Ecom Tip: Increase Your Conversions with Conversational Copywriting
Hey guys, Bret Thompson here from BGS. I’m the chief copywriter at Build Grow Scale. I’m coming to you today with a very powerful copywriting lesson to help you get more sales and conversions from your store. Now, here’s the premise: If you approach me and say, “Bret, I really want to get good at copywriting, where do I start?” … My question would be a little bit different than most other copywriters. I’d help you first start writing conversational copy.
It comes with an assumption. Assumptions are dangerous, but here it is: I’m going to assume that you’re an ecommerce store owner and you already know your market fairly well. You probably don’t know it as well as you should, and you might not know your ideal customer as well as you should, because most people don’t. However, I’m going to say you’ve got a good base level of understanding of your market. So, with that, you should know their fears, objections, doubts, and desires, and all those things. Now, with that, the first thing I would be teaching you is how to write conversational copy. What I mean by that is: The opposite of conversational copy is what you see most store owners have on their product description, and in emails, or kind of outsourced blogs, and that is a plain, vanilla, boring, institutionalized, sterile copy that just puts you to sleep. Right?
Now, what I’m going to show you in this video is how to write conversational copy that has some flavor, a good pulse to it, evokes mental images and emotions, and feels like, simulates, a real-life conversation that you’re having, and it gets them to read more. And I’ll tell you why that’s important. I want you to remember this: The more they read, the more they buy. Your customers, I’m talking about. The more they read, the more they buy. Some people say, “The more you tell, the more you sell.” But you have to do it in a way that is brief and edgy, and almost entertains them. And that’s what I’m going to show you.
I’m also going to show you in this video some copy principles that helped me get, through BGS, an increase of 34% to add-to-cart for a store that was doing over a million dollars a month, and plenty of do’s and don’ts for this. So, let’s dive straight in now, and get your pens ready!
Now, what you’re seeing here is a table with the left and the right. On the left, you’re going to see some boring copy, and then on the right, you’re going to see a comparison of some edgy, conversational copy.
So, here’s an example: “Made me angry” compared to “Makes my blood boil.” Boring, “Overcoming cravings” to “Kick cravings in the butt” or “Kick cravings to the curb.” I know they work very well. Another boring example is “Extremely frustrated” as opposed to “Pull my hair out.” Do you see these things, they kind of evoke good mental imagery and emotion, that they’re a bit more edgy, and compel you to read more because it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the sterile copy that you’re probably reading on other stores. The other one is, you know, in the health industry, “Sore and tired” compared to “Hit by a Mack Truck” or “A lot of information” compared to “A firehose of content.” Another one is “Too overwhelming” compared to “Standing under Niagara Falls with a paper cup!”
Alright? So, with that in mind, let’s give you a bit of a taste. Now I’m going to show you an example that actually made our clients a lot of money. So, the sentence is saying now, I’ll read it out loud, “This HAT is as subtle as a sledgehammer, but as cool as a frozen margarita (or three).” Now, the market that was for was obviously selling hats, and it was for a market, a community, that loved to mix it up with friends and drink, and kind of get a bit rowdy.
That’s only the first line of the product description. The reason I’m showing you that is because the full product description got a 34% increase in add-to-cart. When you’re doing a million dollars a month in volume—that’s 34% on the desktop and almost 26% on mobile, only one thing is going to happen. You’re simply going to make more money.
Now, to be fair to the BGS client, I can’t show you the full description, but I do want to highlight just that very first line. It’s very different from what was originally there, which was a description bullet point which said, “Made from stainless steel,” “Microwave safe,” just very boring and not emotive. People just really miss the importance of putting emotive copy on there. So, that’s something to look forward to, and I’ll show you how to write copy like that.
Here are some dos and don’ts …
- Write as you speak or as your market speaks.
How do you get good at that? Well, dive into some reviews. If not your own reviews, go to some competitor reviews, go to Amazon, see competing products, and see how your market speaks, and just start collecting little snippets.
Another thing is, you can send an email to your database asking them to describe their problem. So, “What’s your number one single biggest frustration when it comes to XYZ?” The reason for that—and here’s a good principle I want you to understand—is this: If you can describe somebody’s problem better than they can, they’ll automatically think you have the solution. OK? So that gives you an incredible marketing advantage. So, get really good at reviews and understanding how to describe somebody’s problem.
- Dumb it down.
The reading comprehension rate of a Western adult is equivalent to a 13-year-old. So, don’t try to over intellectualize and use too many big words to impress people or yourself. Just really dumb it down. If you can get the same message across in the shortest number of words, then that’s how you increase readability. Because remember: the more they read, the more they buy. Make it easy for them.
- Record and transcribe.
I had a client, and he wanted me to help him write copy for his product page. I jumped on a Skype call with him, and I said, “Here’s what I want you to do … sell me on your product. Pretend I’m your ideal client, and for the next 10 minutes, just sell me on your product and see what comes out.” I recorded it, he spoke for 10 minutes … I took that recording, got it transcribed, I brought it back, polished it up, took out the ums and ahs, and arranged it in the right order. We gave it back to him, put it live, and he made truckloads of money!
Now, he thought, “Wow, man, you’re a genius!” Is he right? Maybe, maybe not. The key thing I want you to learn there is, number one, you might actually speak good copy—a lot of people speak good copy—but they have a mental block and think their copy sucks when they write. So, get in front of someone you feel comfortable with and sell them on your product, or talk it out, get it transcribed, and 70% of that could be good copy for you.
- Visualize a real conversation.
Play a mental video of, “If I ran into someone, how would I describe this, and what kind of conversation?” and just keep that conversational tone.
A quick example: I’ve got identical twin boys, and when one of my twins was just 12 or 13 … My boys are very adventurous (meaning I knew the school principal’s first name because I was in there a lot), but Riley came home one day and said, “Dad, I got called up to the English teacher’s desk today.” I said, “Buddy, what happened?” He said, “No, no, it’s not that. I had to write a story, and I handed it in … and a week later, the teacher called me up and said, ‘Riley, who wrote this for you?’” He said, “I did.” He said, “Riley, you’re only 12. I’ve been teaching for nine years in this school. I teach 16/17-year-olds, and this is the best story I’ve ever seen.” And here are two powerful comments: He said, “I couldn’t stop reading and felt like I was with you the whole time.”
That’s what you want to do with your copy, and I’ll show you how to do it. So, play that mental video and you can get that conversational tone.
- Read it out loud.
Another thing, just to really fine tune, is to read it out loud. Once you’ve written your copy, read it out loud, and if you trip up, then stop, put a red circle around it, and dumb that down and make it easier. Or, even better, if you’ve got a 12- or 13-year-old, bribe them to read it out loud to you. If they trip up, then your audience will trip up too. So it really ties into that “dumb it down” rule.
- Collect punch words and phrases.
When you’re doing your research and looking at reviews, or you see other pieces of copy, copy and paste it, put it in a Word doc or Google Drive, and start a collection of punch words and phrases. I’ve got about a 24-page document full of 10 years of the best punch words and phrases, which I share with the BGS coaching programs and community. I encourage you to start your own or use ours if you get an opportunity to work with us.
- Top and tail with joining phrases.
What I mean by that … You can take a boring sentence, and you can instantly add some life to it just by putting a little snippet at the start and/or the end.
Here are some examples of some joining phrases, or as we call them in the copywriting world “Bucket Brigade.” So, here are some examples:
- “Let me explain … “
- “Oh, before I forget …”
- “Now, you might be thinking …”
- “Let me unpack this for you …”
- “And so on and so on …”
- “Enough said!”
- “You get the idea.”
- “And the good news?”
- “Crazy, right?”
- “Bottom line:”
- “Turns out …”
- “Here’s why:”
- “Don’t get me started …”
- “Simply put …”
OK, so now I’m going to talk to you about some don’ts …
- Don’t waffle/babble on.
Don’t make it long-winded—just keep it brief. Brevity is key, without lacking emotion. Try to get the message across in the shortest amount of time.
- Don’t write to entertain yourself.
When you get good at conversational copy, believe it or not, it’s quite fun. But just be careful that you don’t let your ego step in there and write to entertain yourself. Because you’re writing to evoke emotion for your audience, not to entertain yourself.
- Avoid long words, long sentences, and big paragraphs.
This deserves its own video, which I’ll circle back on, but when you write, you don’t want sentences with multiple words, with three syllables in every word. It’s like throwing banana peels in front of someone walking on the pathway. You just want them to get through quick and easy. Also, I try to keep sentences to seven or fewer words (not including words like a, I, and, it, etc.). Keep it nice and short, brief, and to the point, but with that conversational flavor. And avoid big paragraphs, which goes along with the fourth don’t.
- Avoid big walls of text.
You’ve seen product descriptions with a big paragraph, with 10, 11, 12 lines of text. I promise you this: Most people won’t read the first letter of the first word … because I don’t wake up in the morning and think, “I wonder what I can read this morning?” Most people don’t like reading, so I try to do single-sentence paragraphs, with good spacing—occasionally two-sentence paragraphs really spaced out. And you can mix it up. If you’ve got a big wall of text, mix it up with bullet points, subheadings, images, or GIFs. OK?
- Don’t leave the best for last.
If you know your customers’ objections and hot buttons, make sure you don’t put that information down at the bottom. Just because someone starts reading your product description or starts reading your email doesn’t mean they’re going to get all the way to the end. So, make sure you put your best stuff at the top, and then work your way down.
OK, that’s a quick wrap! I could go on and on more about that. If you like this, leave a comment. If you have any feedback, that would be great. If you want me to go deeper on any copywriting topic, let us know and we’ll keep these videos happening.
In the meantime, if you want to work with us, you can go to workwithbgs.com and we’ll help you build, grow, and/or scale your business. Meet the team, have a friendly chat with the team … We want to hear about your situation, your story, and we’ll point you in the right direction, whether it’s a program with us, or some free content. Whatever is best suited for you.
So, I look forward to seeing you, either on a call or connecting with you through another video. Till then, bye for now.