Optimized Ecommerce EP 046 – The Number One Conversion Killer on Your Ecommerce Store
Today on The Optimized Ecommerce Podcast, Bret Thomson joins Tanner Larsson to talk about the number one conversion killer on your Ecommerce store when it comes to copy and sales messages. Dive in today’s episode and learn some of the best copywriting strategies and significantly improve your Ecom Store’s conversion rate. Don’t forget
Welcome to Episode #046 of Optimized Ecommerce – The Number One Conversion Killer on Your Ecommerce Store. I’m your host, Tanner Larsson, CEO of BGS.
BGS means Build Grow Scale! It is a community that we founded where eCommerce entrepreneurs and physical product sellers come to learn how to take their businesses to the next level.
Bret Thomson is one of the best Ecommerce copywriters at BGS. He currently lives down under, in Australia, and has been with the BGS team for over four years now. He is a major asset to our amplified clients and to our ecom insider members. Bret literally eats, sleeps, and breathes not only copy but the Ecom Insider family. That is his world and he just loves it.
If you get on the phone to join the Ecom Insider, you will wind up talking to Bret because he’s the gatekeeper. He loves to vet people and make sure we don’t have any bad apples that ever popped into BGS. We couldn’t ask for a better brother in that regard. He just nurtures that group and takes care of it so well.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
Bret discussed the number one conversion killer on most ecom stores
Bret learned some of the copywriting strategies from marketing legend, Dan Kennedy. He asks in one of his reports,”When it comes to copywriting, what’s the number one biggest obstacle that a copywriter has to face to get a conversion chart?”
And the answer is readability.
Businesses can have the best copywriter in the world. But if the copy looks like a dog’s breakfast, then it’s not going to get read. When it comes to increasing readability, there are two sides to it. There’s bad readability that causes instant sales friction, and there’s layout friction and copy guarded friction.
A simple yet powerful copywriting technique to keep in mind, “The more they read, the more they buy”.
The more you tell, the more you sell.
Then, we dove in detail about mistakes that people often do when it comes to readability
One of the most common mistakes when it comes to copy is when people would run through a text all the way to the left or right margin. And having long sentences all the way from one mode to the other. When people see these kinds of text they instantly feel that it’s hard work or the store is broken or there’s a glitch.
These kinds of copy mistakes decrease the store’s trust and believability. People would feel that they are stepping on the wrong foot right out of the gate.
Another common mistake is having those big and chunky walls of text. This kind of text does not encourage people to read even the first letter of the first word.
We also discussed a few other fun topics, including:
- Layout friction points that decrease readability.
- How to improve your copy for readability.
- Ways to create a conversational copy.
- The importance of understanding the wants, desires, and needs of your market..
…and more! But you’ll have to watch or listen to the episode to hear about those!
How To Stay Connected With Bret Thomson
Want to stay connected with Bret? Please check out their social profiles below.
Also, Bret mentioned the following items on the show. You can find that on:
Tanner Larsson 0:07
Hey everybody, welcome back to the Optimized Ecommerce Podcast. I’m Tanner Larsson and today we’re going to talk about the number one conversion killer on your ecommerce store when it comes to copy and your sales message and what’s going on there. So today we’re joined by Bret Thomson, Bret is a funnies talking ecom copywriter magician, he’s lives down in Australia and he’s been with the BGS team for a couple years now. Definitely one of the best Ecommerce copywriters on the planet. Super excited that we’ve been able to have him as part of the team as long as we have and he’s a major asset to our amplify clients to our ecom insider members and the dude literally eats sleeps and breathes not only copy but econ insider as a thing that’s literally his world and his family and he just loves it. And plus, a lot of the time if you get on the phone to see about joining the Ecom Insider you wind up getting to talk to Bret because he’s the gatekeeper. He loves to kind of like vet people to make sure we don’t have any bad apples that ever popped into BGS. And couldn’t ask for a better brother in that regard. He just nurtures that group and takes care of it so well. It’s awesome. But today, aside from buttering him up, we’re actually going to talk about what he’s good at, which is copywriting, and specifically, the number one copywriting conversion killer. And how you can get you to know, use, avoid this, but actually make your copy, convert better, make it sell more, make it do more and just basically make a whole bunch more money, sales and customers by avoiding this problem and doing it correctly. So Bret, thanks for joining me.
Bret Thomson 1:48
Thank you, brother. Appreciate it. I’m always pumped up excited to be chatting to you, my man, and I say Time flies when you’re having fun. This is my fourth year on the team brother.
Tanner Larsson 1:57
It is I know we’ve been here a long time. That’s one of the cool things, you’ve been around for years. We have amplified clients who are approaching their fourth year as well, most companies talk about like, Oh, yeah, our retention rate is three months or four months. Our amplified clients stay for years. It’s mind boggling. And our team too. It’s just crazy. So super excited to have you here. And we’re gonna go ahead and dive right in. So why don’t you talk about this number one copy conversion killer?
Bret Thomson 2:34
Tanner Larsson 2:36
What is that?
Bret Thomson 2:36
Well, I can’t take credit for this. I remember, as you know, there’s a copywriting slash marketing legend that not everyone will know. His name’s Dan Kennedy. And I was reading a dead Kindle report years ago and he said he asked the question when it comes to copywriting what’s the number one biggest obstacle that a copywriter has to face to get a conversion chart? And of course, you’d get a gazillion different answers. Is it understanding your market? Is it come up with the big idea, best headline, and all the rest? Isn’t that none of that? The answer is readability. Because you can have the best copywriter in the world. But if it looks like a dog’s breakfast, then it’s not going to get read. So that has always stuck with me and it’s true in and what I love having this conversation with you more than anyone is because when it comes to increasing readability, there are two sides to it. There’s bad readability that causes instant sales friction, but there’s layout friction and copy guarded friction. Now, with the cell format and the RO team, you guys specialize in the layout friction so you can increase readability despise written up descriptions in the different tabs which really annoys copywriters because we want it all to be last and long, but very humble with it gets proven wrong. And there’s also some copyrighted techniques to increase readability. And the big premise of all this is this one statement, which is I beat this all the time on the copywriting critique calls. And that is the more they read, the more they buy. Yep. Or the more you tell, the more you sell. So that’s the big thing I want listeners or people watching this to understand. One of the biggest things you got to do is make sure that your copy in the product description, your emails, your ads, or whatever. It’s easier to read. Because with a bad layout. They won’t even read the first letter of the first word and they’ve already decided to skim read.
Tanner Larsson 4:48
Well, I gotta say I know how important this is. But at the same time, I’m sure there’s people listening going, Oh, readability. That is so boring. Like how that is that isn’t exciting. Or sexy or anything but do you have any kind of like a story or something you can share about like how important readability is and like how it’s actually improved stores. And so you know, something to suck people in and go, Oh, maybe it’s not so boring. Maybe I should pay attention to this episode.
Bret Thomson 5:15
Yeah. Okay. Well, let me put a little bit of a carrot in front of the audience. How’d you guys liked to get an increase of 34% for your add-to cart? That ratio. So, Tanner, you know this story very well. So we had an amplified partner doing about a million dollars a month just selling hats. Had a very stock standard product description, which everyone seems to cut and paste what other people are saying. And for some reason, they just drop all creativity and just put some plain vanilla text in there. So I went in there, and added some good copy, but also made sure that the readability was very high. And we’ll talk about that. But for someone doing a million dollars worth of hats a month, we got an increase of 34% increase on Add To Cart for desktop. I think it was about 26 27% on mobile. So and then I mean, you guys would have countless stories of increased conversions on the layout?
Tanner Larsson 6:20
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it’s one of the biggest things like we always say, clarity, Trump’s persuasion. And it’s the same thing with your copy, again, the best copy in the world, or the most persuasive copy in the world. If it’s not clear if it’s not easy. If it’s not pretty much subconscious and its ability for your mind to absorb it, it’s not going to get utilized. And I always talk about shopping in the buyer’s journey, we want it to be as much in the subconscious mind as possible. Because every time you bump up into that conscious mind, it’s a cause for a disconnect. Because the reason it bumps into the conscious mind is that there’s confusion, there’s fear, there’s something that doesn’t quite sit right shopping, by and large by social norms is a very subconscious process. We don’t have to think about it a lot. We just kind of go through it. And we do it until there’s something that like, it’s hard to read. It’s confusing. It’s scary. It doesn’t there’s a trust issue or anything like that. And all of a sudden, the buyer’s journey takes you out of the subconscious into the conscious mind. And then that’s where the objections happen. That’s where the bounce happens. That’s where the breakdown and conversion happens. So, in your case, the readability is just another part of that thing that when you read something when you pick up a sticky note, you read what’s on the sticky note. You don’t think about what you’re reading, you don’t think about how to read it unless it’s chicken scratch, or it’s Matt Stafford handwriting where it’s so pretty imperfect, but it’s so tiny, you can’t even see it. Like otherwise, that’s the only time when it takes conscious effort to read it right. If it’s normal, or just regular writing you don’t even think about it, Oh I need to get eggs. That’s what that said, but I didn’t think about the words. You know.
Bret Thomson 8:05
I love that man. I love how you use the terms subconscious and conscious because that’s really what it is. It’s almost you want them to have it like a frictionless experience. It was being in a think less zombie state and get all the way through to take an action.
Tanner Larsson 8:22
Yep. So let’s go ahead and dive into it. So obviously readability is just to clarify again, in case anybody wasn’t sure. readability is the number one copywriting conversion killer we’re talking about here. So let’s talk about bad readability. Like, what are some examples of that? And how are people doing it wrong? How are they making these mistakes? And what kind of mistakes are they making?
Bret Thomson 8:45
Oh, okay, cool. So you and I probably go back and forth here. But from my old school, we don’t see a lot of this now that, a number of years ago, some big problems was when people would run text all the way to the margin, left or right. And big long sentences all the way from one mode to the other. And what I say to people, how many newspapers would you think they’d sell if there were no columns? It was just all long text, instantly, that just feels like hard work. And also subconsciously using your term there. If you see text running right to the end, and there’s no margin there. It feels like it’s broken. So with that is the store broken? Or there’s a glitch and what does that do to the trust and believability. So you’re stepping on the wrong foot right out of the gate. So and another thing. Again, mistakes, this is the one which we see so often, which we called, walls of text like big, chunky paragraphs, and I promise you and I know this to be true because I’m the same just out of my peripheral if I see a big wall of text I wouldn’t even read the first letter of the first word, I just start skimming reading, if there’s anything smaller bite sized that I can consume. So it’s instant sales, friction, you’ve broken the flow.
Tanner Larsson 10:10
And they’ve skipped over important information to get to something that may not be important. Like, maybe all the product text is in that big wall of text. But then below it, there’s a bolded headline that says, guaranteed, you’re like, oh, I see, it’s guaranteed, but I have no idea about the product specifications or anything like that, right? Because of the eye fatigue that it takes to your eyes naturally, like, I have to focus on that to read it. And I don’t, I’d rather just look at a short sentence. Actually, Brett, to touch on what you said before, you’re making a good point about margin, running all the huge sentences running all the way to the end of the page. Now, most websites truncate that and make that not an issue anymore. But what we still find is, especially on full-width pages, it’s a kind of a mix on product pages, or whatever, but sometimes on the homepage is a problem is they still have a huge area where the sentence runs from one side to the other side instead of being the line break, or whatever, and we know from research medical studies have shown and things like that, as well as, like speed reading, if you’ve ever learned anything about speed reading, it’s basically a type of snapshot reading, they teach you how to speed read, they draw lines or an app over the page that goes straight down like this. And the idea is that your eyes never have to move. And you’re taking a snapshot of the page and your peripheral is picking up what’s on the outside. And that’s one of the ways that speed reading can get faster. So you should never have to move your eyes, your eyes should stay straight. The other side of that, though, is they’ve also shown that anytime you have to turn your head to see more, it causes eye strain, fatigue, and irritation. So if you’re reading something on your screen, I don’t want to have to look over to the far side of my screen, I want to be able to look straightforward. And if I move my eyes, it’s just like this. Not like this. And if you’re on audio, sorry, you’re not seeing my fingers move. But I was talking about quick short little eye movements back and forth versus long traverses of your eye. Just do it in your head, like it’s easier to go back and forth short than it is comfortable to go from one side of your eyeball eye socket to the other. So think about that, from a readability perspective. That’s why we say, no walls of text, no long run-on sentences, keep it short, keep it in the center of vision, columnize it because if they have to move from one column to another, that’s a distinction. They are comfortable doing that, but one continuous run on it. They’re not.
Bret Thomson 12:55
Absolutely. Well said, man. I think that about maybe 10 years ago, Apple, I remember, they came onto the mark with a really good design of text right image left. And that seemed to set a whole new precedent that a lot of changing the structure websites all those years ago, and because of that, and bouncing off from that. Another thing that I see, a big problem is long sentences. This is a bit of a caveat when anyone who’s reading or learning copywriting for longer than five minutes knows the importance of conversational copy, which I’ll probably touch on and talk about. But the summary or the description of what a conversational copy is, is writing as you speak, or more importantly, right as your market speaks. But the caveat to that is, in general conversation, we speak in long sentences, but when you translate that to the screen, if you keep the services really long, you have just given them opportunities to trip up. And once they trip up, you broke the flow, then they’re going to start to skim reading. So I have a rule if possible, I keep my sentences seven words or less long. I’m not including AI internets, is this nice, short and punchy. Or if I have to put an ellipsis or a couple of dashes or whatever, just to break it out, giving people a bit of a breathing space instead of 15 commas in one big long sentence.
Tanner Larsson 14:34
Yep. And that’s actually a good point. We’re trained in school to write a certain way. Internet conversion, internet writing, break all those conventions. We actually have it on our team. We have a professional editing team that edits all the content and everything, video scripts, anything we do that they edit, and when we first started working with them, we first brought them on board. The issue was that they were keeping it this collegiate writing style. When you think about writing your college papers, they’re these huge chunky paragraphs and they’re just a pain in the ass to read. And the internet doesn’t write that way internet you almost have space or a line break every one or two sentences and that might drive your English teacher crazy, but it’s what works online and thinks about a wall of text from a cell phone perspective, right? Like if you have a paragraph that’s this big and is wide on your screen and your desktop, it’s going to take up your entire screen on your mobile device. Nobody wants to read that you’re going to scroll right past it.
Bret Thomson 15:39
Yeah, absolutely. I helped educate the editing team by purposely putting grammar mistakes to make them sharp.
Tanner Larsson 15:49
Bret definitely keeps our grammar team sharp you know he may be one of the best copywriters in the world but man that guy is not into grammar.
Bret Thomson 15:57
Well, I must say since I’ve learned copywriting my English has gotten much gooder.
Tanner Larsson 16:01
Much gooder, but what are the mistakes are they making?
Bret Thomson 16:07
Yeah, so those mistakes there’s layout mistakes, which we talked about, and another one, which is very simple, but easy fixes are just tiny text, or even gray text, tiny little things, they all small increments that can increase readability, just by increasing the font size, for instance, I’m not sure what’s the BGS’s best practice now is it 16? 16 is the smallest font size besides micro text that should be on your site. So all your headers sub headlines, all that stuff should be bigger than 16 point font. Absolutely. And generally black and white, not gray. All these things add up so that kind of layout things which you guys doing over 1000 hours of split testing every week. It’s not our opinion.
Tanner Larsson 17:00
No, it’s fact data backs it up, It’s crazy. Like sometimes well not even sometimes we do it in all stores. But there have been times where just by changing the font size, we see a significant conversion lift that people would be like there’s just no way but that’s the only thing we changed. And it reduces eyestrain reduces irritation makes it easier. That’s the whole point. It’s not to be cutesy or creative or artsy, or that’s the other side of those mistakes, right? Like people who try to get too artsy with fancy fonts or colors and stuff like that.
Bret Thomson 17:35
That’s another topic. Just being too creative. I think you said it. But there’s another way to sound like big clarity beats creativity, some people try and be too clever. And I read their copy of the what the heck is it? If there’s a double meaning at that, it can be confusing. It’s, you’ve already lost
Tanner Larsson 17:58
And any kind of cursive or flowy, or fancy font like that. It may look beautiful on paper, but it doesn’t convey well to the screen and being able to be viewed and it creates eye strain, and it just does it it’s not worth the benefit of having it be pretty if you want to actually make sales and money and sell to customers.
Bret Thomson 18:18
Yeah, that’s what I saw. So you don’t have to do it only if you want to make money.
Tanner Larsson 18:22
Yeah, only if you want it.
Bret Thomson 18:24
So we just touched on a few of those layout friction points, which are going to decrease readability. And from a copywriting point of view. There’s also, I think this one can go deeper on this and talking about some best practices how to improve your copy for readability. But we talked about these short paragraphs, short sentences, good spacing in between the paragraphs as well. All those things increase readability. But well from a copywriting point of view. If we start to sharpen your skills on that, I think conversational copy, believe it or not, 10 of this is, I’ve been teaching copywriting for 15 years, stages all around the world and a lot of copywriters if you get a teach someone it makes sense to start to teach them how to understand the market better and understand their wants, desires needs and all that kind of stuff like I get that but if I’m looking to work with a copywriter I first look at their base level skill of conversational copy. I’ve actually hired a blog writer who didn’t even know what copywriting was. He just wrote these cool conversational blog posts. I said can I teach you how to copywriting and she just picked up so well because she had that great level of the conversational skillet. And the reason I bring this up as a priority because it’s such a refreshing break from the old monotonous institutionalized textbook star copy. And we all grew up on that except for me I slipped through school. So when I learned copywriting is like my first lesson on how to write. But the conversational copy is just a great way to just simulate a real-life conversation as if you’re sitting around the kitchen table speaking to a friend or around a barbecue. And it just increases readability. Because it just has a very conversational flow to it. It’s not sterile and plain-born vanilla. So how could I help people write on this call, how to improve their conversational copy?
Tanner Larsson 20:49
No, in terms of priority, what would be the most important way that they can kind of go through it?
Bret Thomson 20:55
Well, let me start with this, I believe. I don’t want to jump around I want to keep where we’re going. But on a conversational copy. I generally start my text with one sentence, paragraph, and then maybe another one, I don’t start with a big paragraph, I’ll just baby step and get them to read. Like the headline, the subheadline, the first intro line, and if they generally commit to reading four times, and they’ll generally read more, because he got some momentum, right? The only way you can stuck it up is if your copy sucks. So the the opening line, let me see if I can remember this. The opening line I used for that hat company, the market was a community who loved to have a bit of a drink and party. So and the message on the hat was a little bit in your face, tongue in cheek. So I said that the opening line said, as subtle as a sledgehammer. This hat is as cool as three frozen margaritas or something like that. So that’s a lot better wide open product description instead of saying 100% cotton. Yeah. So the quick answer on how to get good at conversation copies, write as your market speaks so how to get good at that, right? The best way is to read reviews because a lot of the reviews some people actually naturally write good copy without even realizing it. So if you’re new on the ecommerce journey, just go to someone in your market, even Amazon, and just immerse yourself with some reviews. And then when you do that, when you’ve got a spreadsheet with some really awesome reviews, start highlighting some snippets that had gold, right and some of these snippets are headline worthy. Again, that’s another podcast session just in the headlines, right. But so I know there’s a conversation a bit of copy that works really well in that health and supplements space, which is this top of someone’s head, this helped me kick my cravings to the curb. Right now that little snippet from a review just converted like gangbusters in Facebook Ads and all that kind of stuff. So no matter where you are on the journey, just dive into the reviews and pick up those little conversational, highly descriptive snippets. And what I do for 15 years, when I saw some cool little snippets like that, I used to copy it and put it into a Word doc called cool conversational snippets, and just start, collect them, and actually call them to punch words. And I know, that’s grown into probably a 15-page report for the ecom BGS community to use, which is a good little conversation of snippets. So start collecting those kinds of things. So whether you don’t you’ve said, I don’t know when or where I’m going to use it, it doesn’t matter. start collecting the swipe file because otherwise, when it’s time to write you’ll be staring at a blank screen and suffer from blank screen syndrome. At least you got something to have a springboard from. Yep. So reviews is one aspect. Also, sometimes depending on what market, I might watch some YouTube videos as well of people describing, and this really hinges around this principle and that is this. If you can describe somebody’s problem better than they can they automatically think you have the solution. That’s worth repeating. I say if you can describe somebody’s problem better than they can they automatically think you have the solution. So how do you get good at describing some of these problems? So again, reviews are great. Another step is to email your list and say, what’s the number one single biggest frustration when it comes to XYZ, whatever problem you’re solving. And if you have to give them a 20% discount just for filling that out, go for it, It’ll only make you more money. And it’ll also give you an incredible database of really good, descriptive people who have their stories and describing their problems. And you can repurpose that many times over and, and really get good at them and you can put them in your product description, do Facebook ads, all that kind of stuff. And the third lesson for conversation copy, I can take a very boring, if you’re naturally not a good writer if you’ve been institutionalized, and you actually paid attention at school I didn’t, then I can take a very boring, plain vanilla sentence and add a pulse and bring it to life. And I do it with this way on top and tail it, I can put a snippet of conversation at the start, and a snippet of conversational copy at the end, it could be something like this, it could be Oh, by the way, dot dot dot, insert your sentence at the end. Now what the main question mark. So straight away, that just having that little bit of a buffer, actually turns it into a real life conversation that makes the reader feel like
Tanner Larsson 26:34
You’re talking to them versus being some corporate speak kind of dry, generic thing.
Bret Thomson 26:40
Yeah, absolutely. And another thing you need to remind yourself, everyone watching and listening to this, and that is this, the reading comprehension rate of westernized adults is equivalent to a 13 year old. So with that said, people have for years have been paying me deservedly good amounts of money just to dumb down their coffee. What I’ve seen a lot of business owners are so close to their business, and they can’t understand logically why people aren’t buying from them. And they try and bash them over the head with logic. And I go in there and just dumb it down. And make it readable for 13 years old In fact, I’ll tell you a quick story Tanner there is one company I did a promotion for. This is a good story, actually. They had a bunch of lands to sell around Australia. And I came up with this big marketing idea. And went live and this is only the short version. But I remember a week after went live I received this email that said stop all marketing. What? I opened it and they decided. In Australia, we’ve got five or six states, not like the US. And I thought they tested into a state called Western Australia. And the influx of sales calls that came in for it was so much the whole team had to put a pause on any other marketing just to kind of
Tanner Larsson 28:17
just to handle what was coming in.
Bret Thomson 28:19
And what they didn’t know is before I handed that market material over to them I brought my kids my twin boys, you know Jacob, he works in the team. And they were 12 or 13. I bribed them to read it out to me out loud, right? And then if they tripped up, or stumbles, I stopped and I’ll put a red circle around that as I keep reading like to bribe them with the Mchappy Meal to do it because they wouldn’t do it just because I’m their dad. But I’ve got them to read the whole thing. And anytime they stumble, I knew that the reader was stumbled. So I just simplify it and how do you simplify it? You don’t use so many big words and shorter of sentences and just really dumbed down so it’s frictionless like you said a subconscious. Like, being thrown in the valley without even stumbling, so, there’s some good principles to increase readability and make it conversational and a words
Tanner Larsson 29:16
and that everything you just talked about is if like, hey, you have shitty or sucky copy Brett doesn’t like me to cut so we have a sucky copy. Your copy sucks. What he just talked about is a great way to improve that and take mediocre or poor written copy and give it a little facelift. And here’s maybe some band-aids that need to complete rewrite, but it’ll definitely give you a lift over what you’re seeing right now.
Bret Thomson 29:43
Yeah, absolutely. And there’s other things like I see a lot of people feel compelled to use big words, big words, meaning three or four syllable words. Now if you’ve got a sentence with multiple words, that big that’s like destroying banana peels in front of someone taking a run, of course, they’re going to trip up. So my job as a copywriter is can I get the same message across in the shortest amount of words. And this is the important part. Without diluting emotion, the only time I will add a word is if it injects emotion. An example there was an ad running for hair loss. A good friend of mine Pete and was unwanted hair, question mark. That wasn’t hair loss was actually an unwanted hair question mark. And they run that ad and got okay results. And then they added one-word unwanted ugly hair, question mark. And I got four times a response. Because sometimes adding an emotional word can actually increase conversion. And tie it to the person give it more feeling right? Yeah,
Tanner Larsson 30:52
I remember when I was learning copy, and I was writing lots of lots of long form sales letters. The way I got better at it was I just had to write them and just figure it out. But I remember I can’t remember who I learned it from. But they always said that like, go ahead, write your sentence. And then there’s like four different words that they’re like, okay, now go through your sentences and remove anytime you see this word like the word then. Or most sentences, you could scratch out the word then or that or whatever, you scratch that word out, but the sentence still reads perfectly. But when you wrote it, you couldn’t get rid of that word. But then you go in and scratch it out and read it without the word and it and it reads perfectly. And I remember, I was writing a sales letter for a window cleaning product. It was a long form, I don’t know, 30-40 page long-form sales letter. And I’ve had these words, I scratched them all out after I printed it out. And it looked like I had dipped my entire page and read in red ink because there were so many extra words. And when I removed those words, you couldn’t tell that I removed the words.
Bret Thomson 32:07
Yeah, that is a great example of the word that is superfluous. So many times those little things just make it easier to read shorter. Yeah, that’s a good example.
Tanner Larsson 32:22
So what else is there?
Bret Thomson 32:24
Well, another way to increase readability is instead of just having I mean, we talked about having walls of text, but also you can have like a big, long line of text, meaning, if you can break it up with bullet points that have been shown by heatmaps. Skim readers will stop and a bullet point they’ll generally read the first second, the one or two first bullet points they may read even the last bullet point. And they’ll skim it and stop it sub headlines. So sub headlines is what we call a double readership path. So double readership path is the skim readers when they land on your product description, for example. But most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking, Oh, I really want to read something from an ecommerce store today, right? So you’ve got to try and make it easy for them to consume your material. So breaking them up with sub headlines is really important because they can just rest on a sub headline and see if it’s going to catch their interest. And other one other way you can do is, is break it up with imagery as well. So we’ve listed some good AI ecom insider members who have got phenomenal conversion rates by breaking them up with gifts because all this emotion draws their attention in, we don’t expect even as copywriters don’t expect everybody’s read every single word. We’re not that stupid. But we know that if we can take them on a double readership path, so if all they do is a stop and read the sub headlines or the different areas broken up, and you’re still taking them through the sales flow in order of priority, for instance, another one I talked about the arrangement of that you don’t put your best stuff right down the bottom, you got to put your best chances forward. So you get your best stuff the most influential things is going to inspire them to buy you put up the top. So what would that be? Well, in the copywriting world as a proof is the chief conversion element on anything because people don’t believe what we say they believe what other people say. So if you can inject five stars and reviews up there nice and early, that’s important or anything that’s backed up by someone, just so it takes the pressure off of you because something I learned from Dan Kennedy that is statements can be challenged, but stories are believed So anytime I make a statement, I don’t want to open a loop in their head to question that all straightaway, put a review that backs that up. So if I’m talking about quality, I’ll say, our quality is the highest and we hold ourselves to the highest standard. They’re not a nice sign. Someone can say, these guys have the best quality. Better backed that up, you know.
Tanner Larsson 35:24
The social proof element that ties into what was the claim that was made, basically.
Bret Thomson 35:30
Yeah, absolutely. So the double readership path is really important. We could increase somebody’s conversion by using the same text but simply just breaking it up with some bullet points, some sub-headlines, and some imagery. And all it’s going to do is increase readability. Because the more they read, the more they buy.
Tanner Larsson 35:53
And the double readership path, guys, it sounds technical, and it sounds like one of those big words things that Bret’s talking about. But it’s actually a really simple concept when you break it down. So the double readership half there are two paths, there is the high level 30,000 foot view or the Reader’s Digest version, which is the subheadline, headline path. And then there is the expanded deep view or the detailed story. So you’ve got the Reader’s Digest version, and then you’ve got the encyclopedia. Those are the two stories, they’re telling the exact same story, or the cliff notes of a book and the actual book itself, right. That’s the way that works. So basically, the way it is, is that they read through the headline, the subheads, they get the entire gist of the story just by reading that. But the thing is, is if any one of those sub headlines catches their attention, right beneath that sub headline is the expanded version that backs up what the sub headline says, or provides more detail. So it allows people to get the bits and pieces of the story they want skim readers can read the sub headlines. And then the analytical people can get sucked into the detail when and where they need it. But don’t have to read through all the stuff to find out what’s important to them.
Bret Thomson 37:11
Yeah, absolutely, man, thanks for that, and that’s why imagery is also good in the product description as well, too. And I share this cool story with you, Tanner. Years ago, I was paid to do full page newspaper ads for all the major publications all around Australia to fill up a live event. And there was the same newspaper it was a half-page ad. And it went to all six states, and we’d run them multiple times. And all of a sudden, one day there was one state where it got this considerably massive spike. And we had no idea why he was supposed to go there, then we asked the newspaper, can you send us a PDF of that, because they didn’t change the copy. But this was a very significant spot. The only difference was on this paper than all the rest is the article beforehand was about a shark attack with these big great white shark attacks. But that’s all it was right. And so many people landed on that. And then underneath that they’ll read our ad, then we worked out it was actually more profitable for us to buy a full-page ad, keep our half ad page there and just put a dummy shark attack article at the top and we would have made more money. So and that’s what I say to people when people read newspapers, not many would do these days, I guess, but it’s estimated they stay on the page for three seconds. Now, what do you think they’re doing? in those three seconds? They’re scanning images and headlines and in their mind, their subconscious thinking? Is there anything it gives me enough reason to stop anything on this page? give me enough reason to stop here. Stop making that go into the waiting for somebody to jump out of the page, grab them or pull them in. That’s another increase in readability. So those are two great examples. Yeah. So find a way to put shark attack photos on your product page.
Tanner Larsson 39:15
That’s the secret guys. Shark Attack photos on your ecom stores and money will rain from the sky.
Bret Thomson 39:21
Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, we can get deep on. And also, I’m giving this advice with an assumption, which is always dangerous, that they know their market really well. They know these objections, and they know what’s important and what’s not.
Tanner Larsson 39:39
Yep, that’s a big one. So I would say the thing now, I’d say is, are there any, you know, resources that you have for people or anything like that, that they can leverage to help improve on this?
Bret Thomson 39:52
Yeah, cool. I’ll give you a simple and easy one, which is called the Hemingway app and you type in Hemingway app, Google it, it’ll come up, you can write your copy. And you can just paste it as a free app, you can paste it in there. And that’ll give you a grade of scoring. Like it could be a grade 0,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or more. And you want to get that as low as possible. Because that shows you the level of grade the comprehension rate is. And I’ll highlight all the clunky sentences for you. So you can do your best at writing a very easy to read, chunk of copy, put it on the app, and that will give you a grade anything above four, it’s dangerous to be honest with you. If I have to write an email for BGS, for whatever reason. I’m anywhere from zero to two. I just keep it so simple. And it’s because they get red and I know you’re very similar. You’re an amazing copywriter. And most good marketers, like yourself, are good copy artists as well, I understand that.
Tanner Larsson 41:06
Yeah, the Hemingway app is actually it’s actually quite surprising, you think you wrote something, another thing you can do is if you’re probably write something to your team, put it in there as well. It doesn’t have to be just marketing materials. But that’s where I’ve been the most surprised by it. Because I put a lot of effort into my copy to make sure it is simple, like Bret’s talking about cuz I have some experience doing it. But I took some emails and some slack messages that I was going to be sending to the team and put those in there. And they were way complex, like sixes and sevens on some of them. And I’m like, oh, and it makes you think like, Oh, is this why things get miscommunicated or people don’t get the results that they want, because they’re not understanding what you’re talking about. So I had to go back into my messages. And I made sure that they were simpler. And it wasn’t that the topic was so complex. It’s just the way that I had written it was not very easy to read format.
Bret Thomson 42:03
Yeah, absolutely. That’s interesting. I’ve never thought about that internal conversation. That’s a good point. So it’s Hemingway app is really good. Another resource, you can do not a resource, but it’s more of a bit of a hack. And that is sit down opposite someone that you feel comfortable with. And record a conversation with them and try and sell them on your product. Get it transcribed. And then you’ll have 70% of your copy done. If because most people speak good copy, just take out all the um’s and ah’s. And that’s a really good way to actually get your core message across in a real conversational tone.
Tanner Larsson 42:47
Yeah, that’s actually a really cool way to do it. I like that idea.
Bret Thomson 42:50
Yeah, I did that with one of my first copywriting clients. I just said, sell me on this on a Skype call. He just went to tell me for 10 minutes, I got it transcribed, I just arranged it, put it back to me went live made a bunch of money. And he thought I was a legend. Maybe I was but like, it was his.
Tanner Larsson 43:13
Yeah. And you’re right. Because the thing is when you talk to someone, and when you write are two different things, when you’re writing your product description, you get into this mindset of, I’m trying to sell somebody, I got to figure this out, when you talk to somebody, we’re conditioned. And we know that we’re not going to use that same language, we’re going to have a conversation and I’m just going to slip in my sales methodology as I do it, whatever that is. And it’s just such a conversational tone, you’re going to say the same thing that you were trying to say by writing it, but you’re going to say it in a much more friendly and approachable, and easily digestible way. If you think about it, like when you have something technical to discuss you typically or technical, you read it, because it’s technical, and it needs to be considered. And then if it’s something that’s simpler, you just throw it in the conversation.
Bret Thomson 44:06
Absolutely. And you just reminded me of another good point, and I know you got to wrap this up, but it’s really important. There’s a mindset hack of thinking about who you’re writing to when you’re writing because if you’re thinking that you’re writing to 10,000 people straight away, that’s going to put you in a frame of mind which is a lot of pressure and it’s not going to give down real authentic message if you think you’re speaking to one person and someone that you know personally then instantly you’ll come through the more conversational like you said Tanner relaxed kind of style. Yeah, way less salesy. Yeah and here’s the ideal person to think about writing have someone who could afford to buy a lot of your products, but has a healthy level of skepticism. Because you might have some fanboys fangirls out there who buy everything but don’t write to them because you might overlook selling them as well. So, someone who’s got money to buy, a lot of people they have sometimes have a mindset challenge when it comes to, they don’t want to ask for money, and that can come through on the copy that if you buy and all that kind of stuff in emails if you love your product, it’s your duty, your obligation to get it into the world, right? Because if not through you, they’re going to buy a crappy product of someone else. So you write with that confidence when you write to someone who’s got the money to buy, but they’ve got a healthy level of skepticism and write to that one person if you know that person personally, and that’s real, that’s the magic, right there. Like a family member or whatever, because that’ll help you right in that real conversational time.
Tanner Larsson 45:51
Absolutely. No, that’s good. That was awesome. Thank you so much, everybody. If you’re listening to this make sure you take action on it. I mean, again, these episodes are for you and Bret just dumped a bunch of gold in your lap right now. And all you got to do I hope you’re taking notes. But if not, you can watch it again. But what you need to do right now is go over to iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or wherever or in YouTube subscribe, subscribe to both of them. So you can watch the video podcast when we share our screens. And you can listen to it on audio when you’re on the go. So make sure you’re subscribed to both. To do that go over to buildgrowscale.com forward slash podcast. You can get the show notes there and links to where this podcast is both on YouTube and everywhere else that it is syndicated. And then again guys, if you like this if you enjoyed what Bret had to say, if you like the podcast, leave us a review. let others know that you liked it. Let’s share it with the world help us get it out there. And then also feel free to leave us a comment and tell us other topics you’d like us to cover on the show. And then in future episodes, we can do that. Again the show is for you. So help us make it what you want it to be. And with that guys, we will see you in the next episode.
Bret Thomson 46:59
See you guys.
Ecommerce Store Audit
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Ecommerce Store Audit
Want us to do an Audit on your e-commerce store and show you how you can make some quick changes that will dramatically increase sales and profits without increasing your traffic?