Why I Don’t Call Myself a Conversion Copywriter (even though my copy converts)
Conversion copywriting is important, but it’s not the end-all, be-all for successful online entrepreneurs. I know, I know. You’re probably already arguing with me, but here’s the thing: Copy that connects is far more important than copy that converts.
Let me explain.
Conversion copywriting, direct response copywriting, sales copy, copy tht converts… whatever you call it, copywriters who can deliver solid conversions are worth their weight in gold. And for good reason… as a business owner, you want conversions. Actually, you need them, because without turning a profit, you’re just spending a lot of time on an expensive hobby.
Hold up, Leigh Ann. What do you mean by “conversion copywriting” exactly”
I’m so glad you asked! In a nutshell, conversion copywriting is a type of persuasive writing that leads your potential clients or customers to buy. The words on the page (or screen, more likely) compel the reader to take action because it speaks directly to them and the problem they want to solves (directly, as in direct response … it all makes sense!)
When a potential client or customer reads your copy and clicks that buy button, you have a successful conversion! Pop the champagne bottle and do it all over again.
When Conversion Copywriting Feels Inauthentic
Here’s the thing: a lot of direct response or conversion copywriting can come off kinda, well… sleazy. If you’re not careful, persuasive writing in the marketing world can get downright manipulative.
Only 3 seats remaining!
Hit six figures in just a few short months!
Act now, or stay a loser forever!
Okay, maybe that last one isn’t said with those exact words, but it’s definitely the vibe that a lot of unethical marketers use.
Conversion Copywriting Can Turn Manipulative & Unethical
Yeah, I said it. Unethical.
Personally, I am over that kind of manipulation in the marketing industry. And I don’t think I’m alone: according to Social Media Today, 90% of consumers say that authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands to support.
Unethical copywriting seeks the sale by playing on consumers’ fears, self-doubts, insecurities, and aspirations. It dredges up that icky feeling you get when the stereotypical used car salesman gets you trapped in a cacophony of circular reasoning and high-pressure, emotionally manipulative language.
People crave connection. After the sh*t show that was 2020, we are all pretty damn desperate for connection. And because we’ve all been online so much, most of us have gotten pretty good at sniffing out BS. We’re tired of the fake news and the fake gurus and the fake influencers posing on fake jets.
So it should come as no surprise that fake urgency and inauthenticity stick out like a sore thumb in sales copy today.
If your copy fails to create genuine connection with your audience, your business will fail to achieve conversions.
It’s no longer enough to have a good product at a decent price point targeted to the right demographic—consumers today demand more substance from the brands they choose to support. Gen Z is especially fired up about connecting with the mission and values behind brands.
A Google survey asked Gen Z users about their buying habits and discovered pretty clearly that this generation needs to feel that the brands they buy from are “a representation of their values, their expectations of themselves and their peers.”
Taking Your Copy From Salesy to Sincere
Copy that Connects > Copy that Converts
I firmly believe that copywriting MUST begin by building connections with your audience before any thought of selling begins.
And so I don’t call myself a conversion copywriter. I write to build connections. To form relationships between the reader and the brand. To understand where the audience is, where they want to be, and how the brand I’m writing for can help them get there.
Side note: if I don’t actually believe that the brand I’m writing for can help them get there, I won’t be writing for that brand any longer. I refuse to help people sell smoke and mirrors.
When you have a genuine connection with your people, conversions will follow, and you’ll be on your way to an even greater accomplishment: growing a loyal, enthusiastic fan base that will shout your praises near and far.
Easier said than done, I know. Here are my best tips and tricks for transforming your copy to drive connection.
4 Ways to Write Copy that Builds Authentic Connection
1. Build Connection Through Conversation—In Their Voice
I call myself a conversational copywriter. That means that as I write words for my clients, I’m literally carrying on a conversation with the person who will be reading it. I have a dialogue with this person in my head, and I let that out on the page.
But before I can even start to do that, I dive into the actual voice of the people who make up that audience. Not what I assume the audience sounds like, but what they really sound like.
To avoid being that guy, I have to get to know the voice of the audience I’m writing for. I do this a few different ways:
- By jumping into conversations on social media, sometimes as a participant, sometimes as a lurker, I can absorb the style of language people are using.
- I listen to interviews, videos, and other audio content made by people in the target audience.
- Conducting actual interviews with people in the demographic is always helpful, whenever possible.
- I sleuth out what other successful brands are doing (not to copy them, because that’s lame, but to glean brand and voice insights).
And I always, always keep this truth in mind: conversation is a two-way street. If you’ve ever been stuck with a person who is a bad conversationalist, you know what it’s like when there’s no give and take. No one wants to be talked AT or OVER.
So when I write conversational copy, I always have the reader in mind. Call it the target audience if you will, or the ICA, or the dream clients or whatever…but the words I type are a part of a conversation with that person.
2. Keep It Casual With Contractions
Can’t. Don’t. Won’t. He’s. They’ve. We’re… that’s how people talk. How’s it going is more natural than, hello how are you today? It’s okay to play with the language rules. You’re not writing an essay for your high school English teacher (that was me a few years ago, btw).
Unless your brand is luxury-oriented or purposefully formal, you should embrace casual language. Don’t take it too far though. If you start dropping weird “cool kid lingo” left and right, your audience will see right through you. Or worse, you may be guilty of appropriating someone else’s culture, for example using AAVE to sell shoes to affluent suburban white kids.
3. Avoid The Wall of Text
Attention spans are short. Various media outlets report that the attention span for Gen Z is just 8 seconds, even less than the 12 seconds Millenials are able to focus. (I tried finding the original source but just landed on a bunch of broken links…Entrepreneur.com seems reliable, but who know? Could be some oft-repeated internet lore. Still, it seems to check out).
When you’re writing copy that will be read online – blogs, captions, emails, web page copy…you have to break it up!!
- Use line breaks.
- Add in all caps for emphasis.
- Use em dashes. (don’t @ me—I love em dashes almost as much as I love Oxford commas, and I’m willing to fight).
- Sprinkle in some emojis.
- Insert gifs or super short videos.
Anything you can do to direct the reader’s gaze and draw their eye on a journey through the page will help them stop the scroll and really focus on what you want them to read.
4. Keep Your CTAs Simple and Clear
Every piece of copy you write should have ONE clear and easy call to action. Click the link in my bio, book a call, drop an emoji, comment with the latest book you’ve read, share this post on Twitter.
One call to action. Be direct and tell the audience what you want them to do after reading your post. The goal here is to drive interaction and engagement.
If you don’t tell your audience what to do next, they’ll probably do nothing. Make it easy, and if you’ve done your job of connecting with your audience authentically, you’ll start to see the benefits.
How Do You Create Copy That Connects?
I’d love to hear what you do to build connection with your audience. Tell me in the comments!
Interested in learning more about my services? Head to leighannzerr.com/services to take a peek at what I have to offer!