How to Write for Conversions + The Digital Sales Funnel
What is a Sales Funnel?
The process of introducing a prospective customer to your product or service by leading them through a natural progression toward purchase is called a sales funnel. Digital marketing has changed how the traditional sales funnel works because prospective customers can learn about products and services by performing their own research online. Furthermore, the game has changed because not only do savvy buyers do more research than ever before in history, they are also interrupted by various forms of digital media such as ads, emails, popups, push notifications and even live streams.
Who knew writing for conversions would be any different from any other form of writing?
No matter how beautiful a website design looks, your site is just not complete without great copy. From headlines and captions to the text in the meta-data fields, your words are what convert a website visitor into a paying customer.
Is your strategy working?
Do you even have a strategy yet?
When you're considering starting a blog for the purpose of making money with your blog, or even if you're just looking for ways to optimize your website, copywriting is one of the most important but overlooked components to a brand’s overall marketing efforts from building a website to their digital marketing plan to their customer service.
Consider the first thing you do when you find out about something that is “new to you.” Most of us perform a Google search. Yet the way people search for information online is very different today from what it was even one year ago.
Think about your own online behavior today in comparison to what it was 3, 5, or even 10 years ago. The expectation is that Google will deliver search results that are relevant to the words you just typed.
Here are four laser focused suggestions for how to write for conversions:
1. Identify Your Goal:
If you are selling something, stay focused on selling that one item. Consider this: Every time a person clicks somewhere, it is a persuasion for them to move to exactly what you want them to do next. Perhaps your goal is to get your visitor to read another blog, or, perhaps you want them to buy the vegetables that you sell, the end result is the same — to “sell” the user on a specific action. By giving careful thought to exactly how each sentence is written you can lead the website visitor to your “goal.” Think of words on your website as they fit into a specific location in the sales funnel. Words that work: Click Here, Buy Now, Learn More. In order to lead your prospect down a natural “funnel” you need to be very specific by instructing them on exactly what you want them to do next.
Top of the Sales Funnel vs Middle vs Bottom
The way you speak to someone who is in the “Top of the Funnel” (TOFU) stage (also called the Awareness stage) is very different from how you'll speak to someone who is further down the funnel. When someone is first becoming “aware” of a new product or service, they are typically seeking information and doing research. They are not ready to buy anything yet.
If you can pinpoint what types of questions your audience has at the “top” of the funnel compared to the “middle” of the funnel compared to the “bottom” of the funnel (all very different stages of the sales funnel) you can offer information to them and be helpful in a way that is not “salesy”.
Here is an example: this particular article that you're reading right now is for a Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) audience. In other words, you likely already have a blog and you're looking for ways to optimize it. The language I'm using in this article is not likely to attract a reader who doesn't have their blog set up yet, because they are not thinking about “conversion” or “optimization” yet.
Although this is just a guess, it's much more likely that you are seeking ways to get more traffic to your website or better ways to convert your visitors into paying customers…so I'm going to address those kinds of questions which lend themselves to the middle of the funnel.
Right now, you are likely in the consideration stage, the MOFU (middle of the funnel). In this stage, you already recognize that you have a problem (you need to convert your website visitors into customers).
The goal with a middle of the funnel article is to give you a deeper understanding of exactly how to structure your writing so that you can start to guide your website's visitors toward a conversion.
Whether that is to join your email list, to download a free lead magnet, to take a quiz, or to book an appointment with you, your words are what turn a website visitor into a loyal fan and eventually, a paying customer. This process of matching up your intended target customer to the exact phase of the sales funnel that a particular article caters to is a marketing concept called: “Journey Mapping.”
Every Sentence and Call-to-Action Should Have a Purpose
Every word on your website should have a purpose. By using clear language, you can effectively direct people to exactly what you want them to do next. A website is not a research paper, if you use overly technical language, it becomes confusing to the majority of the visitors.
To get the most value from each of your visitors, focus on using simple, descriptive words, proper grammar, and clear instructions. Avoid phrases that contain jargon or industry-specific terms unless they are totally necessary. Would you rather buy “locally grown, organic vegetables” or “vegetables grown under biodynamic farming principles which have a greater focus on astrological cycles and the idea of the farm as a single organism”?
2. Establish your Tone.
Should you take a formal tone? Comical? Sarcastic? Whether your site covers a serious topic or more playful subject matter, the most effective choice is to write in a conversational but slightly formal tone. If your tone is too formal, it can sound too academic, yet if it’s too playful, you can sound inexperienced. In fact, recent studies have shown that when browsing the internet, people pay extra attention to website content written in a conversational tone. It is important to note, however, that writing in a conversational tone does not mean using profanity or using poor vocabulary.
Some websites speak conversationally with a light tone, while others cater to a very formal tone. The voice you establish through your words should match your brand image and remain consistent across all channels. If you are fun and eccentric on Facebook and Twitter, then that same tone should carry across your website. Catering to academia? That website structure would likely be a bit more formal.
Choosing the right words to showcase your brand in the best light is something that many website owners struggle with. The great part about writing, though, it that you have time to look back over your work to make sure your words engage and connect your audience exactly the way you intend to. You don’t necessarily need a professional copy-editor as long as you follow these guidelines.
The most important factor is to engage your audience. Should you use rhetoric? Using rhetoric (asking questions) is a great way to encourage people to participate. In other words, get your readers thinking about what they would do instead of passively absorbing (or not absorbing) the information you are presenting. Remember, you are speaking to and creating a connection with users; personal pronouns are good option. Have you gone back to re-read a blog post or a sales page to make sure it speaks to the correct stage of the sales funnel? Let me know in the comments below.
4. Edit, edit, edit!
Nothing can make or break your website like good editing. Every word needs to be read and reread until it makes sense, is grammatically correct, and without error. Painting a picture with words and images works wonders, but if you have errors in sentence structure or spelling, your visuals will be overlooked instead of completing the package.
Make sure to keep things simple. It is much more effective to be succinct and leave out technical or industry language. Think about it, we rarely use complex vocabulary in everyday conversation, so keep the main copy easy to read and extrapolate only for the most technical information.
While people don't always give much thought to writing emails when they're starting a blog, if you want to make real money from your blog, it's important to approach email automation and writing emails in much the same way as you would write copy for your website's sales or conversion pages. Talking to your audience in the same tone that you convey on your website will establish consistency in your brand. To learn more about email nurturing, download my free checklist!
Want more advice and expert tips for growing your blog?
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