Depending on when you get your numbers, your average conversion rate will likely be between 1.5-3%.
Translation: If you have 100 people reading your content, you’ll likely have 1-3 people who will take your desired action.
Before you get totally discouraged or beat yourself up, what I want to point out in this blog post is that the biggest causes of low conversion rates are usually tied to some basic elements, and many marketers often get these basic things wrong. There are so many variables that contribute to your overall conversion, such as copy, design, product, client experience, systems, and more. While I’m not an expert in all of these areas, let me share 4 copywriting mistakes that you need to STOP making so that you hopefully can make some tactical changes to improve your conversion rate today.
First, what does conversion mean?
Conversion is the process of changing, or causing something to change, from one form to another. Conversion does not always equal swiping or tapping your credit card. People first need to read your content. Then the next step is a form of conversion. Focus on getting those small yeses. We need to understand the emotional state of our readers and make it easy and safe for them to say yes to everything you write and communicate.
What’s copywriting and do I need it?
Copy = how you organize your words to attract action that will fast track your sales process and deepen the relationship between you and your customers
I like to think of it this way: Copy is a vehicle that gets you from point A to point B and the quality of your vehicle will determine how FAST you can get your audience to their desired destination. Let’s say my vehicle (a.k.a. my copy) is a Lamborghini and your vehicle is a bike. I’m probably gonna beat you because my vehicle is stronger and faster than your vehicle. This is why if your copy fails to communicate the true value of what you do, it doesn’t matter whether you have a great product or a solid strategy – your conversion rate can still flop.
Now that we’ve got all the jargon out of the way, let’s talk about the 4 mistakes you need to stop making now.
Mistake 1: Using “I” too much
Solution: Focus on “YOU” language
If you feel like you can’t write good copy, start here. Changing from “I” to “You” is just a small learning curve, but man, this principle is so important and it will ALWAYS be effective because this is how humans like processing information.
When writing copy, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How would you feel if you’re talking to someone and the conversation is dominated by the other person speaking only about themselves? You’d probably tune out pretty quickly and wouldn’t pay much attention to what the other person is saying, right?
The same concept holds true in copywriting. If an ad or marketing piece speaks only about a business in the first person, it’s not as compelling to customers as an ad that speaks about and to them in the second person.
When you’ve completed writing the copy, take the time to read it and count how many times you use “you”. As a rule of thumb, make sure you use second person pronouns in at least 80% of your copy and first person pronouns in no more than 20% of your copy. This will give you a good balance and ensure that your ad speaks directly to your customers.
Mistake 2: Weak Headlines
Solution: Headlines that grab attention and convey benefits
Did you know 80% of people only read headlines? That’s right. One of the things I always do for my clients or when I review my students’ work is make sure I can get the core concept of what they’re trying to say by reading just the headlines.
So if your About page headline is something like “About Me”, you’re wasting crazy valuable real estate on your website. Because “About Me” doesn’t actually tell me anything about you or why I should keep reading.
If you want your readers to actually read your stuff, your headlines need to be interesting and they need to do one of these things:
- Grab attention
Try to use words that spark curiosity. Instead of saying “About Me”, try asking a question or telling them the transformation you provide and why it matters to make sure they feel seen and understood.
- Be specific
If people can’t tell what you’re writing about right off the bat, then they won’t keep reading. Last week, the title of my blog post was “The power of nailing your niche: how this photographer launched her marketing business and has a 90% conversion rate”. I could just say “The power of nailing your niche” or “How my client has a 90% conversion rate” and it would have worked. But I wanted to help my audience know what to expect by just reading the headline and to attract more clients who’re thinking about niching and having a better conversion rate. So this headline did the attract and repel effect for me.
- Convey a benefit
People won’t follow you unless you lead them. You need to give people a reason to pay attention to your marketing. Your headlines have to convey a benefit. Not just any benefit, a real, proven benefit. If there’s nothing in it for the reader, they probably won’t be very interested.
Bonus tip: Make sure you actually deliver what you promise in your body copy. Great headlines are just the first step to laying a good impression, and you have to deliver your message in full once you get their attention.
Mistake 3: Trying to be right
Solution: Focus on empathizing with your audience
Have you even landed on a sales page or website that makes you a little bit uncomfortable or insecure? Don’t over-promise and exaggerate the value of their work. There is no one best and only way to do anything and you don’t need to be the “best” in order to attract the right people to your business. People wanna feel seen, understood and known.
You can best attract those whom you understand. Spend some time doing research before writing copy. Be research, I mean talking to a few people and asking them how they feel about the pain points you solve. Tapping into their emotional state can help you develop a better understanding and compassion towards the people you serve.
Mistake 4: Forgetting to ask for the sale
Solution: Give people a reason to take action
A common problem for sales and marketing people is forgetting to actually “ask” for the sale. This doesn’t mean that every single one of your calls to action has to be “buy now”/”pay me”, but you do need to wrap up your sales page or whatever you’re writing with a clear next step so that people know what to do next.
In copywriting, this mistake can be easily made when you focus too much on the benefits of your product or service. If you fail to clearly ask people to take your desired action, the campaign will not deliver results.
Here are a few ways to create effective calls to-action.
- Say it like it is
I’ve seen some “cutesy” calls to action like “Wanna be my bestie? Let’s chat!” I get it – you don’t wanna come across as pushy or desperate. But if you truly believe it’s important for people to take action so that you can help them, don’t water down your message. Instead, say it like it is. If you want people to fill out your contact form to see how you can work together, tell them.
- Address the elephants in the room
This is probably the most underutilized tactic when it comes to calls to action. Most of us only focus on the positive, which is great, but forget to address some roadblocks that could potentially stop people from taking action. Great copy can help you turn these objections into reasons for people to take action.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your pricing. People are already thinking about it, so process it with them.
Here’s an example of my services page
- Use scarcity and back it up by reasoning
Listen –do this ethically. Don’t say you only have 2 spots when you actually have more capacity. The psychological theory behind this tactic is that when your options are restricted, the importance of keeping these options available makes your audience want them even more. Also, whenever you use this technique, tell them why. For example, why do you only have 2 spots/month? Is it to make sure you can give a high-touch experience for each client? Or do you typically spend most of your energy and time on a different product, but decided to make this one-time-only offer?
There’s actually a study called The Copy Machine that shows the power of the word “Because”. Langer had people request to break in on a line of people waiting to use a busy copy machine on a college campus. The researchers had the people use three different, specifically worded requests to break in line. What they found was that the word “because” resulted in more compliance.
What does this mean? People use reasons to justify their behaviour. Make sure you tell them why you do what you do.
- Put more weight on not taking action
We’re all survival-driven individuals. We take action when we know what’s at stake and the consequences of not doing what we’re supposed to do. The problem is, your audience doesn’t know better. They have no idea what would happen if they stayed stuck, and it’s your job to tell them. People also like to be challenged. So anytime when you can remind them why they’re experiencing their problems and the consequences of not taking action, the more likely they will take action.
If you want to have a stronger CTA, you can paint a picture that goes beyond just getting their problem solved.
E.g., if you help coaches book more clients, you may want to tell them what it would look like when they finally have more clients to serve. Do they get to make a bigger impact? Are they gonna be able to help people do XYZ to really creat change in the world? Tap into that! Go deeper.
Thanks for reading. If you want more practical ideas for writing high-converting copy and selling well with words, join my email list here.