There’s a lot to consider about when you’re putting together your on-site campaigns. Thinking through the timing and targeting often means that writing great copy can get overlooked.
Timing and targeting are essentials that make sure your designs get seen by the right person at the right time on your site. But without great copy, you’ll lose out on the opportunity to turn that new visitor into a subscriber or customer.
Even if you’re not a grammar nerd like me, it’s easy to write copy that can drive meaningful conversions. Here are a few tips for writing great headlines without a lot of headache.
Keep It Simple
It’s an old adage, but one we couldn’t agree with more: Keep it simple. While you may want to tell your visitors every possible reason they should give you their email address or make a purchase, instead, pick the most compelling one and go with it. Your audience will likely glance at your pop up or bar for fraction of a second—so, like a street sign, make sure that your message is clear and easy to read and digest.
If you have lots of reasons, that’s great! Use audience targeting to match the most compelling reason for your different audience types with the right person. Or, use A/B testing to find the copy that resonates best with your audience.
Maybe that’s speaking about a specific product on that product’s page or mentioning a social media campaign for visitors coming in from Facebook or Instagram. You’ll make much more of an impact than trying to say every reason all at once.
Similarly, be specific. When you write, it’s important to answer the “five W’s”: Who, what, where, when, and why.
Believe it or not, you probably have space to answer each one of these questions in just a few lines.
A great way to capture the “who,” is to use a technique called direct address. This means writing as if you were speaking directly to someone, using “you.” It’s generally a more friendly technique and starts the conversation with a visitor, which you’ll continue with your email marketing.
This sounds obvious, but make sure to say what it is you’re promoting! Is it a specific product, a special offer your Facebook page, or your email list? Say so! Even though you know how awesome you are, the average visitor probably doesn’t—so give them a reason to take a second look.
The where is often implied online, but just like the what, you want to make sure you’re including enough detail that your visitor can act on your request. Where do they sign up? Do they fill out a form, click a button, or enter a coupon at checkout? Direct them where to go so that you can both reap the benefits of your relationship.
If you’re promoting a time-based offer, be sure to include those details—is it a flash sale for just a few hours or a whole weekend of promotions? When in doubt, a good answer is “now!” We’ll talk more about creating a sense of urgency in a minute.
Last, but most important, is why. The why is everything that makes up your brand. Why is your potential customer here in the first place? It’s not your products (though it helps) but who you are as a brand that brought them there. Any time you write, you should be true to your “why.”
Create a Sense of Urgency
One way to encourage conversion is to create a sense of urgency. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to put, “BUY NOW!” in all caps. There are subtle ways to tip off to your customers that they should act fast before time runs out.
One way to do this is to show scarcity—think about adding “Only X left!” or, “Get ‘em before they’re gone!” to a specific giveaway promotion or showcasing that a particular product is custom, handmade, or otherwise special enough that there aren’t very many or that they may be gone soon.
The other way to do this is to make it clear that the offer is good for a limited time. That means including language like, “Today only,” or “Just a few hours left…” Including elements like a countdown timer ups the ante on the sense of urgency.
Make your visitors curious about what will happen. People love to feel important (I mean, who doesn't?) so give your visitors a chance to be part of something special, like a VIP offer or access to exclusive online content. Make them want to give them their email. This can be done without ever offering a discount—see our example above from Uncommon Goods.
Use Social Proof
Since most shopping is done completely online, there’s no longer the ability for someone to touch a product, turn it over in their hands, and evaluate it before purchasing. Most of your customers will be pouring over reviews of your store or your specific products before purchasing—so make it easy for them to feel good about what they’re buying by including positive reviews or calling attention to the fact that other people think your products rock.
This is called “social proof.” Basically, it means that people are more likely to do something if they know other people have done it before and liked it. Purchasing a 5-star product or double checking reviews that a garment is true to size gives visitors the confidence to make a purchase, especially if they’ve never made one before.
That means including the number of stars or overall rating in your language, showcasing your reviews on popular sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, adding quotes from enthusiastic customers, or noting that something is your “most popular” or “highest rated” product.
Keep It Consistent
Good writing means good grammar. Brush up on your grammar rules and keep it consistent when it comes to style and design. For instance, if every header on your website capitalizes each word, then you’ll want to do the same on your pop ups.
Yes, it’s boring. But it’s those kind of details that separate the great brands from the good ones.
And a typo won’t look good no matter how awesome your product is. Make sure you’ve double checked everything for misspellings, errant commas, or other common errors that even the best writers can make. If your message isn’t clear, then you’ll definitely miss out on the opportunity to convert your visitors.
The key to all of this? Be human. Today’s consumers can smell a marketer a mile away. To really grab someone’s attention, you have to speak to them on an emotional level—on a human level.
Lean into your product’s use cases and tell a story, even in a few words. Don’t be afraid to invoke fear (or FOMO) if that’s part of why consumers buy your product in the first place. When you write, write for the person who’s reading it—if you saw this pop up on another site, would you be compelled to click? Test it out on a friend or two to see whether or not it feels like you and your brand.
Want more great tips like this? Subscribe to our emails to get the best of our content delivered right to your inbox.