Expert Copywriting Strategies for Crazy Conversions

Expert Content ResourcesLast week, we shared several evergreen resources for creating conversions-driving content that featured copywriting formulas and how-tos for crafting compelling headlines and email subject lines.

Today, we follow up with expert strategies, tips and tools for writing persuasive web copy, including home and landing pages, as well as engaging, shareable blogs and articles. We also share some great resources for content promotion.

Writing Powerful & Persuasive Website Copy

How to Create Landing Pages That Convert

By Kiera Abbamonte via Kissmetrics

Describing how a manufacturing company increased their conversion rate by a whopping 1250 percent, Kiera Abbamonte credits their landing page redesign.

Specifically, she writes, the company switched out a crowded, confusing web page for a landing page that adhered to “four basic tenets”: doing one thing really well by giving visitors only one option; using visual elements to guide viewers’ eyes to the call-to-action; being reasonable about the amount of information requested of visitors; and finally, focusing on the benefits customers will receive.

Abbamonte lists what should and should not be included on a landing page, as well as a number of best practices. She then offers examples of what successful landing pages look like. Definitely a keeper!

A Practical Marketers Guide to Writing for Conversion

By Joanna Wiebe via Unbounce

If you want to write great copy, swipe it from your visitors, customers and prospects…” writes Joanna Wiebe. The more your website’s home and landing page messages reflect what your customers are thinking, feeling and experiencing when they come to your site, she continues, the more they’ll trust you, believe you’ve created the solution to their problems and buy from you.

Wiebe replicates the five questions she asks when conducting a customer survey, and details how she uses responses to write high-converting landing page copy for her clients. Readers are encouraged to download her free template and follow the four-step process she outlines. It’s an ingenious system that has clearly worked well for Wiebe, right at your fingertips.

8 Ways Your Home Page Is Like A Multiple Choice Test

By Brian Massey via Marketing Land

Your site’s home page should follow the form but not the function of a multiple-choice test, writes Brian Massey (a.k.a., The Conversion Scientist™). Rather than challenge your visitors to select the right choice, your home page should “get the visitor into the site and on the right path – not distract or confuse”. Its job is to answer the question: “why did your visit our website today?”

The “right” answers you provide (with links to your site’s internal pages) are the ones that makes sense, Massey continues, while all other answers (notably, social media links) are distractors. Other multiple-choice test principles that you can apply to optimize your home page include writing the “correct” answer first and providing three to five answer choices (i.e., internal links) for your site visitors. You’ll want to keep this gem handy for reference!

11 Copywriting Tips: How to Turn Marketing Drivel into Serious Sales Copy

By Henneke Duistermaat via Enchanting Marketing

Marketing drivel has its tells, mostly in sounding insincere and sleazy, writes Henneke Duistermaat. She challenges copywriters to eliminate the fluff from their sales content by implementing 11 tips that include using specific numbers, slicing out superlatives and eliminating unnecessary adjectives. Before you hit publish, edit your copy at least once more with Duistermaat’s tips fresh in your mind.

Creating & Promoting Content for a Conversions-Driving Strategy

Generating blog posts or long-form articles is an integral part of most any content marketing strategy, both for B2B and B2C companies. So how do you create content that is “engaging” and “shareable”? And how do you go about promoting it?

Here are eight strategies, tools and other resources for everything from content ideation to promotion:

Content Ideation & Creation: Inspiration & Instruction

Staring at a blank screen while staring down a deadline? Don’t stress out… Here are tips and tools for coming up with ideas, as well as for the nitty-gritty of creating great content.

8 Blog Topic Generators for Blog Post Idea Inspiration

By Megan Marrs via WordStream

In this candid review of content idea generators, Megan Marrs assesses those by familiar sources such as HubSpot and Portent as well as those with names like Link Bait Generator and Content Strategy Helper. She provides examples and tips for when and how you might use each, but concludes they are more the same than different. Try them out to see which best suit your needs!

6 Tools to Help Turn Trends Into Valuable Content

By Ann Smarty via Content Marketing Institute

If you’re looking for timely, newsworthy content ideas, Ann Smarty suggests sources that include Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Trends.

To best leverage each platform, she recommends tools such as IFTTT (If-This-Then-That) recipes for email notifications on relevant Reddit updates, DrumUp for crawling the more traditional social media sites, and WordPress RSS aggregator to combine your favorite content sources into one feed. Smarty provides helpful details about how to best use each tool; you’ll definitely want to investigate them firsthand.

The Single Best Way to Create Hit Content in Record Time

By Demian Farnworth via Copyblogger

Demian Farnworth points out that the most readily available source of excellent content is the high-performing evergreen posts you’ve already created.

He writes that republishing – meaning, updating and polishing an old article for publishing on a new date — is a strategy that reaps several benefits. The five he lists include attracting more links and social shares by exposing old content to a new, larger audience, and punching “Google’s freshness button”.

Farnworth illustrates how to republish in WordPress with screenshots, and shares a checklist of what you should do to breathe new life into your old content. A handy guide to keep around!

How To Go Viral: Lessons From The Most Shared Content of 2015

By Steve Rayson via Buzzsumo

Reporting on Buzzsumo’s analysis of over 1 billion pieces of content published in 2015, Steve Rayson writes that like the previous year, viral posts remain “insightful outliers” and there is “no magic formula”.

However, their analysis (of mostly B2C posts) did reveal four “different elements” frequently found in viral content that may help in creating more engaging and shareable posts. The elements fall under emotional, topical, formatting and content categories. For example, topical elements included health and fitness, emotional elements “surprising” and “shocking”, content elements images and video, etc.

Rayson suggests using combinations of these elements in both content and headlines, and underscores the importance of a composing (and testing) a compelling headline. He further notes that their research indicates that it’s not only the content per se, but its amplification that are key to significant sharing. (For Rayson’s report on the best performing B2B content of 2015, see this related article.)

60 Steps for Your Content Writing Checklist

By Leslie Vos via Convince & Convert

Admittedly, 60 steps to anything seems a bit much until you realize that the author, Leslie Vos, organizes the checklist into three categories. She begins with topic ideation and ends with “content support”, such as responding to reader comments.

In the center “prelaunch” stage, she discusses the heart of the matter for creating your content. Starting with headlines, Vos covers media files (such as images) and copyright, on-page optimization and links, mobile-friendliness, as well as overall content structure.

Her checklist is sprinkled with links to authoritative sources for more information, and definitely worthy of bookmarking for reference.

Content Promotion: Tools & Strategies

As you’ve likely heard more times than you care to remember, it is no longer enough to simply create stellar content. Now, for it to reach your target readers, you have to promote it. The common stat quoted in content marketing discussions is the 80/20 rule: for any given blog post or article, you should spend 20 percent of your time creating it, and the remaining 80 percent promoting it.

Here are tools and strategies to help with content promotion:

Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion

By Mike Allton via The Social Media Hat

Get ready to get educated: Mike Allton’s mega how-to is a thorough schooling in all you need to know about promoting your blog, beginning with “prerequisites” such as social sharing icons, RSS feeds, Rich Pins and Twitter Cards – as well as a discussion of actual blog content.

Allton offers a detailed description of his blog promotion process, complete with the social sharing tools he employs and how he uses them. He discusses alternative social platforms like Blab and Periscope, and promotion techniques such as teasing out an upcoming post on social media and (delicately) notifying Twitter followers about a new post with direct messaging.

Allton also covers paid promotion options and influencer marketing, as well as repurposing and syndicating blog posts. His tutorial is full of links and helpful tips – a rich resource for your how-to library.

Infographic: The Optimal Length for Every Social Media Update and More

By Kevan Lee via Buffer Social

This infographic post by Kevan Lee is accompanied by data-backed text discussing the ideal length of social media updates and the reasoning behind the numbers.

The “more” from the post’s title encompasses most all of the online content you can think of, with optimal word counts for blog posts, headlines, email subject lines, hastags, domain names, SEO title tags and paragraphs (width-wise).

The ambitious post also delves into the ideal length of podcasts, YouTube videos, SlideShare and speaking presentations, and concludes with the ideal image size for Pinterest posts. Yet another great resource to bookmark!

Want More Effective Content Promotion? Choose From These 15 Tools

By Neil Patel via Quick Sprout

Noting that promoting content often consumes more time than creating it, Neil Patel shares 15 tools to help writers “achieve efficiency” in their efforts, as well as better, more consistent results.

The tools he details fall under email, social media, and SEO (linking). They are designed to boost conversions and/or give you analytical insights into relevant data while sparing you from repetitive, mind-numbing tasks.

The six email tools he discusses will help with either improving open rates, saving you time, or increasing conversions (meaning, from views to reads and responses). Patel also shares five social media tools to minimize that time suck, including a nifty image sharer plugin by SumoMe.

Finally, he discusses tools for acquiring more links to your content, four of which are from Citation Labs. Patel describes how to use the tools for checking broken links, link prospecting, and scaling link building via accessing a link database.

All of the content promotion tools he reviews have their own merits, and he notes which ones carry a price tag. You’ll definitely want to explore them and see which ones might work best for your needs.

Your Turn

And that’s a wrap of our review of copywriting resources. As with Part 1, there were a plethora of sources to sift through so if we missed one…or 5…that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments. Thank you!

Photo thanks: ID 4815205632 © Drew Coffman /

Sales Writing Resources for Creating Killer Copy

sales writingDo a search on “sales writing” or “copywriting” and you’ll see that the body of content around it is ginormous. And that’s no surprise. After all, copywriting is the substance of all the print and digital marketing materials out there, from headlines to calls to action (and all that stuff in between).

The art and science of writing persuasive copy as we know it has been around for some time, and the principles and best practices of David Ogilvy’s day still apply today. In part 1 in our 4-part series on conversions writing, we review some evergreen resources that feature time-saving copywriting formulas, as well as helpful how-tos on creating compelling headlines and email subject lines.

Copywriting Formulas: Acronym Soup 

Creating solid sales copy takes precious time and energy. To help you use both most efficiently, here are several resources for your virtual library.

The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever)

By Joanna Wiebe via Copy Hackers

“Because only rookies write from scratch…” So begins Joanna Wiebe’s introduction to Copy Hackers’ ambitious taxonomy of copywriting formulas (as well as several templates, methods and checklists).

Beginning with the widely known AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) model and its myriad variations to more obscure ones such as HELLYEAH (Holler-Empathize-Lambast-Legwork-Yes-Educate-Action-Handle) for long form sales letters, this guide is rich with links and examples. Definitely a keeper!

The Ultimate Guide to Copywriting

By Hassan Ud-deen via Kissmetrics

In this “ultimate guide,” author Hassan Ud-deen discusses the multiple elements that make for superlative copy. He offers a detailed description of how to apply the AIDA formula (including a great YouTube clip of Alec Baldwin’s tutorial from Glengarry Glen Ross), and delves into the psychology behind intriguing headlines, compelling openings and persuasive sales copy. Ud-deen even touches on the use of closed vs. open bullet points. A handy resource you’ll consult for most any copywriting project.

Why Most Copywriting Formulas Stink (and How to Really Write for the Web)

By Henneke Duistermaat via Enchanting Marketing

Authored by the self-described “irreverent copywriter and marketer” Henneke Duistermaat, this post takes aim at the AIDA copywriting formula. Her main objection to AIDA is the redundancy (and potential overkill) of the “attention” part. Unlike the days of print advertising when AIDA was conceived (circa 1900), you’ve already got the attention of readers — they’ve clicked on your site (several others echo this observation, including Wiebe).

Duistermaat favors the FAB (Features-Advantages-Benefits) formula (listed in Copy Hackers’ guide as “A single, solitary formula for body copy”), with the emphasis being on the benefits your product or service offers your prospect (which propels the desire called for by the AIDA model).

She also addresses the PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solution, or -Solve) formula premised on the avoidance of pain, whereby you describe a problem, stir up the emotions associated with it, then offer your solution. Regarding PAS, she quotes copywriting legend Dan Kennedy:

“When you understand that people are more likely to act to avoid pain than to get gain, you’ll understand how powerful this first formula is. (…) It may be the most reliable sales formula ever invented.”

Master This Copywriting Formula to Dominate Any Social Media Platform

By Demian Farnworth via Copyblogger

The applications for the PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solve) copywriting formula (above) are “endless”, writes Demian Farnworth, citing and linking out to examples of its use in product descriptions, landing pages and sales letters.

Farnworth then delves into how to apply the PAS formula to any text-based social media platform (rather humorously), including Twitter. He further notes that “PAS gives your writing consistency, precision, and persuasion” and is a tool you can keep handy to be an efficient writer because you “don’t have to recreate the wheel every time.”

Compelling Headlines: Key to Conversions

You’re most likely familiar with David Ogilvy’s famous quote about headlines: “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Here are some resources to help you spend that 80 cents wisely.

A Simple Formula for Writing Kick-Ass Blog Titles

By Corey Eridon via HubSpot

Corey Eridon succinctly underscores the importance of creating truly compelling titles in prefacing his post: “Titles are what sell the content.” He continues, “They represent it in search engines, in email, and on social media.”

Guided by best practices, notably keeping the reader experience paramount by delivering on the promise of the title, Eridon’s headline-writing formula starts with the key step of distinguishing an overarching topic from a specific, working title that “guides the creation of a blog post.”

Other requisites of a stellar title include making it sexy while keeping it accurate, as deceptive clickbait titles are liable to backfire by alienating readers (they may well lose trust in you or the brand you’re representing). Additional steps entail optimizing the title for search while keeping it short, and then brainstorming with someone else to hone it to perfection. A smart, from-the-trenches formula!

#Copywriting ALERT! 902 Headline Banging Words, SRSLY

By Marty Weintraub via aimClear

aimClear CEO Marty Weintraub and his team share a list of 902 words to use when creating blog, article and ad headlines. According to Weintraub, these words are “likely to distinguish professional from amateur copy when well used.”

The list is divided into “an array of permutations” that include emotions, expletive punch words and a set of synonyms that serve as a kind of “headline-stemming lateral thesaurus.” Then to assist with ad headline and SEO title brevity, the list is color-coded according to the word’s character count. This resource is something best understood firsthand, so definitely check it out!

How To Create Headlines That Grab Attention And Convert

By Michael Brenner via Marketing Insider Group

A study conducted by HubSpot and Outbrain of more than 3.3 million blog headlines looked into those attributes that increased or inhibited content reach as measured by click-through rates (CTRs), engagement and conversions. In a nutshell, their analysis reveals that readers have become wary of clickbait, demonstrating a strong preference for transparent titles.

Michael Brenner summarizes the study’s findings, writing that headlines with the words “who” and “photo(s),” as well as those with clarifications in brackets (such as [Webinar]), generated higher CTRs, while the latter two also drove higher engagement. Bracketed descriptions were further found to generate more conversions.

The analysis found that overused sexy words such as “secret” and “magic”, those that directly address the reader (“you”) and those that convey urgency (such as “now”) all hurt CTRs by as much as 59 percent. You can download the full study (“Data Driven Strategies for Writing Effective Titles & Headlines”) at HubSpot.

Hate this Headline? You’ll Probably Share the Story.

By Barry Feldman via Kissmetrics

While an 8-word headline of a 1300-word post represents less than 1% of the content, I’m 99% sure it will be the line that dictates the destiny of your post,” writes Barry Feldman in his own post about how to get your content shared on social media…so much so that it delivers a “sudden and pronounced spike in traffic”. The key: giving your post an emotional headline to invoke reader response by using words that pack a powerful punch.

Such “power words” can be positive (connoting pleasurable feelings), or negative (i.e., painful feelings) and there are scads of them. Feldman shares links to CoSchedule’s “cheat sheet” of over 180 power words, and to PsychPage’s equally impressively list of feeling words, both pleasant and unpleasant. He also shares a tool that scores the emotional mojo of your headlines, so you can test alternative variations. Go forth and make that headline emote!

Email Subject Lines: Stand Out in the Inbox Crowd

Email marketing is one of the most effective content marketing strategies available. You can think of email subject lines as headlines for your reader’s inbox, with their open rates the equivalent of headline click-through rates. Here are resources to assist you in persuading your readers to open your email.

The 112 Best Email Marketing Subject Lines (so far) in 2016

By Joey Barker via Unfunnel

It’s not yet mid-January, yet Unfunnel has already sent out 1.25 million emails. Their analysis of the email open rates rendered a list of their best 112 email subject lines, organized as benefit-driven, logic- and threat-based types. In turn, each type is broken down into categories.

For instance, benefit-driven email subject lines may drive open rates by appealing to the reader’s self-interest, or pique her interest with news or by telling the beginning of a story. (Their benefit-driven email subject lines accounted for nearly half of Unfunnel’s most successful ones).

Logic-based email subject lines may arouse the reader’s curiosity, invoke social proof, or appeal to her humanity with a more one-on-one, intimate tone.

Finally, threat-based email subject lines play on the reader’s fear of loss, whether by implying scarcity or urgency.

The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates

By Megan Marrs via WordStream

You needn’t look farther than your own inbox to know that subscribers are inundated with emails vying for their attention. Here Megan Marrs discusses nine types of email subject lines to boost open rates: simple and no-nonsense; funny; controversial/shocking; single-word; numbers and lists; personalized; questions and other punctuation; “missing out” and other scarcity tactics; and finally, mysterious.

She then lists several general best practices for writing email subject lines, including writing ten different lines for every email and then choosing the best, keeping the character count to under 50, playing with alliteration and using CAPITALS sparingly.

How Consumers Really Feel About Your Subject Lines

By Elyse Dupre via Direct Marketing News

To gauge the impact that emotional words and phrases in email subject lines have on reader engagement, Persado (an “automated persuasive language generator” software company) analyzed 436 of those from retail and e-commerce companies.

The specific subject lines studied were from last year’s Black Friday emails, and “engagement” was measured by open rates.

Elyse Dupre reports that Persado studied five performance-driving emotions: urgency, achievement, exclusivity, anxiety and excitement. Of them, exclusivity (such as, “Your exclusive $15 coupon is here!”) performed the best with a 28-percent average lift in open rates, and achievement (for instance, “…you’ve earned it”) a distant second with 18-percent.

An excited tone actually resulted in an 11-percent fall in open rates, compared to an 11-percent increase above the baseline in 2014. Paraphrasing Presado’s director of marketing, Julia Spano, Dupre writes that while it may seem counterintuitive, “excitement is rarely a top performing emotional category”.

[Note: You may be interested in this related story by Dupre on the impressive success Angie’s List has experienced in leveraging emotionally engaging email subject lines generated by Persado.]

Your Turn

Have you come across any evergreen sales writing resources you’d like to share? Please include them in the comments below!

Stay tuned for Part 2 next Thursday! We’ll share resources for creating conversions-driving blogs and web page copy, as well as tools and tips for promoting content. 

Photo thanks: ID 59022955 © Wujekjery /




Read this post while you still can!

Dunkin-YuenglingIt’s officially the Christmas (or winter holiday of your choice) shopping season! (Yes, I am aware that the Christmas sales started months ago, but I am old fashioned, and I am holding onto the notion that Black Friday is the kickoff of the holiday shopping season.)

So what are you doing to get your customers to not only buy from you, but buy now?

Take a lesson from coffee and beer

What does coffee and beer have to do with holiday selling? Let me explain.

I am a Jersey girl by birth, but I currently live in San Diego. I love living in Southern California, but there are some things that I love that I cannot easily get there, including:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (I mean from an actual Dunkin’ Donuts, not from the bags sold in the grocery stores)
  • Yuengling lager (beer from America’s oldest brewery – only available on the East Coast and only as far west as Ohio)
  • Real NY pizza (although I can get my fix from Bronx Pizza)
  • Hard rolls and real Jersey bagels (if you don’t know what I mean, then you’re not from the Tri-State Area)

This year, I was home (New Jersey) for a week to celebrate Thanksgiving. In addition to spending time with my family and friends, I:

  • Drank a lot of coffee
  • Had Yuengling whenever it was on draft and at Thanksgiving dinner because my family bought it for me
  • Got my fill of carbs via pizza, hard rolls and bagels

The amount of coffee and other Jersey treats I consumed was much higher than my normal routine. Why? It wasn’t because I was on vacation; it was because I knew I can’t get these things when I go back to San Diego.

Act now before it’s too late!


I drank a lot of coffee … a lot. The availability of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is limited for me, so I got it while I could – pretty much whenever I drove by one.

If I lived in New Jersey or if Dunkin’ Donuts ever returned to Southern California (supposedly they will be returning in 2014 or 2015), I wonder if I would have needed to stop for coffee so often. My guess is that while I would have enjoyed a cup or two, I would not have been driven to have a cup at every opportunity.

It’s all about the principle of scarcity. If you tell your clients that there is a limited amount of product or that you only have a few spots available, they are more likely to buy from you (or hire you).

Remove the notion that your clients can get your products or services whenever they want. Be sure to increase their motivation by limiting the time of a sale or by telling them you only have so many items left. (Of course, don’t overdo it because eventually you will lose credibility if you always only have a few items remaining.)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you can end the year with an influx of business.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to promote your business as the year ends. But make sure you comment soon because I will only be responding to comments that are left today! (Okay, not really, but I couldn’t resist.) Happy December!

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Woot! Are you having fun with your copy?

Thesaurus Shirt from Woot!

Woot! Shirt

Have you ever visited Woot!?

You may think that it’s just another online bargain website. Technically, that is true. But, even if you don’t want to find a limited-time offer on some random item or find an awesome shirt, as a copywriter, you need to check out this website.

Why? Because Woot! doesn’t just sell merchandise – it sells stories.

Get the specs and more

When you check out a featured item on Woot!, you will be able to find the basic information you find on other websites: product specifications, warranty information, shipping notes, etc.

But wait! There’s more!

You also will be treated with a fun introduction. What do I mean by fun? The Woot! writers let their imaginations go!

For example, the content for a recent tablet named all 32 of the device’s gigabytes. Some of my favorites include:

  • Gigglypuff
  • Sir Gigsalot
  • Whoopi Gigberg

Each product has a unique, funny story … even if the writers admit that they really don’t have anything to say. No matter the product, they still say something that keeps you reading.

Let your inner Woot! writer loose

Chances are you can’t write exactly like they do on Woot! However, you can harness some of that creativity.

Even B2B websites have some room for creative copy. You don’t have to sound like everyone else. You can reach your target audience and still have some fun. You can spice up your writing and turn up your creativity.

Here’s your task for this week: check out Woot! Poke around a bit and see what their content is all about. Then, embrace your inner Woot! writer and rewrite one page or write a blog post using your Woot! muse.

Time’s running out on Heather’s Copywriting Business Bootcamp! Learn how to make more money, faster. Save 10% until 11/13/13 with coupon code SECRETS.

This is the best post ever!

BestRecently, a member of the SEO Copywriting LinkedIn group started an interesting discussion. He asked what group members thought about the overuse of words like “perfect,” when “fine” or “okay” would suffice.

He questioned the surge in hyperbolic speech and wondered if certain words were losing their meaning.

This got me thinking – first, about exaggeration, then about the changing definitions of words (don’t get me started on the new definition of “literally”), then about sales people.

Did I lose you with that last one?

How many times have you heard that this is the “best” product or that a lawyer is the “best” personal injury attorney?

This isn’t just a relaxed use of the English language. These claims are meant to entice you, the potential client.

But do you believe it? Unless you’re Buddy the Elf from Elf, who believed the “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” sign in the window of a random New York dive, you probably don’t believe these claims. In fact, claims like these may make you question the product or service provider.

Are you the best?

There is nothing wrong with boasting about your product or service. However, whatever claims you make should be backed up.

Don’t say, “We make the best widgets,” if you can say, “Our widgets were ranked #1 in customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports.”

Don’t use puffery, when you can prove your point with facts. People can tell when you are trying to sell to them and possibly mislead them. Phrases like “best online marketer” and “everyone loves our product” trigger people’s BS meters.

You can win more people over by using:

Be the right provider, not the “best”

Take a look at your website. Are you using puffery to try to sell your product or services? It’s time to stop.

Pick one page and clear away the hyperbole and generic information. Give your readers something to believe and a reason to trust your products and services. If you do that, you may just become the best.


Photo credit: ©

SEO Copywriting Checklist: Are your product descriptions costing you customers?

Are your product descriptions converting your prospects?Welcome to another video in the SEO Copywriting Checklist series!

Today’s video is addressed to those of you in e-Commerce retail, and asks: are your product descriptions costing you customers?

Tune in as Heather shows what works, and what does not, in well-optimized product copy:

YAWN…There’s Nothing Here That Screams “Buy Me!”

Well-written product descriptions are a blind spot for a lot of e-retailers, as evidenced by this first screenshot: you have the picture, and then a very, very short description of the product.

As written, the text certainly does the job in terms of the product’s technical specifications, but it doesn’t have any descriptive copy that screams “buy me!”

There’s nothing here that is targeted towards the reader that will tempt them to take that next conversions step.

Compare this example to what you’ll find on the lululemon site…

Great, Descriptive SEO Copy

This second screenshot is actually just a snippet of the product page. There’s a big picture at the top and there are the technical specifications for the shorts down below, but there the similarities end.

The product description is definitely SEO copy – the keyphrases are in there – but the tone and feel of the content is very fun: it’s engaging, and it’s highly targeted towards their audience.

And the lululemon copy provides much more information about the benefits that people will realize when they buy these shorts, as opposed to the previous example.

So you can see how this content is much more compelling. Especially if you’re dealing with products with a higher price point, then the more compelling the content, and the more you can demonstrate that value and the benefits, the more items you’re going to sell!

Highly Descriptive Copy Sells – And Makes You More Money!

At the end of the day, highly descriptive product copy will help you make more money from your site. So if you’re selling products online:

– Think beyond super-short product descriptions.

I know in a lot of cases you may think it’s easier to just do it short and sweet, and let the picture do the selling, but in many cases people want to have more information. And because…

– People can’t touch the product online – so you need to create highly descriptive text.

Rich, descriptive copy helps potential customers visualize what it would be like if they owned that product, so it definitely helps them take that next conversions step.

And like the lululemon example, you can…

– Use tone and feel to differentiate your offer.

This is especially important if you are selling products that other retailers sell online as well – and it might be that you and your competitors have similar price points, as well.

So who are people going to buy from?

They’re going to buy from the site that they “click” with the most, so that tone and feel of writing towards the target audience can really help generate more sales!

Thanks for joining me for this latest installment of the SEO Copywriting Checklist series! As always, if you have any questions at all, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at, or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

photo thanks to StormKatt

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Rock conversions with these proven & powerful copywriting strategies!

Welcome back! Today we’re featuring another collection of SEO Copywriting’s video how-to’s, all to do with specific techniques you can readily use in your Web writing to boost conversions.

After all, at the end of the day it is how well your Web content converts that counts! Ever mindful of just that, Heather devoted a series of her YouTube SEO copywriting tutorials to those strategies that make your prospects say Yes!

Edify, enjoy, and prosper!

1. Boost your conversions with “power words”

Heather takes it back to “old school” copywriting in this video, discussing how to boost your conversions with “power words.”

Back in the day – before SEO copywriting, even before Web writing – copywriters focused on adding “power words” to their content, such as their direct sales letters, to improve conversions. It’s a tried and true strategy that’s been used by copywriters for many, many years.

Tune in as Heather explains what power words are, how they work, and how you can use them to strengthen your copy with their conversions-driving mojo!


2. Are you harnessing the power of “you”?

Here, Heather expands on her “power words” vlog (above) with a how-to on harnessing the power of that magical customer-centric word: you.”

You. Such a seemingly simple word packs an incredible punch, as it centers your web copy around them. Coupled with customer-oriented web content, using “you” in your copy is a proven strategy for engaging the prospect and improving conversions!

Learn how to make your Web copy rock with the word “you” and customer-oriented messages.


3. How to use “free” to boost conversions

With this last video of her power words video blog series, Heather addresses how to capture the power of the word “free.” (Bet your eyes just snapped on the word already!)

Like the word “you,” “free” is a very powerful power word – and yet it is one that many copywriters fail to use correctly.

So… how can you fail to correctly leverage that sexy power word, “free”? As easily as you fail to let your readers fail to understand the real value of it.

Tune in as Heather discusses how to use that mighty power word, “free,” so that it both conveys value to your readers and helps increase your conversion rates!


4. How to write sales copy that turns your readers on

As a natural follow-up to the 3-part power words series, this post was inspired by neuromarketing expert Roger Dooley’s recent SEO Copywriting Certification presentation. Here, Heather gets into how to write sales copy that turns your readers on…meaning, your readers’ brains.

If you write sales copy or landing page content, or if you work with copywriters, then you’ll definitely want to tune in and learn how to write sales copy that turns on your prospects’ brains and sparks conversions, by using “…vivid, sensory, emotional adjectives to engage the brain.” (– Roger Dooley)


Thanks for stopping by!  And remember, if you have a question or comment for Heather, you are most welcome to leave a comment below, or email her via, or tweet her via @heatherlloyd. She’d love to hear from you!


Want to earn more money as a copywriter? Learn the art & strategy of conversions and SEO copywriting with SuccessWorks’ SEO Copywriting Certification training!

How to write sales copy that turns your readers on

Greetings! Ready to get your brain influence on?

Inspired by neuromarketing expert Roger Dooley’s SEO Copywriting Certification presentation of last week, today Heather gets into how to write sales copy that turns your readers on…meaning, your readers’ brains.

If you write sales copy or landing page content, or if you work with copywriters, then you’ll definitely want to tune in and learn how to write sales copy that turns on your prospects’ brains and sparks conversions…

I’m talking about BRAINS…

For last week’s SEO Copywriting Certification training call, we were honored to have guest speaker Roger Dooley, author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing.

If you haven’t yet read this book, I highly recommend that you do – especially if you’re a copywriter, or work with copywriters, and/or you simply want to make your web copy better!

One of the things Roger talked about during his presentation is how you can use adjectives, and specifically how to…

“Use vivid, sensory, emotional adjectives to engage the brain.”

-Roger Dooley

This is something that of a lot of copywriters forget – we get in a habit of writing copy in a certain way, and we forget the power of adjectives.

Words related to texture activate the brain

Now the cool thing about using those sensory adjectives is that they can actually activate your readers’ brains.

The brain can actually picture – as evidenced by brain scans – what silky would feel like, or smooth or rough: the brain actually “lights up” as if imagining those particular textures.

So when you use these sensory-laden words in your writing, you are actually engaging more of your reader: you’re really turning them on. And now you’re thinking not only about what your copy reads like, but also what it sounds like!

– Silky

– Smooth

– Rough

– Bright

– Jagged

– Slimy

Source: Roger Dooley, NeuroscienceMarketing – “Persuade with Silky Smooth Copy – Substitute sensory metaphors to engage your reader’s brain”


The list above indicates some adjectives that are possible sensory substitutes, like “jagged” and “slimy” and “bright.” For more information on this, check out Roger’s article – I highly recommend it!

So let’s see how this might work when you’re writing content…

For example…

In his article (referenced above) Roger uses the example of:

“Having a bad day vs. Having a rough day”

While they mean the same thing, that texture of “rough” does something a little bit different: it engages the brain a little bit more. More examples are:

“She touched the rock vs. She touched the jagged rock”

“Made the fresh eggs vs. Made the freshly-cracked eggs”

“Your skin will feel soft vs. Your skin will feel silky to the touch”

and, my favorite example: “My cat is soft vs. My cat is fuzzy”

If this is something you don’t do automatically when writing copy, let it sit for awhile and then go back and see how you can add these textural adjectives to your content.

Energizing your copy with textural adjectives can actually improve conversion rates – something that Roger Dooley’s article also discusses. So definitely try it out and see how it works for your own web copy!

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s SEO copywriting video! And remember, for no-B.S., real information that you can actually use on your website and in your web writing, sign up for my free newsletter (daily or weekly) – and as a thank you, you’ll receive my complimentary “How to write for Google” whitepaper!

And as always, if you have any questions at all, or if you want to learn more about my SEO Copywriting Certification training (where you can learn from great guest speakers like Roger Dooley), please let me know! You can find me on Twitter via @heatherlloyd, or you can zip me an email:


photo thanks to Sarah G…








More ways that spam can teach you about copywriting

Last week, I picked apart a spammy “SEO service” email and discussed why it was actually effective.

See, the tricky thing about spam is that it works. Sure, maybe not on a more educated buyer…but not all buyers are that educated. Instead, they’re going on pure emotion – and it’s that emotion that gets them to respond.

And that’s exactly what these companies want.

See, good spam emails get results because they follow the copywriting basics to the letter. The email is written with a certain customer persona in mind (in this case, a site owner/manager who isn’t very SEO savvy.) It includes copywriting power words like “no obligation.” It outlines typical pain points – and expertly shows how the company has the perfect solution.

Again, we may not like spam – but we know people who fall for it all the time. Here’s a couple more specific takeaways from last week’s email example…and what we can learn from them

“Requesting this report does not obligate you to buy SEO services.”

Why this works:

  • The sentence overcomes objections 
  •  A valuable service is offered  for no charge.

Ever hear something that sounds fantastic…and then your first thought is, “How much is this going to cost me.”

Yeah. me too.

The person who penned this email know that, too. That’s why the writer made it clear that the report is “no obligation” (otherwise known as “free.”)  The spammy SEO company is counting on the prospect to say, “Well, it couldn’t hurt to contact them and get the report. I may learn something. Besides, I don’t have to buy anything that I don’t want to.”

See how easily the “no obligation” blurb overcomes the objection and makes it easy for the prospect to say yes? If you don’t overcome objections in your copy, your prospects may still have that niggling bit of doubt – and that small amount of doubt could cause them to say no. The goal of your copy is to make it easy for your prospects to always say, “yes” – and take the action that you want them to take.

(As a side note…the phrase “no obligation” is used because the word “free” would have tripped spam filters. However, if you’re writing a sales page, know that “free” is a very powerful word.)

“We guarantee that from the first month of our work you will see an improvement in ranking, link popularity and traffic, which would result in higher Organic rankings, more Leads and Orders for better ROI (Return on Investment).”

Why this works:

  • A guarantee is offered, which helps remove any perceived risk.
  • The writer uses benefit statements that are important to the target audience.
  • The benefits are time-specific.

Do you offer a guarantee on your products or services? If not, you may want to reconsider. The word “guarantee” is a a very powerful word in copywriting. When there’s a guarantee, the transaction seems risk-free. The next step seems easy. And it helps the prospect keep saying, “yes” to your offer.

If the copywriter wanted to really add some marketing punch to the note, the phrase “money-back guarantee”  is even better. That signals the prospect that there is no risk  – and they have nothing to lose.

Listing the benefits help to reinforce this “no risk” scenario. With this line, you can almost see the prospect’s mind starts churning with the thought, “Wow, I’d love better search positions and more sales. Maybe these guys can actually help me.” After all, what marketer wouldn’t want more leads and higher positions?  🙂  When you’re writing your copy, remember that it’s benefits – not features – that close the deal. People need to immediately know what’s in it for them – or they aren’t interested.

A better way that they could have approached this? They could have included third-party success story testimonials. It’s one thing to  read that you’ll see an “increase in ROI.” It’s another when you read how a companies service has helped drive over $10,000 of sales in the first month.

Finally, always remember that time-specific results a great selling tool. If you can (ethically) tell the prospect what they can expect – and when to expect it – you’ve calmed their fears and overcome their objections.

Yes, spam may drive us nuts – especially SEO company spam. But rather than instantly deleting it, take the time to read it over.

You may be surprised by what you’ll learn.

The conversion dilemma: AIDA in the internet age

 A marketer’s job is to reduce, and hopefully remove, any and all barriers to THE SALE.

The conversion drives everything we do.  Social standing, likability, awareness, fairness, law, order, kittens*, etc . –we care about these things because they potentially impact SALES.  Dollars.  Greenbacks.  Dead Presidents.  Moolah.

And while the AIDA (Attention-Interest-Decision-Action) model is about as new as spats and talkies, the cyber-sales era presents unique issues.

Never before have more sensory cues battled for attention, more products and services vied for interest and more factors affected the decisions of consumers.

And never before has the call to action suffered from more inaction – a national stasis rooted in Internet-capable plasma TVs, Snuggies and Cool Ranch Doritos.

The links of AIDA are rusty at best, snapped at worst; it is a web marketer’s challenge to repair them.

Tactics We’ve Outgrown

Times they are a changin’; we must change with them.  No longer can we count on:

  • Door-to-Door Sales

The only people approaching doors these days are Jehovah’s Witnesses and kids selling auto-renewing Allure subscriptions.  Today, we must communicate personality and likability virtually.

  • Advantage of Location

With a glut of competition accessible in a .27 second Google search, being physically proximate to your consumers is (generally) not good enough.

  • Ignorance

Savvy consumers are accustomed to advertising – this post-modern audience demands interesting and dynamic rationale for purchase.

  • Singularity

Multi-tasking killed the radio star.  Billboards, cellphones, email, IM, TV, streaming, THIS.  Stimuli, stimuli, stimuli… When’s the last time you focused on one thing?

How to Rebuild the AIDA Model

But enough gloom and doom.  Guiding a prospective consumer through the steps of AIDA in this climate is difficult, but not impossible.  Magic wand time.  Do I have your Attention?  Good.  Let’s proceed.

Attention à Interest

I know you’re there; I just don’t care.

Imagine I walk up and punch you in the face.  Do I have your attention?  Yes?  Would you like to buy this lovely purse filled with diamonds, fat free Cinnabons and peace?

Probably not so much.

While gaining attention is step one – and a necessary step at that – it doesn’t necessarily translate into interest.  If you annoy, aggravate and otherwise antagonize your target, attention can have the opposite reaction.  Hitler got Poland’s attention, but they certainly weren’t buying what he was selling.

The link between attention and interest is broken when:

The attention is negative –OR–The target becomes interested in the campaign, but not the product it’s promoting.

  • Solution

Unless you are SOLELY interested in awareness, avoid campaigns that are entirely reliant on entertainment value.   There are simply too many things competing for eyeballs today (YouTube / Tivo / Cats that look like Hitler).

Tether the advertising campaign to your product with social media, optimized copy and a brand personality consistent with the wants and needs of your target market.  Internet marketers must establish a direct connection between campaign and product that delivers consumer value.

Interest à Decision

I’m interested in what you’re selling… but not interested enough to decide to buy.

These folks are perhaps best described as fence sitters – consumers that need the cattle prod.  Absent using an actual cattle prod (which would be both impractical and illegal), internet marketers need to take the concept virtual.

  • Solution

INCENTIVIZE.  This is where “deals” and other drivers – flash sales, discounts on shipping, coupons for “liking” the Facebook page, sales aimed at specific groups – can tip the scale.  The internet is particularly good at creating a sense of immediacy; use it.  Emphasize that NOW is the time to buy and try.

Decision à Action

I’ve decided to buy this product, but…

You’re on the one yard line, but for some reason, you’re not scoring.  Your mission: ID that blocker and take him out.

  • Solution

Use Google Analytics to identify bounce / exit pages and gather stats on cart abandonment.  Isolate and remove major barriers to purchase, such as:


While follow-up is part of any successful sales strategy, MODERATE.  Asking too much of your customers (questions, password creation and the like) is a sure-fire way to provoke a hasty exit.  It is often difficult to recognize when assertive jumps track into annoying, so monitor interactions.  Just because you can’t SEE your target doesn’t mean the feedback loop doesn’t exist.


Manage expectations early.  If there’s a big pill to swallow (for example, shipping is a zillion dollars), don’t sock customers with it at the very end.  If you find shipping fees prove to be a constant transactional impediment, build that cost into the item’s core price.  Also, keep in mind the “H” of S&H is regarded as highly suspect by many consumers.

Method of Payment

Make buying online as easy as possible.  Don’t expect consumers to hunt down credit cards – offer them options like (Godsend!) Paypal.

Sales and Delivery Models

Evaluate potential stumbling blocks to initial and repeat business.  Is auto-renewal scaring off sales?  Do deliveries require an in-person signature?  Is a slow website inducing customer comas?  All of these factors can affect an income statement.  A-B tests can answer some of these questions.Thank you for wading through my webmarketacular.  Feel free to disagree (or even agree!) with me in the comments.

In the meantime, please enjoy Alec Baldwin’s fine work on the classic AIDA model in “Glengarry Glen Ross” with my compliments…hpittp://


*I care about kittens.  Fundamentally.  Practically exclusively.


About the Author – Katie Fetting-Schlerf

Katie Fetting-Schlerf is a copywriter and all around marketing whiz-kid at Portent, an internet marketing company.  She would like to impress her employers, so feel free to ‘like’ the crap out of this post. You can find Katie on Twitter @KatieLFetting.