How to Write for Conversions + The Sales Funnel


Who knew writing for the web 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?

Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.

When you're considering starting a blog, or 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.

Define Relevant.

Since the search engines work on algorithms and can’t read your mind, they rely on highly sophisticated and technical formulas, which are essentially a computer’s interpretation of what it thinks is relevant to your search term.

One factor that can make a big difference in relevance is location.

Imagine if you search for Italian Restaurants from your phone while walking down the street in Los Angeles, CA compared to searching for Italian Restaurants as a passenger in the car on the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia, PA. The person searching has the expectation that the search engine will deliver results that are relevant to their specific location, even if they don’t specify that location. Over the past year, Google began refining their voice search even more to match natural linguistics.

“Hey Siri, find the best Italian Restaurant”
How then does a business that sells to customer’s across the country and across the world become relevant in a search without a location being specified? You guessed it! Website copy. It’s a rather simple concept, but the strategy behind good copywriting is to deliver both quality content as well as relevant content…all at the same time.

Here are four laser focused suggestions for how to write for the web:

1. Identify Your Goal:

If you are selling something, stay focused on selling that item. Consider this: Every time a person clicks somewhere, it is a persuasion for them to move to the next element. 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.

The Digital Sales & Marketing Funnel

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 typically ready to buy anything yet. If you can pinpoint what types of questions your audience has at these very different stages of the sales funnel, you can offer information to them and be helpful in a way that is not “salesy”.

For example, this particular article that you're reading right now is not a “TOFU” audience. In other words, it's more likely to be attract a reader who already has a blog or a website. Perhaps you are seeking ways to get more traffic to your website or better ways to convert your visitors into paying customers…that is the audience that this particular article is written for. You're in the consideration stage. In this stage, my goal is to give you a deeper understanding of exactly how to structure your own writing for your own audience 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 freebie, 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 (your “Avatar”) to the exact phase of the sales funnel that a particular article caters to is called: “Journey Mapping.”

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.

3. Should you use rhetoric?

The most important factor is to engage your audience. 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.

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.

Email Nurturing

While people don't always give much thought to writing emails when they're thinking about starting a blog, if you want to make money from your blog, it's important to approach email automation and writing emails in much the same way as you would write on your website. Talking to your audience in the same tone that you convey on your website will establish consistency in your brand. I recommend reading this article on Email Automation for more information on why a “newsletter” is not necessarily the best way to convert your list into revenue.

Want to get your hands on 45 Email Templates that you can Copy and Paste? Check out the Free Download: What to Write in Your Emails from my affiliate partner, AWeber. Even if you haven't even started your blog yet, you'll eventually need to consider a good email automation solution that integrates well with your new blog. I highly recommend Aweber.

What to Write in Your Emails

Still feel like you need some expert help with writing your copy? Check out FunnelScripts, a cloud-based software program you can use to generate thousands of headlines and copy that can be used inside your website, emails, and even print collateral.

FunnelScripts Affiliate Partner