There's a massive difference between a copywriter and a conversion copywriter. You've likely hired the former, meaning you've worked with a blogger, ebook writer, or newsletter writer.
They've come in, knocked out a few projects, and maybe stayed on as an ongoing freelancer to meet all of your content needs.
If they're especially good, then you're likely barely writing any of your own content, if at all. If they're good, they're handling everything from your blog to your lead magnets, and everything in between.
They'll research topics, identify gaps in your content, edit pieces before publication, work in tandem with designers on your branding (unless they do that themselves), shape language, etc.
You get the idea...
But a conversion copywriter works with one goal in mind: to get you conversions.
It's all performance-based.
This means one thing: if you're looking to build up your B2B or B2C content and branding, your Google Ads, or your SEO, you should be hiring a copywriter. But if you want to increase your sales or other conversions, you should work with a conversion copywriter.
Ideally, in the best-case scenario, you'd want to work with both, so the conversion copywriter can lead the charge and inform your copywriting team what's needed, why, and how to go about it.
But first thing's first, before you go contacting a conversion copywriter on a whim, let's dive deep into this role and see why it's so important to business success. Here's everything you need to know about how to find and hire the right conversion copywriter.
When you’re looking for a conversion copywriter, you want a writer who can drive sales and conversions – not just someone who fulfills copy and content needs. That’s what a regular copywriter does.
A conversion copywriter, on the other hand, writes copy based on conversion optimization strategies, i.e. copy that produces quantitative results. Their skillset is more specialized than a regular copywriter.
Suffice it to say that all professional writers, in every niche, are exceptional at what they do. They have to be, or else they don't really get anywhere.
That means authors, bloggers, copywriters, content strategists, journalists, etc. are all hard at work at honing their skills because if they don't, they're not going to amount to much.
Of course, there are many variables among copywriters. For instance, you could have an exceptional copywriter who simply doesn't handle the business side of things well, because they may dislike the idea of pitching themselves to brands.
Don't discount regular copywriters because of that, though. Even though some copywriters don't market themselves well, and therefore lack quality, ongoing work, everyone serves a purpose in helping your business.
Hiring the right copywriter depends on your goals. Regular copywriters can help you fulfill your copy and content needs. Conversion copywriters make sure you get the results you want to see.
In other words, copywriters help you build your arsenal, while conversion copywriters help execute the plan of attack.
For one thing, conversion copywriters wear many different hats. On one hand, they can do everything that a regular copywriter can do. They're skilled writers with lots of experience crafting client copy.
On the other hand, they're all about the numbers. Conversion copywriters don’t just write business copy. They write copy with a purpose: to convert readers. That means you’ll see changes in the number of sign-ups, sales, and other conversions you’re measuring.
They'll monitor web traffic and conversion rates, and they'll create and oversee content reports on either a weekly or monthly basis. They know how to use analytics tools to determine what's working and what isn't.
Conversion copywriters are also skilled at understanding user behavior. They'll take a look at your website and see where people are dropping off or getting lost. They can then create targeted landing pages and calls to action that will lead people in the right direction.
Conversion copywriters generally have more experience than regular copywriters. That means they’ll have the right expertise in crafting different kinds of copy more effectively. This ranges from blog posts, landing pages, press releases, and other kinds of content.
Your press releases will be more focused, as a result, and things like your landing pages, lead generation, and influencer marketing will make more sense within the scope of what you're trying to accomplish.
Plus, conversion copywriters know how to write persuasive headlines, which is an essential skill in today's noisy online environment. So if you're looking for someone who can help you take your business to the next level, you might want to consider working with a conversion copywriter.
If you want your website to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs), you need the help of a conversion copywriter. These professionals understand the art of SEO and know how to create content that will help your website climb the rankings.
SEO is one of the most important aspects of online marketing, and if you don't have a good understanding of it, your website is likely to fall behind your competitors. A good conversion copywriter can help you optimize your content for maximum visibility, helping you to attract more visitors and convert them into customers.
They know how to use keywords and other search engine optimization techniques to help your website rank higher in search results. And since Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, it’s more important than ever to have an SEO-savvy copywriter on your team.
Conversion copywriters are experts at getting more people to take the desired action on your website—whether that’s signing up for a subscription, buying a product, or downloading a white paper. They know how to take any product or service and make it sound irresistible.
They use their skills in persuasive writing to create compelling headlines, calls to action, and other elements of your website that influence behavior. And we’re not just talking about writing copy that sounds good here, we’re talking about copy with the right combination of details that gets people to click.
So, whether it's signing up for a free trial, buying a product, or completing a survey, conversion copywriters know how to get people to act. By understanding your customers' needs and motivations, they can create copy that speaks to your audience directly and encourages them to take action.
For example, they may use persuasive language to create a sense of urgency or make your product seem more valuable. They can also help you design an effective landing page that encourages people to sign up for your email list or download your white paper.
This will make all your copy consistent, branded, and calculated—making your target audience swoon. Everything will be relevant, detailed, beneficial, and most importantly, persuasive without coming across as sales obsessed.
Hiring conversion copywriters leads to a direct change in your sales, sign-ups, and lead quality, maybe even a streamlined branding approach.
They'll work with other copywriters to edit and fact-check work, and ensure everyone is delivering top-notch content that meets audience needs.
That includes ensuring all the benefits and offer specifics are relevant and presented in the best possible way, making sure every shred of detail is cross-checked and given context, and making sure everything gets a grammar and spell check before launch.
Conversion copywriters will also help create visual aids to accompany your written work, working with designers to ensure a cohesive branding approach. This can make your website more recognizable and trustworthy to visitors, which can lead to increased conversions.
But the most important aspect of their role is that conversion copywriters know how to work with language specialists to determine the right tone and style for your audience. It essentially takes the spotlight off you, and your branding wants and needs, and asks, "What about them?"
By meeting audience needs, and using tactics that are metric-proven to work, they guarantee that you'll see a boost in numbers, or they're out of a job.
Just make no mistake—this is more than being good at writing persuasive, engaging, and compelling web copy. Sure, they use their specialized skills to get website visitors to take the desired action, whether it is signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or simply staying on the site longer...
But this point is more about knowing the right combination of words and phrases that come together to 1) form a unique branding style, and 2) consistently touch on details that people actually care about. Put together, it forms an almost magical combination of words that truly generates results.
This brings us to the last point...
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that hiring a conversion copywriter costs more than hiring a regular copywriter.
To put it simply, you get what you pay for. You get quoted based on who they are and what they're known for (established vs starting out), how experienced they are, the project scope, and of course, how much they want to work with you.
If you're an established brand, they might see it beneficial to forgo a couple of hundred dollars in exchange for your name on their portfolio. If you're not, then they might charge their usual going rate, which means if you try to haggle the fees down, they'll likely say no.
And trust me, they will say no if they're good because they have several prospects in the pipeline. They can afford to pass on you because they know someone out there is willing to pay them their value's worth.
Now, we have a very broad view of what conversion copywriters do. So, it's time to dig even deeper and run down the stages of their work.
You can expect conversion copywriters to operate in the three following stages.
If you hire them, they'll likely inform you of this, but it's always better to be prepared in advance, so you know what you're getting into. You might find that you dislike their process, or that their process is just very different from what you're used to.
First, let’s see what these stages are:
This is the stage where the conversion copywriter researches your brand, your audience, your products, services, etc. all with the singular goal of writing persuasive copy.
After all, you can't sell an item you know nothing about. And you certainly can't sell to an audience you don't understand.
But the whole idea is to make sure you are being as strategic as you can in all your business endeavors.
Do you actually convert your leads, or are you simply writing for the sake of writing? Are you paying attention to your other hired help, like the digital marketing consultant, or are you pretty much paying people to give you advice you don't use?
This is a tough pill to swallow for many entrepreneurs with no prior experience working with a conversion copywriter because they're used to telling copywriters what it is they need.
They're used to doing the research themselves ― the buyer personas, the demographic research ― so they think they know what's needed, and they pass that along to the copywriters...
But that only works if you, the entrepreneur, have what it takes to truly know what's needed.
If you have an idea or a gut feeling, or you misinterpret data and then ask for content you don't even need, you've lost valuable resources.
That's a waste of money since you need to pay your writers for something you requested. It's a waste of time they could have spent writing something you genuinely would benefit from.
This means you might as well not pull up your buyer personas. Don't showcase any notes about your audience, unless they specifically ask for them. Don't even assume the brief will be enough information to go on.
Instead, approach the process with an open mind. This copywriter is coming in to analyze your numbers, not your notes.
They're there to look through your products and your audience for themselves, unbiasedly. The more you try to influence their deductions, the less value for your money you're eventually going to get.
Here are some of the things the copywriter will review in this stage:
And then, they will provide you with:
Notice the last one there: a content guide detailing what needs to be written, how, and why. This is a major bonus for a company because it provides the key that unlocks all doors.
If they decide to part ways with the conversion copywriter then and there, at least they got their money's worth in this single-stage ― well, more or less.
Using that guide, they can lead their copywriting team and know that whatever they produce will be more attractive to their audience than anything they've published so far.
But, as with most things, don't make the mistake of assuming this is the best course of action. Although it's suitable for those with smaller budgets, it's also not the full scope of the situation, so if anything, it's a puzzle piece.
And no one is saying that puzzle piece even belongs to the puzzle you think it does.
In other words, a guide is just one elaborate, educated guess. It has a high chance of making a difference, but it may still not be the best course of action for your business, especially when compared to the other possible guesses out there.
The only way to truly know is to continue with the conversion copywriter and get through stages 2 and 3.
Keeping the conversion copywriter on at this point is recommended anyway, since the team will benefit from further assistance from the person who wrote the guide. They can answer questions, pinpoint weak spots, and essentially help train the team.
At this point, things start to get a little more interesting. During stage 2, the conversion copywriter drafts several variations of the guide from stage 1.
Consider it a strategy and hypothesis for your marketing that will work better for your business than whatever it is you've developed.
If that sounds like it's undermining your work, it's not.
There is a difference between an entrepreneur who strives to do everything, including the things he/she may have no prior experience in, versus someone who went through grueling specialized training for this exact thing.
Now, why is there a need for several variations?
Because one guide is just one guess. More versions mean more guesses, with one of them being the copywriter's best possible guess or control point.
Assuming you keep the copywriter on through stage 3, the final guide selected will tell you exactly what you need out of your copy, how to write it, and why. But that's just the basis of information that goes into it. It's only surface level.
The guide is actually going to include a wireframe, assuming they're good.
Here's what you can expect in a wireframe:
This touches on a few things.
For starters, it tells you how to approach flow in the present and future. But more importantly, it touches on the overall look and feel of the copy, and the visual elements it's being paired with.
In essence, it's designing your message loud and clear, from the ground up, with the aid of your UX designer.
Together, they basically take your brand and elevate it to shine through each and every message you publish online.
And this is super important.
It lays the groundwork so that even after the conversion copywriter is gone, your team can carry on producing high-quality, targeted content. It will read well, convert, meet your goals, and look good while doing it.
Instead of feeding a lazy, or misused, brand presence, it streamlines it and presents it in a celebratory way.
And nothing says "Industry leader deserving of recognition" like a well-designed, well-spoken brand image.
By the end of this stage, the designer and the conversion copywriter will have worked back and forth, creating a look for your content that meets your brand requirements, and your audience's needs.
And your team will be happier for it.
Here are 8 effective copywriting strategies that can improve your conversions.
Up until this point, we've been discussing several variations of the guide that will surely change your marketing campaigns for the better.
To recap, the conversion copywriter will create a control point, best guess guide in stage 1, then draft several versions in stage 2.
Well, stage 2 is all about testing those variations in an attempt at finding the perfect fit for your business.
Each variant will be tested and measured by performance (metrics), and then tweaked until the right combination of elements makes a substantial impact on your conversion rates.
Of course, the scope of this largely depends on the client. If the client is established and has a sizable budget, the testing can be done on a large scale, assuming the traffic is there to support it.
It often looks like periodic re-engagements and follow-ups.
But let's face it, most clients aren't going to have the traffic, nor the budget, for something that elaborate, so many times the testing isn't even done.
That means it would be up to you to select the best variant that you want to go with, knowing full well that you also get to file the rest of the variants for future reference.
If at any point you want to test another approach, you can pull up a variant, study up on the notes, and inform your team.
But, of course, you miss out on a lot of insight. And that's only assuming you have the budget to support the writing of those other variations, to begin with.
You won't have a specialist pouring over data with you if you opt for this approach. You won't know what works and what doesn't, because no testing has been done.
And sure, not everyone can afford that level of intense research and testing. Rates for conversion copywriters range based on project scope and involvement, so the less they do, the easier it is on your wallet.
That being said, it's worth the investment if you have the funding, as it can shed light on many variables in marketing that you didn't even consider from the start.
That's why it's highly recommended that you account for at least a small testing scope. Some testing is better than none. Even if the copywriter only makes it through 1-2 variants, it's still going to provide more insight than you would have had otherwise.
Consider this a special note about conversion copywriters and the guide they provide. As previously mentioned, entrepreneurs looking for a relatively cheap solution can end the process in stage 1. The copywriter can provide a guide, and then pack up and leave.
And the company will have a valuable key that helps in all marketing endeavors, especially in terms of content.
However, it is absolutely dangerous to assume that this is a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor.
Many entrepreneurs hire conversion copywriters for a guide, and maybe some variants, and then part ways, assuming that they're "set for life," but that's just not the case.
Sure, the guide helps you out in the short-term, and yes, it can effectively set you up for success well into the future, but...
Here's what that means:
If the guide is a key that opens many marketing doors, what happens when the key isn't the right fit? Unless you have other variants, unless you did some level of testing, you're not going to have any other alternatives.
So, you wind up back where you started...
And that doesn't make for a very good story, does it? You want your CRO to improve, you want to tell freelancers and stable team members what you need and know you really do need that content.
You'd still be wondering what went wrong.
You'd still be second-guessing your marketing steps. You'd have to take the guide and create variants of it yourself, in order to conduct your own testing, all of which is much too time-consuming and labor-intensive for the average entrepreneur.
Not to mention, you're likely not specialized in many areas required to write such a guide, so when you sit down with your UX designer, it will be less of a collaboration, and more of a request for help outside of their field of knowledge.
Approaching this from another angle, suppose the guide is the perfect solution. Despite limiting the scope and working with a limited budget, hiring a conversion copywriter ends up being the best marketing investment you ever made.
Congratulations, you avoided any mishaps, and you're in the clear, right?
Whatever strategy you implement won't work forever.
Think of it like social media. When you first encounter a platform that works, you make use of it. You schedule posts, and your team creates stellar content. Everything goes well for a while, and your traffic and engagement skyrocket.
But then, as time goes on, more people join the platform, and competition gets a little tougher. Suddenly, you need to change hashtags, or elevate content quality, just to keep up with your competitors.
Fast-forward a few years, and you might find that the platform is beyond saturated. Instead, another platform has risen above the fold and is now vastly surpassing any level of success you've ever had.
These are the things that a guide simply can't prepare you for.
The guide cannot be evergreen, giving you an approach that never ages. It is not the marketing equivalent of the elusive fountain of youth. It will not keep you relevant forever and ever.
At some point, new platforms will emerge. At some point, your outlets will become over-saturated and you'll be forced out, along with many others.
Soon enough, your product lines will grow far beyond what you thought was imaginable, requiring a completely new approach.
So, if there's one lesson to take away here, it's that hiring a conversion copywriter is something you can do for relatively cheap, or not. They can provide you with a "best guess," or several guesses.
But at the end of the day, whatever the success of the outcome may be, you'll have to revisit this conversion copywriter when your strategy stops working because it will crumble.
It's only a matter of time.
Avoid these 5 copywriting mistakes that kill conversions.
Of course, although the guide is predominantly what conversion copywriters are known for, that's not all they do. During stage 1, the research entails an extensive review of all facets of your business. That includes mapping out your audience personas.
And this is done through an extensive look at your data. It's much more in-depth than most people go with this step. Consider it to be a hyper-detailed, truly fleshed-out examination of who exactly is buying from you.
Because you already know what buyer personas are, and what they entail, we're not going into extravagant detail here. Just suffice it to say that it is heavily based on numbers, surveys, polls, interviews, and fact-checking.
Once conversion copywriters know your audience inside and out, they focus on the best persuasive hacks for that type of audience.
Unlike growth hacking, which is when you take advantage of the proven marketing strategies to grow your business, online persuasion is more about who the audience is.
And this is when things get a little psychological.
Seven factors influence people:
If you find the person offering you a product or service pleasant, you'll likely pay attention. This is because deep down, if we like someone, we want to carve out some time for them—even if it is just reading their post, engaging with their social media content, or catching up via message or email.
It’s the whole reason why we send memes back and forth with friends. People like to hang out and talk to people who share similar interests. So if you show that you have common ground with them, they’ll probably like you.
The Halo effect, better known as "you are the company you keep," states that the more your brand is associated with positive leaders or influencers, or even memories, the more established you seem.
Think about it this way: we all know that brand that always puts out very eco-friendly products and services, right? They’re always out there with eco-friendly imagery in their marketing assets. They use empathetic copy to promote a certain kind of lifestyle.
Well, the odds are high that the same brand is likely collaborating with other eco-friendly brands. They’re likely pushing products like vegan food, natural supplements, whole food recipes, and much more.
This means when you, the viewer, and maybe even prospective customers see this brand, you automatically associate them with a specific niche, in this case eco-friendly. To you, they’re authoritative in that space, because all they do revolves around that topic.
People don't like missing out, and the more your product is advertised as a limited edition, or small-batch, the higher the urgency is to buy it before it's gone.
This is true across the board, regardless of what you’re selling, simply because people don’t like being left out. If there’s a sale, they at least want the option to skip it and not buy anything.
In essence, people like to feel like they’re the ones in control. They like to have options. Anytime they’re made to feel like they only have a certain amount of time for something, they’re pushed toward making a quick decision—which usually results in a sale.
Think of this as a cut above target audiences, where you not only appeal to people who share your interests, you also serve as a beacon that stands for something they hold dear.
For instance, if you create looter shooter video games, you're appealing to players who love the genre. But if you stand for female equality, and design games with that mentality, you're also going to be attracting people who stand for the same thing.
And you can use that to market yourself, say on YouTube. Create content that gets shared under that umbrella.
Once a consumer converts in one way, say by signing up to a newsletter, they're much more likely to purchase from you.
For instance, suppose you find a brand with some comfy-looking exercise gear. The pants, the shirts, the fleeces—they’re all comfy. You’ve never worn anything by the brand, but you ask “Why not?”
After all, odds are you’ve been hearing about the brand for a while now. Maybe you’ve browsed their site a few times, or checked out their social media. You’ve done your research.
Well, the second you try on some pants, love them, buy them, and wear them regularly… the higher the chances are that you’ll go back for more. Maybe you justify it as “you need another pair for your workouts—can’t wear the same pants 3-4x a week.”
Pretty fair, honestly.
But soon, you have about 4 pairs of pants, 3 tops, some underwear, and tons of socks from the brand. What happened?
Simple: the brand builds trust and credibility with you. They met your expectations or even surpassed them. And now, anytime you go in there for pants, you also grab an extra item or two.
Whenever someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give something in return. That’s just how we work.
For instance, whenever someone invites us over for dinner, we likely take a gift for them. Could be a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, the dessert for after dinner, or maybe a side dish they asked you to bring over. It’s a custom, created by the fact that we like to give and receive.
This is true in a business sense as well. When you offer discounts, sales, coupons, promo codes, or BOGO (buy one, get one), you’re giving customers something. It could also be other things, like great customer service or a bundle of some kind, depending on what you’re selling.
And in return, people want to give you their business. After all, you’re giving them some kind of value that they genuinely want. It’s making your offer enticing enough that they feel the urge to buy.
As unique as we'd like to think we are, we tend to be biased towards things people already like. This, of course, varies from person to person but is true even on some small level.
For example, whenever things begin to trend—whether it’s a meme, slang, a fashion choice, or a product or service—it’s because more and more biased people begin to jump on the bandwagon. This is especially true in this digital age, where everyone’s connected all the time.
In our minds, we justify it as “Well, if this many people like this, it must be good,” but that isn’t always the case. We may justify it, but it doesn’t mean the item is quality—just that it could be.
Still, what is true all the time is that people don’t like missing out. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is so real, so powerful, that people still watch terrible movies and shows. They still take part in trends—even if they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in specific items otherwise.
In a business sense, this is powerful stuff, but keep in mind: you’re destined to be forgotten fairly quickly unless your offer is high quality. If it delivers, it won’t burn out of existence even when it stops trending. Trends are always short-lived.
Learn the ways to persuade a hyper-skeptical audience here.
No, this isn't just the act of writing a pretty direct headline and calling it a day. This isn't the catchy headline you write in 30 seconds, with the right keywords, and immediately forget all about.
Conversion copywriters are trained to be clear. They strive for clarity within the headline so that people know exactly what it's about.
That means being very careful with their word selection, and ensuring the first and last three words are easy to understand. Everything between those words tends to be glossed over.
The AIDA model is an essential marketing staple that stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
It's best illustrated by your average consumer:
They become aware of a product, say through an ad, and they become interested in its benefits, technicalities, and quality. What are people saying about this product? How has it helped others?
Then that consumer begins to desire that product because they find that the reviews are stellar, and they can imagine themselves with that product. They feel that one or more of their immediate issues will be resolved through this purchase.
So they take action and buy it.
Of course, this only works if you attract attention, trigger interest, create a strong desire, and plan a call to action.
Unless you lay the groundwork for the buyer's journey flow, it won't work. That's where conversion copywriters come in. They worry about every last shred of detail, making sure their copy meets the criteria and gets the job done.
Learn how to effectively use copywriting frameworks and templates here.
Clearly, if you're reading this, then you've already been thinking about hiring a conversion copywriter, whether it be for the short-term or the full process.
But before you take the leap, it may be beneficial to ask yourself why.
Better understanding what it is they do, what they specialize in, and how they can help your business is certainly crucial...
But it ultimately doesn't matter unless you have a clear-cut and dry answer as to why you want to hire them in the first place.
For many entrepreneurs, it's a matter of frustration. They've been working on their marketing strategy for a long time, and they've gotten some level of traction and sales, but they're nowhere near the profit margins they were hoping for.
For others, it's a matter of efficiency. They've always had a team for their marketing, they've grown and met many substantial goals, and now they're ready for an in-depth look at what they have and what they could do to better market the business.
In both scenarios, the company's been established for a respectable amount of time, enough to fund the costly endeavor in the first place.
Which brings us to the point: although you eventually want to work with both regular copywriters and a conversion copywriter, it's smart not to rush the process.
Not only is it expensive to hire a conversion copywriter, but you also get so much more value out of going through all three stages with them, as opposed to just the first.
And since you'll likely be repeating this process every several years, you want to be in a secure financial standing before diving into it.
Although cutting corners may provide some level of insight and aid, it's certainly nothing to get excited about. At best, you're left with one, albeit solid, educated guess for what will work with your marketing strategy.
And that's just not enough to make much of a difference unless you're the rare exception to the rule. If you want what's best for your business, you'll wait until the time is right, the funding is available, and you're in a stable place to make the move.
Only then will it truly be worth your while.
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High-converting neuro-response conversion copywriting for America's largest B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.
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