Crafting compelling messaging: tips for developing copy that converts
As Simon Sinek (a British-American author, motivational speaker and organizational consultant for those who are unaware!) wisely says, “People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”. We couldn’t agree more – whether you are part of a start-up, non-profit organization, established business or freelancer your messaging should be compelling, convincing and communicate your value clearly.
Amazing copy has the ability to captivate and enchant its target audience all while driving them to pull the trigger on a call-to-action. It does this by piquing their attention, unearthing a pain/problem they're desperate to remedy, and presenting a mutually valuable, solution-driven call-to-action.
So, before you dive into writing a new e-newsletter, blog post, social media content read over the tips below and keep them top-of-mind.
Let’s go over the five most important tips that will help you develop compelling copy that converts:
It all starts with understanding your audience – really, really well.
Based on our experience, most organizations – for profit and non-profit – have at least a few audiences, if not many. Start by creating a list of all the different audiences you wish to reach. It’s not practical to create 20 different messaging frameworks so make sure that all of these audiences are mutually exclusive relative to the value that your organization delivers.
We highly recommend developing a unique and detailed persona for each of your audiences, allowing you to be more aware of their challenges, goals, preferences, lifestyle choices and other foundational information that can provide you with insight into their behaviours and mindset.
When you understand your audience, you can ask yourself; Do they have different problems? Do they use your product and/or service in unique ways? Do you need to use different language when talking to them? Understanding the steps required to move your audience (let’s assume a customer or a donor) from awareness through consideration and finally to action is a critical foundation for great messaging.
Once you understand exactly how your audience makes their decisions, you will be able to develop messages and offer the information they need to move in order to move on to the next step in their journey.
Let’s get emotional!
Before we start getting too emotional, let’s understand why it’s incredibly important to understand the basic psychology surrounding making a purchase/performing an action as a consumer.
Psychology Today wonderfully summarizes consumers behaviours by explaining that the, “…basic message of behavioral economics is that consumers…act against their own economic best interests when making decisions, due to a variety of biases. Consumers are powerfully influenced by their emotions and environmental cues, as well as by how options are presented to them. By becoming aware of these biases, we could develop a better pattern of thinking and deciding.”
So, with that being said, if consumers are completely relying on emotional cues to make decisions it’s in your best interest to identify, understand and cater to those emotions! After all, emotions impact everything we do (even if you’re an analytical person!), this means your call-to-actions must resonate on an emotional level whenever possible.
When you create great compelling messaging that supports your brand you’re effectively tapping into a person’s inner psychology. Knowing this psychology helps you more capably target it and hopefully score higher conversions at the end of the day.
Create urgency and exclusivity
They say you should never get too comfortable in life, after all the more relaxed and comfortable we are physically, the less inclined we are to move and embrace the idea of change. Think about it this way, you’re getting ready for a gloriously lazy evening of binge watching your favourite Netflix show, you sink down into your couch and settle in for the night.
What If someone bursts into your living room, demanding you get up out off your butt to go for a jog – you wouldn’t be so happy. People in general do not enjoy moving once they have become comfortable; this state of mind can be applied to your messaging.
If your copy leaves readers with the impression that your offer will always be there, patiently waiting for them to pull the trigger, they may use that as a justification to not convert on your call-to-action. You leave the door open for them to ponder your offer, consider their options, and weigh the pros and cons. And after all that, they may very well do nothing at all because you gave them the chance to talk themselves out of it.
Always remember to create some sense of urgency, even if it’s minor. Perhaps set a deadline or use time-sensitive language like “Offer ends in 24 hours!”, or “These savings won’t last forever.” You can also play the scarcity card, reminding your audience that “There are only a few seats left”, or that “Supplies are limited!”.
When crafting messaging that focuses on urgency, the goal is to make your potential consumers feel uneasy about waiting – sometimes you have to play up to your audiences’ FOMO (fear of missing out) in order to motivate them to decide. As odd as it may sound, the more uncomfortable they are, the more likely it is they’ll be compelled to act!
Avoid sounding like a used car sales man
The term “Used car salesman” is synonymous for sleazy, pushy, crooked sales. It’s too bad, really. Sure, there may be some dishonest used car salespeople, but certainly the entire industry can’t be that bad. Unfortunately, the stereotype persists.
Why? Because we’ve all experienced the greasy, false friendship of that kind of salesperson. It’s off-putting, to say the least, and leaves us walking away shaking our heads feeling like we wasted our time and didn’t receive anything of value.
When crafting compelling messaging we want to avoid using any wording that may come off as vague, or “salesy” – this kind of wording can foster plausible deniability and distrust amongst your audience.
Often times terms like “researches believe” and “most people think” are labelled as weasel words - rightfully so, they make messaging appear specific and meaningful, all while remaining inconclusive and vague. Avoid the weasel words when you can.
Your writing will be stronger, more authoritative, and more compelling for it.
A few great examples are below:
- “Super Hand Cream fights dryness.” (i.e., you might not win.)
- “Reduce teeth sensitivity with Senso-Paste!” (i.e., you won’t cure it.)
- “Lease from as little as…” (i.e., you’re probably going to spend more.)
- If you’re going after an experimental software as as service (SaaS) audience, then give them a “Start your free trial now” CTA.
- If you know your target audience to be curious and discovery-oriented, then serve them a “See how it works!” CTA.
- It all starts with understanding your audience – really, really well
- Let’s get emotional!
- Create urgency and exclusivity
- Avoid sounding like a used car sales man
- Customize your call-to-actions - not everyone is the same!