Writing for Cost-Conscious Customers? Try These Tips

cost-conscious-customers

Do you know someone who would rather save money than spend it?

The flashy new iPhone 7 doesn’t tempt him –- he’s happy with his old-school flip phone.

If he goes out to lunch, he’s ordering the cheapest thing on the menu and boxing up half for later.

He’s probably demanding the “best deal” when asking for a quote.

In the marketing world, he falls within the “tightwad” customer persona (really). Tightwads are 24% of all buyers – so almost one-quarter of your prospects fall into this group.

Does a tightwad ever spend money? Of course. Does he like to spend money? Nope.

But, what if your target reader is a typical tightwad? How can you transform his mindset from, “I’m not spending money on this,” to “Wow, this is a good deal.”

It’s all about writing tightwad-focused content.

The inner workings of a tightwad

Why is spending money so painful to a tightwad buyer?

His brain is wired a little bit differently.

In a tightwad’s brain, spending money = pain. Even if he’s spending money on something pleasurable – such as new clothes, a car or a vacation – opening his wallet hurts.

Every cent out the door is like shedding blood.

Having said that, tightwads will purchase your $350/post blogging services, your $10,000 training program and your specialized products.

Here’s how:

Tightwads are extremely analytical – and fluffy, non-precise sales copy will fall flat. Plus, phrases like, “you deserve it” – or anything that implies luxury — won’t work.

Things that DO work are:

  • Strong value propositions. What makes your product or service stand out? What do you offer that’s different than other sites? General statements like “We offer fantastic customer service,” mean nothing. What IS important is when your company is available 24/7 when your competitors are only open 9-5.
  • Specifics count. You’ll want to feed into a tightwad’s analytical nature. Instead of writing, “You’ll save money,” include a specific dollar amount or percentage (“you’ll save 23 percent!”). If you’re going head-to-head with a competitor, consider creating a comparison chart showcasing your differences (and your superiority.) Tightwads love graphs, charts and comparisons.
  • Reframing value is a great hack. There’s a reason UNICEF says you can sponsor a child for “just fifty cents a day.” Even if the total price is just $15 a month, fifty cents a day seems much more manageable.
  • Words matter. How you frame your copy can have a tremendous impact on conversions. In a Wharton study, three researchers framed a overnight shipping fee two different ways. One variation was telling respondents about a “$5 fee,” and the other variation said it was “a small $5 fee.” Guess which variation worked? Yup, a “small $5 fee.”

Want a great example? Check out Dollar Shave Club. The emphasis is on quick, easy and incredible value. To appeal to their tightwad audience, they break down their costs to $9/month, instead of saying “just $108 a year.”

Want another example? Check out Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song Thrift Shop (warning, the lyrics are NSFW, so turn your speakers down!).

Want more? You can tweak your SEO, too.

Looking for every edge you can find? Here are some tightwad-focused SEO tweaks you can try.

  • Check out tightwad keyphrases. For instance, the phrase [cheap car insurance] sees over 90K searches a month, according to SEMRush. [low cost car insurance] receives 1,600 searches. If saving money is important to your customers, try targeting them with “cheap” keyword modifiers.
  • Consider placing your “tightwad” benefit statement in your Title. Things like “save 20%,” or “free shipping” can help your listing get noticed over others on the SERP. For instance, check out how Amtrak structured their Title:

save_20_percent-amtrak

  • Don’t forget a “tightwad” description. Granted, Expedia’s description isn’t the best — but the company does make it clear that folks can find the cheapest deals on Expedia. Compare this to Kayak’s description, which doesn’t quite fulfill the “cheap” promise.

cheap_airfares-kayak

Baby, don’t fear the tightwad

Writing great tightwad-focused copy is easy — once you know what makes the tightwad tick. Stay away from “luxury” references, target tightwad-focused keyphrases and experiment with word play. The result? Your readers are going to love you — and even feel OK about pulling out their credit card.

Well done!

 

 

 

 

How to Give Your Readers a Squirt of Dopamine

Imagine writing so sticky that people hang on to every word, spend more time reading your copy – and How writing wordplay can give your readers a squirt of dopamineeven remember it later?

How?

Because every time they read your content, their brains are squirted with dopamine happy-juice.

Squirt

No, it’s not black magic.

In fact, coming up with smile-producing content is incredibly fun!

It’s all about the wordplay.

Let me explain.

My discovery (and “doh” moment)

Like a good marketer, I was checking out my article backlinks and saw someone linked to 14 SEO Copywriting Tips in Haiku. Cool.

When I checked out the backlink, the article discussed how haiku word play was popular.

NYC uses haiku street traffic signs:

Oncoming cars rush
Each, a three-ton bullet
And you, flesh and bone

Jonathan Schwartz, ex-CEO of Sun Microsystems tweeted a haiku to announce his resignation:

Financial crisis
Stalled too many customers
CEO no more

Why does haiku wordplay – especially around such serious topics – make us smile?

It’s all in our brains.

Enter neuromarketing research. Using words in unexpected ways makes our writing more persuasive, more easily remembered – and can even provide pleasure.

Yes, that’s right. Funny wordplay gives your readers’ brains a squirt of pleasure-enhancing dopamine. People want to hang on your every word because it makes them feel good.

How cool is that?

Was I aiming for a mass reader dopamine squirt when I wrote the blog post? Nope. It never even crossed my mind. Doh!

I wrote the post because it was fun to write. In a career universe full of meta description how-to guides (it’s a really great guide, but wow) and algorithms and RankBrain, you gotta shake it up somehow.

How you can light up your readers’ brains

Working with wordplay is fun. The key is thinking out of the box.

For instance…

I was driving behind an airport hotel shuttle with the slogan “Suite Ride” on the back. I laughed – but more importantly, I remember the brand (Marriott.)

Duluth Trading Company has a popular line of comfortable men’s work pants called Ballroom Jeans (I’ll let you figure out the wordplay.)

If haiku and unexpected word combinations aren’t your style, try textual metaphors like:

It was a hairy situation.

Learn to sell without feeling slimy.

Are you having a rough day?

Textural words like hairy, slimy and rough activate the sensory parts of our brains. While we’re reading the copy, our brains metaphorically feel slime, hairiness and roughness.

See? There are lots of ways to make your writing fun again.

Ready to play with wordplay?

What do you think of today’s post? Can you work some fun wordplay into your writing? Contact me and let me know (or leave a comment.) I’d love to hear from you!

It’s time to sign off
Enjoy playing with wordplay
Talk to you next week!

This info-packed post originally appeared in my weekly newsletter — it’s where I share my best stuff. Here’s how to sign up!

Smart Copywriting for Savage 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 / Flickr.com

Create Killer Content: Copy These Powerful Formulas

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 / Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

Does Your Writing Make Your Clients Money? With Brian Massey

Rock conversions with A/B split testing!

Rock conversions with A/B split testing!

Brian Massey is known as “The Conversion Scientist” for good reason, beyond the trademark and his signature lab coat. He has immersed himself in the science of conversions-driving online content for over 20 years, founded on hard data gleaned from analytics and testing.

We caught up with Brian to ask him about A/B conversion testing, as well as how and why writers should add this skill set to their offerings. His responses are candid and rich with details – you’ll want to savor and bookmark this one!

Read more

How to make prospects want you, again & badly!

Greetings! Glad you’re back, as Heather has created another awesome SEO copywriting video! Today, she talks about how to make prospects desperately want your product or service…even more than before…and right now!

Of her favorite copywriting strategies, Heather discusses how to tap these most compelling buyer buttons: exclusivity & perceived value. And this is really fun, as it applies to day-to-day life!

Ever go to a club or restaurant and see this?

  • Wow… looks exclusive, doesn’t it?

 If you’ve ever gone out to an exclusive night club or a highbrow restaurant, or per chance just walked by and spotted that velvet rope with that long line of people, cued up waiting to get into the place…

  • Don’t you want to visit even more than before?

Even if you didn’t want to go into that club or restaurant before, you can’t help but think “Wow! I wonder what’s going on in there?” because it helps build perceived value and it looks exclusive.

  • The “velvet rope effect”

This is something that is called “the velvet rope effect” and it helps to bolster “perceived value.”

So, instead of your prospects feeling like “Wow – everyone has access to this, so it’s not a big deal,” they think about it as: “Only a select few people get to know what I know,” and it helps make them feel special.

So here’s how you can work with this exclusivity/velvet rope message in your own marketing:

How the velvet rope effect can strengthen your marketing

  • Increase Twitter sign-ups by promising followers that they will be the “first to know” about any special sales.
  • Mention in your copy that your “services aren’t for everyone…just for a select few.”
  • Give “special” customers early access to sales
  • Increase your prices!

So for example, if you want to get more Twitter followers, one thing you can do is say that when you release a sale or something special goes on, you’ll tell your Twitter followers first!

You can also do this via a newsletter, so that way folks will realize that they are the “V.I.P” That way, your core group of subscribers will realize that they are all that and a bag of chips, VIP: they will get that that information before anyone else, and so they’ll be more likely to sign up for whatever you are offering!

 

 

photo thanks to Don Hankins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How good pick-up lines can help you write better B2B Web copy

When you were single, did you use the same pick-up line every time?

If you were talking to the smart guy (or girl,) you probably led with a brainy comment.

If a hockey fan caught your eye, you’d chat about the Stanley Cup and the Bruins.

If you thought an outdoorsy-looking person looked hot, you may mention your love for everything REI.

The key is, you’d change what you’d talk about depending on your, um, target audience. I bet it even came naturally. You’d do it to make a a better connection, faster – and move him or her to your next conversion step (asking them out.)

Why don’t we take the same care with our web copy?

Many B2B websites use the same pick-up line, expecting it to work with every audience they serve.

Rather than personalizing the reader pitch, their copy is the equivalent of “Hey, baby. How YOU doin’?”  It’s general. It’s untargeted. It’s all about them. And it doesn’t show that the company understands anything about their target audience.

Sure, this approach may work some of the time. But it won’t work most of the time. Here’s what to do instead:

I’ve talked before about creating vertical-specific landing pages for B2B copy. This gives companies two distinct advantages:

  • You can speak specifically to what’s important to a defined customer persona. For instance, dental offices and real estate agents buy mailing lists. However, the benefits to a real estate agent (finding possible home buyers within a certain demographic group,) is different than dental offices (finding families within a certain zip code.)
  • Splitting your pages up by vertical allow you to capitalize on less competitive (but still highly targeted) keyphrases. For instance, it could be tough to gain a competitive ranking for the phrase “mailing list.” It’s a heck of a lot easier to position for “real estate agent mailing lists.” Plus, searchers entering your site off that phrase would be highly targeted.

For instance, let’s look at this example from Constant Contact:

You can see how the company was able to customize the copy (and the application list) for the target audience.

Compare this to another Constant Contact page targeted towards consultants:

See what they’re doing? Their pick-up lines are personalized for the audience. They know what real estate agents and consultants want to hear – and it’s addressed in the copy. The “voice” is personal and friendly, not the B2B equivalent of “How YOU doin’?”

In short, the way they wrote their copy helps them make a better connection, faster, with their audience.

And I bet their copy converts like crazy, too.

What do you think? What’s your favorite way of connecting with your target audience?

Does Your Content Piss People Off?

A few days ago, my husband and I were watching an ad for Teleflora. It was your typical Valentine’s Day ad – a woman received flowers at work – but they were brown and wilted. She was obviously disappointed. The lesson: If you don’t purchase your flowers from Teleflora, the love of your life may question how much you really care.

The ad made my husband angry. First, he said, why are all Valentine’s Day ads targeted towards men? Why aren’t there any targeted towards women? After all, they buy Valentine’s Day gifts too (good point.)

But what made him the most angry was what he felt was the subtext of the ad. In his words, “OK, so I’m a tool if I don’t send flowers – and I’m even more of a tool if I send flowers and they aren’t the right kind. Men can’t win.”

(Fair disclosure: My wonderful husband celebrates Valentine’s Day 365 days a year. His ad resistance had everything to do with the messaging, and nothing to do with the concept of celebrating your beloved.)

When you’re writing copy, it’s so important to consider how the target audience will feel about your content. On the surface, the Teleflora ad was probably seen as witty and original. But since the target audience is men – and men are getting told yet again that their gifts had better measure up on Valentine’s Day – how effective was this ad, anyway?

This is especially important if you’re writing copy about “touchier” subjects. For instance, think of people who need high-risk car insurance and SR-22 forms. This population is already facing higher insurance fees, and are dealing with the stigma of needing a SR-22 in order to drive. If you are part of this target audience, would you rather read:

“Accidents, violations = OK!” (The General Car Insurance) or…

“This is auto insurance for people that many insurance companies do not desire to insure or for people that have had a policy cancelled” (High Risk Auto Insurance Ontario.)

You see the difference? The General makes a positive statement (OK!) while the other site reminds the visitor that yes, they did mess up royally.

As I stated in “Do You Know What Your Prospects Are Really Thinking”, your target audience is looking for excuses to NOT buy from you. When you write content that disempowers, embarrasses or freezes prospects with fear, they won’t react well. In fact, the only reaction you may see are huge bounce rates.

The important takeaway from these examples is to always – and I mean always – put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Ask yourself how you’d feel if you read the copy. Would you feel empowered and positive (OK!) Or would you feel like, no matter what you did, it wouldn’t be good enough (Teleflora.)

Focus on writing copy that’s empowering, exciting and informative. You won’t piss people off – and your site conversions will show it.