We’ve all had those moments where we wish we could turn back time and rewrite a conversation. You bump into an ex in the grocery store, turn beet red and awkwardly mumble hello. Then you get the hell out of there.
Later, in the car, the perfect joke or casual quip comes to mind and you wish you could bump into them all over again. This time you’d say something less along the lines of “Uh, hi, yeah, so how’ve you been?” and more along the lines of “Gosh, you look familiar but I can’t quite remember the name…?”
But life doesn’t always offer you the opportunity to edit. To tweak. That’s the bad news.
The good news? Online marketing does!
Every day, every hour, brings endless opportunities for a “do over.” If a line of copy isn’t bringing you the results you want, there’s nothing to prevent you from changing it on the fly and watching to see if you get better results.
You can’t do that with real life, with print, with TV or radio. Once that stuff is out there, it’s out there for good, as is. But online you can tweak as you go. This is the miracle of the Internet.
Or should I say – the great, unappreciated, underused miracle. Because so few of us take the time to monitor how copy is performing, let alone take the time to tweak and improve it. We’re just “too busy.”
Which is total hogwash. Saying you’re too busy to tweak and improve your copy is like saying you’re too busy to go to the bank to deposit your checks. Or too busy to fix the broken code on your shopping cart that’s preventing your customers from placing an order.
Did you know that if you don’t spend time tweaking your copy that you might be leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t take the time to test and tweak your copy!
Here are just few areas you should always be testing and tweaking:
6 Ways to Perfect Your Copy
1.Before/After Sale Prices
When you offer a discount or run a sale, test how you communicate it. “30% off!” language might be the most obvious but does it convert better when you do regular vs. sale pricing?
Should you say something is “30% off” or should you instead be saying “$70 sale price (Regular $100)”?
Many shoppers like their sales spelled out for them a bit. Experiment with giving your “sales”-related web or ad copy some context for your customers. See which “sounds like a better deal” to them and causes them to jump on that sale and buy now!
2. Email Capture Language
When you are penning your opt-in form, you are probably focusing on how best to describe what the customer is going to get.
You may get caught up in all the awesomeness you are going to bestow upon your customers…if only they would sign up. The newsletters! The coupons! The insightful, life changing content!
But don’t forget to reassure them too. No matter how great your content or coupons are, if someone is naturally squirrelly about giving away their email address, they still may not bite.
Play with adding a subtle but clear “We will guard your email address with our lives” promise somewhere near the email field itself. And from there, tweak it further. Try more casual, personable language like “We hate junk mail, too! We’d never sell your email address. Promise!” and see if your subscriptions go up or down.
(Note: Never use the word spam anywhere around your email form. Studies have proven that the term spam, even used in a “We hate it too!” way, reduces signups. Don’t bother testing that one. I just saved you the trouble.)
3. Funner Form Fillers
Show me a person who says they love filling out forms and I’ll show you a liar. No one loves the laborious task of filling in First Name, Last Name, Street Address, etc.
You can tell that I personally loathe the necessary evil that is filling out lengthy forms online. So do what you can to make them more interesting and less painful for your customers. Test out what wrapping a narrative around it can do to your completion rates. Instead of First Name, Last Name, Street Address boxes stacked one on top of the other, play with a “mad lib” kind of format.
“Yes, please send me the Pool Cleaning Tips Newsletter. My name is X and I live at X in the town of X. Or you can call me at XXX.”
The idea is to make any changes necessary to increase filled out forms.
Again, it all depends on your audience. This format may turn off the more traditional, ‘old school’ subscribers. Or it may skyrocket your sign ups. You’ll never know until you test and tweak.
4. The F Word
The word free can be a powerful motivator. Test what it can do when you sneak it next to buttons, or even IN button text. Find out which works better for your customers: the button that says “Sign Me Up” or the button text that says “Sign Me Up For My Free eBook”?
Which performs better – “Buy Now” or “Get The 30 Day Free Trial”?
You could spend a whole month just watching what sprinkling the word free (where relevant, of course) all over your site can do to your conversion and subscription rates.
5. Reverse Psych
It sounds crazy and maybe even a little childish, but some studies have shown that using the “Don’t Click This Button” kind of language actually increases clicks! If someone tells you not to do something, even if you see right through the ruse, there still is a strong compulsion to do it anyway. Call it the Rebel Finger.
But then again, this could be a risky tactic. Which is why you need to test it. In front of the wrong customer base, saying “Whatever you do, don’t click here” or “Only click here if you aren’t lazy” can turn them off. They may resent being manipulated.
But if such playful language is in keeping with your brand, and the rest of your casual, fun copy on your page, maybe experimenting with it isn’t a bad idea.
You’ll never know until you test, right?
6. Is Less More?
Anyone who’s been marketing online for more than a few years will know there is an age-old debate whether shorter copy is more impactful, or if customers really do want that long form sales letter any more.
Traditional online marketers will say yes. Why not take the time to really spread out and explain all the benefits of your product and to overcome all the possible objections?
But sales letters were only de rigueur back in the days before online video. Now, if customers want a lot of information about you and your company they might expect it in a video format that they can watch vs. just simply reading.
So – overall – play with paring your copy down. Way down. If you absolutely must keep the word count high, consider breaking it up into shorter blocks of text that your reader can auto-jump to or hit the “Next” button to pull up.
Clobbering your reader with an endlessly scrolling page of copy could exhaust them before they even have time to read it. So keep it simple, short, to the point where you can.
Or, run a split test and let the reader decide.
How about you? Have you ever tested a word or two and found stunning results? In either an upward or downward direction? Any examples of fabulous copy that has caught your eye and compelled you to act in the past? Share here in the comments.
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