, but I can take a roasting, what's your 5 minute brain dump on Leave Me Alone?

    Keep up the awesome, awesome work!

    1. 3

      Thank you Danielle! Very kind.

      I don't have as much to say about Leave Me Alone. I actually don't think the landing page needs much done (and would focus a lot of ways of getting the word out there).

      So all this answer is focused on your pricing. In my opinion the pricing just seems really overcomplicated (and also like your selling yourself short).

      Took me about 30 seconds to work it all out. My mind was trying to process the credit system, the $6.00 per seat additional charge, the 5 free credits. And I was thinking so if I've only got 5 emails i want to unsubscribe from that's free. And then even if I wanted to unsubscribe from 100 emails that would just be $4.50. Just seems like your capping yourself and also not allowing any recurring revenue to accumulate.

      The question is what % of your users have spent > $8. I imagine it's really low. What I would do is completely get rid of the credit system and just say $5 / mo for unlimited unsubscribes. And the sell would be that you never have to worry about unsubscribing from emails again.

      Obviously that's considerably more expensive. But your price point just seems so low at this stage. And I think it's because you're framing it in the wrong terms.

      You are pricing yourself per unsubscribe. Now that's one way of looking at the problem, but it's the way which makes your product look really cheap: $0.05 per unsubscribe.

      Instead frame it like this: We're solving the problem of loads of annoying emails building up. And the price is just $5 / mo to solve this problem. So just stop talking in per unsubscribe terms.

      It all comes down to your LTV atm. And I'm not talking so much about your team account (which seems to have an MRR aspect built in) and is more what I'm advocating.

      Ok, although less sales. The LTV of your customer would go from (I'm guessing) around $1 to around $30 (assuming people don't churn straight away). Obviously I don't have all the information. What's the split of revenue which comes from team / individual atm? And what's the customer split?

      The other benefit if you're offering would be much simpler. People don't mind paying a solid amount to solve a problem. I could be wrong here. Obviously check out what your competitors are doing.

      1. 1

        Jumping in :)

        I don't have the complete stats, but I do have a lot. Currently revenue is 93% from individuals (~$100 of $1500 earned last month was subscriptions). Average revenue per user (including free users) is $0.69, and the average payment we took last month was $8.15.

        So most users that do pay go for the $8.00 - $10.50 options, and basically zero are organically interested in our subscription model (most were direct sales).

        At the surface this probably tells me we need to work on conversion for our individual users, but the conversion rate free -> paid is around 10%, which seems pretty high.

        LTV is a hard one. A good % (guessing based on stripe data) of users who buy a small package (<$4.50), buy another one within the same session. Which tells me the value add of our packages is probably pretty good. But we are kind of selling a one-off product, whereby if we do our job well, you won't need to use it for a while, which puts us on the back foot when it comes to demonstrating LTV.

        Competitors are all free 🙅‍♀️

        1. 1

          Average as in Mode?

          "We're kind of selling a one-off product" - That's my point. You are selling it like a one of product. But it doesn't have to be. You could just sell it as a monthly product - "We solve the problem of loads of annoying emails building up. And the price is just $5 / mo to solve this problem."

          In my opinion zero are interested in subscription (that's just team right) because of how much better value the individual one is. Why would I want a monthly subscription when I can just pay $8.00 for 200 emails. That's more than I'll ever need. That's how I certainly think.

          Whereas if you abolished the credit system and just went for monthly packages ... then people would just think it was normal.

          Manual sell Erectile Dysfunction pills on monthly subscription. That's the only option. So everyone buys them on monthly subscription. People don't question it.

          If they adopted your pricing they'd say, you can get all the pills you'll need upfront in one go. And they'd cap their money

          Competitors being free is a bit annoying. You know much more about the business / market than me, but just in terms of getting the most revenue out of your customers I don't think $4.50 for more unsubscribes than I'd ever need is the best way of maximising revenue. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm right. Another option might just be raising the prices of all tiers.

          But I wouldn't think subscription is low atm, and therefore subscriptions wouldn't work. It's because your individual prices are clearly superior value. Why would I want to pay monthly when I can get more than I'd ever need for $8.00.

  2. 3

    Beautifully laid out! Thanks for the tag and keep killin' it. 🤜🤛

    1. 1

      Gracias. Cheers Steph. Thanks for the Hustle tip. Completed the set

  3. 3

    This was fantastic! Copywriting is something I really want to buckle down on and start learning. I'm not sure where to start to be honest, but Marketing Examples seems like a good start.

    1. 2

      Thanks a lot Jamal! I haven't actually got too much stuff written on copywriting actually. This was my first case study on the topic.

      In writing this article I must have read about 50 different copywriting blogs and this one by Annie Maguire was the best one I found!

      From Marketing Examples specifically I'd say:

      CD Baby's Confirmation Email
      Jason Cohen's cold email

      are some examples of very well written smart copy!

      1. 1

        Thanks Harry - I'll check them out :)

  4. 3

    Great article as usual Harry!

    What tool do you use for images? They look great

    1. 1

      Cheers Luqa. Appreciate that. And I use Sketch! Got one huge file with all the arrows and stuff bit up since I started!

      1. 1

        Thanks Harry!

  5. 3

    Good advice and examples. It's the simplest changes that can make the difference to what resonates with your audience.

    1. 5

      Totally agree. Copy is very underrated. For example for the title of my twitter thread on this topic

      I was going to title it: "7 conversion copywriting tips". That's what I thought the best title was. But I decided to run a poll to see what other people though. And lo and behold:

      alt text

      I was completely wrong. My title performed worst by miles and if I went with my original title it would have probably got half as much engagement.

      Copywriting really does matter. And I'd say asking friends / polls is the way forward. A/B tests requires lots of traffic which few companies have.

  6. 2

    Respect your marketing savvy a lot @harrydry - any chance of a quick review of SongBox?

    https://songbox.rocks

    1. 3

      You're from where near where Kevin Bridges grew up so let's do it. I'm just gonna write stream of consciousness for a few minutes so take with a pinch of salt:

      TLDR => Read through @louisswiss's Landing Page Checklist. And just make sure you're doing all those things. Cause at the moment you're not!

      1. No social media on your website?! For any random consumer facing site you'd expect social to drive 10% - 50% of traffic. So I just think you're missing a big trick here. Create some kind of original spin and get on Instagram / Twitter etc .... The trick is create an account people actually want to follow. Think of stuff like NoContextHearn, MarketingExamples, NavalBot etc ... Just awesome accounts which have taken off from nothing.

      2. Being honest I'm pretty confused by the value proposition. I don't really see how it's any different to sharing an mp3 over facebook messanger / wats app. I'm sure you are solving a real problem. But what is it? And convey that to me on the landing page.

      3. I think the "Awesome Insights" section is nice. But could be done much better. It honestly confuses me having just looked at it for the first time. I don't really understand what a Songbox is? Could you show a visual example of that. The photo on the landing page tells me nothing about the product?

      4. Finally, finally ... please please get some social proof on there. Real people using song box to solve real problems.

      5. And finally I think your music site is for everybody and that also kind of means it's for nobody! Reason why my Yeezy Dating idea took off was cause it was targeted at a niche. Same with @diannamallen's Budget Meal Planner. I've wrote a longer article about this. But honestly, I think that's the main stumbling block you've got. Marketing is 10x easier if you're serving a niche. There's watering holes you can go to and dine out on. Now I've just got to the bottom of your page. And ok, it looks like you've got a wide range of customers. Call centers, musicians etc ... If there are many use cases make a page for each so you can better rank in Google for these terms perhaps

      Ok, I've tried. Not my best advice. Sorry to come across harsh. But your Glaswegian I'm sure you can take it. And good luck. At the end of the day it's all hard work, so just put it in and you can do it!

      1. 3

        Haha this is awesome. I will get back to you in more detail but just wanted to say I've met Kevin bridges a handful of times lol.

        1. 1

          Haha! That's awesome. Where did you meet him?

          I'm a big fan. Saw his last two tours live. One in Newcastle and one in London. Funny mfer.

          This clip about him buying / renting a horse in Bulgaria is good stuff

          1. 1

            I've met him in a pub before... that was about maybe... 6 years ago. And more recently I've seen him a few times near where I live. He keeps his boat moored at a place where I am also a member. I don't have a boat, but I'm a member at this same place for other reasons (gym, spa etc).

            1. 1

              ah nice

      2. 1

        So to cover some stuff you mentioned.

        1. You said SongBox is for everyone and I should specify. I think you must have missed it but the one of the first things on the page, in bold, is "Made for music creators" - do you reckon that's not specific enough?

        2. Social proof - I've now added this based on your recommendation.

        3. I'm going to work on the "insights" section and a better explanation of what a songbox actually is.

        4. I'm also working on blog content. Once I have that I will start to share it etc and hopefully it will increase organic search (which is already pretty decent for terms like "share music privately" etc).

        Thanks so much. You've given me food for thought.

        1. 2
          1. Yeah I did see this. I think all the stuff about education / call centres dilutes your message a bit. Imagine if Soundcloud said, "Oh btw, we're also for call centers". They'd lose a bit of street cred.

          2. Just saw. An big improvement. But I really want to see a real human face. Even if it's yours / your brothers / cousins. I still think it needs to be brought to life

          3/4 Both sounds good. Good luck.

  7. 2

    Harry as always giving very valuable advice. I can highly recommend his email list! One of the only ones that has real value.

    1. 1

      Very very lovely comment. Thank you Nadav!

  8. 2

    Super - going to review my copy with these suggestions in mind!

    1. 1

      Cheers John! Appreciated

  9. 1

    Great advice @harrydry. Already your content is working wonders on me. You got yourself a new follower. Will definitely have this in mind for my copy.

  10. 1

    Thnx for sharing. Hope there was a save button for this post.

  11. 1

    this is amazing Harry! Thanks

    1. 2

      Cheers Ali!

  12. 3

    This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

    1. 2

      Haha! These are some good fundamentals. By every landing page is contextual so don't worry about not following them.

      On your own landing page I do think your header text could be a bit sharper and snappier. Regards to your buttons, I'd perhaps put the "Get started" button as fixed in the header (so people can get started from anywhere) but maybe introduce another button which is a bit more value-y!

      I'd also perhaps turn the "Check in Daily" + "Stay informed" into a snappier 1,2,3 section.
      Nice idea though. This line probably speaks to me most, "We make it easy to keep mindful of your mental health." from all your copy :)