October 31, 2012
By Karon Thackston © 2012, All Rights Reserved
For the fourth year running, Econsultancy (a UK-based e-commerce consulting organization) has released its Conversion Rate Optimization Report for 2012. Among other things, the report outlines several methods that companies use to improve conversion rates. According to a chart, shown in the middle of this infographic...one of the easiest and most valuable ways to achieve desired conversion rates is with copy optimization.
Being easy to implement and providing higher value than other methods (such as competitor benchmarking and abandonment emails), copy optimization gets to the heart of the matter quickly. Combine that with A/B testing and other techniques and you've got an optimization plan that is destined to increase conversions.
What Is Copy Optimization and How Does It Work?
The copywriting on your web pages should be optimized for several different factors, including:
Your Target Customers
It's difficult to persuade people to do what you'd like them to do if you don't understand who they are, what matters to them, or how to write in a language that motivates them to take action.
If you haven't taken the time to thoroughly investigate and study your customers, you should. I wouldn't make another change until you get an iron-clad evaluation of your customers. Ask questions, read testimonials and customer feedback, pull out the complaints you've received in the past and see if (underneath all the frustration) there are some great ideas waiting to be put into place.
THEN go back and take a fresh look at your copy. Does it really communicate with your site visitors or is it just words somebody in a cubicle somewhere slapped up on a web page?
If you have a lengthy sales and conversion process, the copy needs to provide information in a way that makes it easy to understand.
Sometimes that may mean using a single page in long-form copy. Other times it might require the copy to be broken down across several pages. Understanding (and testing!) the best process is crucial to success. You could have the greatest product and the best price of any site on the Internet, but if people can't follow the process of buying, you'll have few – if any – sales.
You read the copy you wrote and it makes perfect sense to you. You have your staff read the copy and it makes perfect sense to them. So it must make perfect sense to your customers, right? WRONG!
A lack of clarity is a serious and very common mistake that millions of websites make every day. And it's one that can cost you big in conversions and sales. Skip the jargon. Break down the insider mumbo jumbo and lay out your information in simple, easy-to-understand language and you'll do yourself – and your site visitors – a favor.
The Search Engines
Poor SEO copywriting flow is yet another critical mistake almost every website makes. For years I've been teaching live audiences and those who've taken my Step-by-Step Copywriting Course that if you want to drive qualified traffic to your web pages via the search engines, you'll need to include certain elements in the copy. This isn't difficult to do, but it is strategic.
It starts with your Google (or Bing) snippet. It astonishes me that when folks are writing pay-per-click (PPC) ads, they take great care to phrase each word just right. But for their free "advertisement" on the organic search engine results pages (SERPs), they simply fill the space with keyword after keyword.
Not only is your listing your customers' first exposure to your site, it is your only opportunity to persuade them to click *your* listing as opposed to all the others on the page. Once visitors do arrive on your site, the information they see on your landing page has to deliver quickly or those potential customers will just click away.
Laying fingers to keyboard and typing madly until you fill a certain amount of space is not considered copywriting or copy optimization. To do it right and make every word count, follow the suggestions above.
Want more, in-depth help with copy optimization? Check out a webinar Jill and I recorded.
It will show you how correcting three common mistakes increased conversions by 86%.
Karon Thackston is the President of Marketing Words, Inc., and has over 25 years of combined experience in marketing, advertising, copywriting, and SEO copywriting. Want to learn more about excellent SEO copywriting and content marketing strategies? Subscribe to Karon's Marketing Words Copywriting Blog today for insightful articles and more.
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