What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Copywriting?
SEO copywriting is all about creating useful, compelling and valuable content that targets specific keywords.
So that other people will gladly promote it on social media platforms.
This increases the authority and relevance of your content and improves its ranking in Google for the selected keywords.
I’ve written post on keyword research and SEO here.
Why Is Copywriting Important?
Copywriting plays a very important role in conversion rate optimisation.
It’s stops your target audience’s in their track and compells them to take action.
The importance of writing well remains unnoticed if it does not connect well with your audience.
Also, it can be said that a million ideal memos could be read and you could never even pay attention if it is not appealing.
Watch the video of “The Elements Of Copywriting That Drives Sales”
About Jesse Forrest
Starting out as an entrepreneur at 16 years old, I didn’t discover copywriting until much later at around 21.
I had the fortune of working with some really big names in America and around the world like Jay Abraham and Dr. D Martini from “The Secret” as well as countless others.
I cut my teeth with copywriting by standing on the shoulders of other great marketers and was blessed to have access to their tools and their training.
For the last 15 years, I honed my skill by writing for hundreds, if not thousands of clients in addition to working with some really great names.
Nowadays, I’m fortunate that I do still write for some of our selected few clients but now I have a team of other writers and editors who are working with our agency.
We write everything from website copy to emails, landing pages, Facebook ads, opt-in pages. You name it, we can write it.
Copywriting For Beginners
These are the fundamentals of SEO is important for both beginners and advanced writers.
In this training, we’ll cover the following:
- What is Copywriting?
- Copywriting vs content writing
- How people read online
- How to understand your audience language
- How to write a copy that sells without being cheesy
- 7 essential elements of copy that converts
What is Copywriting?
Copy writing is simply writing the words that get people to take action online.
To sign up, make a purchase, register, fill out a form, click a button, etc.
Copywriting vs Content Writing
Content comes in many forms and is typically used to inform, educate, entertain and build a relationship with an audience.
Here are some of the many different types of copy and content that we have online
|1. Facebook Ads||1. Blog Post|
|2. Website Copy||2. Email Newsletters|
|3. Marketing Emails||3. SEO Articles|
|4. Sales Pages||4. Videos|
|5. Webinar Registration Pages||5. Infographics|
|6. Opt-in Pages||6. Lead Magnet|
How To Understand Your Audience Language
- Speak or write in the language of your audience.
- Communicate the same kind of words and phrases and sentences they use.
When you do so, you have a better chance of gaining a rapport with your audience.
And also convincing them to take action, whatever that action might be.
David Ogilvy, the godfather of advertising. One of his famous quotes was…
Unless you understand your target audience on a deeper level…
Rather than surface level, you’ll never be able to write in a way that’s truly going to persuade or influence them.
So you need to understand:
- who your target audience is
- their problems
- their desires
- their frustrations
Because when you do, you can write a copy that affects them.
Who would you have a better chance of selling to a friend or a stranger?
A friend is easier to sell to or influence because you already understand their fears, their problems, and desires.
And most likely they trust you.
So when you write copy, you want your readers to feel you understand their problems on a deep emotional level.
A way to know your audience is to:
- Eavesdrop on your audience through:
- Amazon.com book reviews
- Facebook groups, or
- Reddit groups.
These are some great places where the conversation is happening already.
You can start looking at the conversations and identifying some of those things that we care about as copywriters and business owners.
So here’s an example, that I found some of the best-selling books on content marketing then started reading the reviews and this one stood out for me.
- When we’re looking through reviews, look for patterns:
- what are the frequent frustrations, problems, challenges that people talk about
- what are some of the goals of this audience when it comes to content.
You’re going to record the audience’s problems and challenges into a Google document.
And start to build like an intelligence dossier about my target audience.
Document what you observe being said over and over again.
As the benefits or goals has helped with their business and content strategy.
So now, I’m learning about how they talk about content, how they talk about this particular product.
Here’s another example of something you could do…
People do this in Facebook groups. In this example, this is a Facebook group for wreath makers.
Notice that it’s had 256 comments so people are answering this poster’s question and there are some great answers here that we can use to create a copy.
Another strategy is ask your audience
“What are some of the biggest challenges or problems?”
Then start mining their answers for the commonalities so you can use those in your copy.
When you’re building out your websites for people who you understand the audience.
You know their frustrations as well and that’s how you build rapport.
Find out what matters to your target audience and what they’re going through.
Then include that in your copy whether you’re writing emails, landing pages, Facebook ads etc
How People Read Online
Jacob Nielsen from the Nielsen group, a data analysis company said that…
When we land on a web page, we immediately start skimming, scanning and scrolling through the page and the copy.
We’re looking for things that are interesting to us.
So people aren’t reading word by word.
In fact, only 16 percent are actually reading every single word most people are not.
Here’s an example of a paragraph of information.
Studies show that when this paragraph was presented, only 27% of people actually read and comprehended the information.
When they turn that same information in bulleted format, the bulleted list readability increased by almost a hundred percent.
Have paragraphs of information where possible but not everything.
Turn others into bulleted lists the readability should increase dramatically.
The more people that actually read and comprehend the more likely they’re going to turn into buyers right or subscribers.
5 Tips for writing for the web
1. Meaningful headings throughout your page.
- Write into sections and each section has its own heading to stop people from scanning and scrolling.
2. Bulleted list
- Using bulleted list makes the content easy to read which keeps the reader to continue reading.
3. Bold important words and sentences
- Using bold text can help words to stand out.
4. Short sentences and paragraphs
- Break up paragraphs in two in between even one and four lines deep but certainly no deeper than that.
- Shorter sentences are easier to read especially on mobile.
5. Include relevant images that support the copy
- The images must be in line with the content.
We want people to stay on our website long enough to take the action we want them to take.
3 Questions Website Visitors Ask
- What is this site about?
- What can I do here/ Is it what I’m looking for?
- How is it useful to me/ Do I benefit from this information?
So they ask those questions when they first land on your website.
And if you think of any web page…
A web page has the top section that you see when it first loads before you start scrolling that’s a section.
We call that “above the fold” and then below that is “below the fold”.
Above the fold area is where people make that decision to stay or go.
So to just illustrate my point of how important the above the fold section is.
Think of it as the first impression so you can convince people to stay.
I’m gonna show you two examples with a quick five second test…
You will look at two different web pages.
- Answer the question “What is this web page about?”
- Form an impression of that page for the 5 seconds or with a quick glance of the image
- Then, yell it out or say it to yourself.
Okay, Let’s start…
What was that page about?
At the conference, people yell out “computers”, “business”, “I’m not sure”.
It’s not clear what this page is about.
There’s so much going on on this screen and people don’t know what it’s about.
It’s too confusing so that’s a bad example.
What was that page about?
Some of you will know. “Airbnb”
Look at the difference.
This got a clear image that is supporting the copy, “find a place to stay”.
The headline is short, clear and it makes sense.
We have the ultimate clarity.
We’ve got some social proof underneath, “Rent from people in 40,000 cities”.
It’s not too busy or distracting.
7 Essential Elements of Copy That Converts
The copy elements that you want to include and drive sales.
So that’s headlines is so important because if you don’t grab people’s attention…
The headline doesn’t do its job of getting people intrigued about what else is on the page.
And they simply will stop reading it’s the first copy.
Headlines is very effective to let people read more of the content.
Here are Headlines Best Practices:
- The headline should not be cute or clever or trying to win some kind of creative award.
- It needs to quickly communicate what the page is about to answer that question that everyone’s thinking.
2. Benefit focused
- Talk about the benefits whatever it is that you’re offering.
3. Problem focused
- Where your headline could be embarrassed by your outdated web copy.
- Write headlines between 5-10 words max.
- Add sub headlines which are the text below the headline where you can expand upon what you’re saying.
3 Headline Formulas & Examples
1.Say what it is
The heading of this page is “Fast and Affordable Copywriting”, this has an ultimate clarity.
And the sub headline adds more clarity about the headline.
2. Question Headline
One good example is from Neil Patel.
It’s short and it’s to the point, then again underneath he’s able to expand upon what that means.
And he’s offering that in the sub -headline below.
So just a great short to the point question can do wonders for a headline.
On our landing page, I’ve used number 10 there. You’ll notice that on a lot of news articles.
They’ll use numbers because psychologically says it works very well when it comes to writing headlines.
2. Sub-Headline and Value Propositon
What is a Value Proposition?
“A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered.
It’s the main reason a prospect should buy from you (and not from your competitors)” – Neil Patel from QuickSporut.com
Your value proposition should answer the question “Why should I choose you and not the competition?”.
That really is what your value proposition is stating.
Here is a good example from GrooveFunnels…
GrooveFunnels’ value proposition is right there in the two red ticks of the bonuses.
You didn’t know the fact that it’s free for life.
That is an incredible value proposition and then the bonuses are just bonuses for that as well.
Here’s one from Uber.
On their sub headline, they’re saying the reason why they’re different to a taxi service:
“One tap and the car comes directly to you, your driver knows exactly where to go and your payment is completely cashless”. So this is how they’re different, how they’re better.
They’re doing a similar tactic with their sub headline.
Drop the lengthy email threads so they’re really calling out without saying the names of the competitors.
Just mention the industry problems that everyone recognizes and then explain how you’re different.
3. Hero Image
- Your hero image is the first visual people see
- Visually represent what the page is about
- Avoid stock images, if possible
Get real authentic images of you, your products, your service, your brand or whatever it might be it will be better than using stock images.
Here’s an example of a web page, a personal brand.
It’s an image of “Celestine” looking professional and lovely.
It’s a good hero image if you’re selling a service or if you’re a Freelancer.
You can also show the product being used in the hero image.
Here’s an example of that on Square.com.
They’re showing how it’s so easy to swipe your card using that little device.
This is a great example if you have a physical product.
Here’s another one from a subscription box company snack nation.
They’re showing you all of the boxes and unpacked all the goodies that you get when you sign up with Snacknation.
If you have a physical product, get some professional photography done.
Showcase as the hero image like you can see on the image above.
4. Call To Action Button (CTA Button)
- The CTA button informs the visitors what will happen or what they’ll get if they click on the button.
- I’m talking about the words inside of those buttons but also in the design as well.
- So ask yourself, what action do you want the potential customer or client to take?
- It’s because the CTA button informs the visitor what will happen or what they’ll get if they click on that button.
- You’re writing to answer what will happen or what they’ll receive if they click on the button.
CTA Button Copy
- Include action words (get, book, register, etc.).
- There are so many better words to use than “submit” in your CTA button copy.
- Stand out with bright, contrasting colors – use colors like bright pink, bright blue, bright green which should contrast with the background.
- Prominent placement (above the fold).
- You want to have the CTA Button in the above the fold area that’s really important so you get people to click on that early.
Just like we can see with Netflix.
Their button “Join free for a month” so people would be like “Yes! I want to join free and I get a whole month. Fantastic!”.
So they’ve put their CTA button in there tells them what to do “Join”, it also tells you what you get for free access for a month.
Another is some kind of online fitness plan and their CTA button is “Get started”.
“Get started” is fine but we could improve that in a variety of ways.
It’s still good copy though and it’s bright orange and the background is kind of a light blue so it stands out really nicely.
A great example of a CTA button from GrooveFunnels and it’s something you could model as well when you’re writing copy for your own GroovePages.
5. Social Proof
We look for guidance before making our own decisions.
A good example I’m using is tips jar.
Now if you go to a bar or a restaurant you often see the tip jar is full of money.
It’s an indicator that other people have left tips so therefore we should do so as well.
It’s appropriate and encouraged to tip here because everyone else is doing it.
4 Ways To Use Social Proof In Your Copy
- Include the number of users
GrooveFunnels used a great copy of social proof because it’s the number 1 page and funnel building platform
They have 43,000 new members that switched in the last 30 days to draw attention.
This just shows so many people are joining, so many people are loving the platform.
It shows other people that “hey, why don’t you join as well?”.
2. Include where your company is featured in
One way you can do that is by just showing the logos of the media outlets online or offline.
3. Include which leading company trusted yours
You can show some of the companies that you’ve worked for.
You can show some of the clients you’ve worked for as well.
4. Include the certifications or qualifications of your company
The image below is taken from an accounting practices website.
They showed their certifications and their qualifications because not every accountant has the same qualifications.
So what they’re doing by showing social proof is saying “Hey, all of these companies we’ve worked with before”.
We’re certified by these companies.
They’re giving us a thumbs up so we must be good.”
- Testimonials are great when they’re real and genuine and authentic (not when they’re purchased from fiverr.com as some people will do)
- But testimonials really are a powerful way to increase trust with your visitors especially if they’ve never heard of you.
- 92% of people are said that they read testimonials when considering a purchase (wendasta.com)
- The biggest websites in the world whether it’s amazon.com or eBay or any e-commerce website will often have customer reviews.
- It’s almost mandatory because they know they can really increase your conversion rates.
Here is an example of a good testimonial which I grabbed from a website and noticed a few of the underlying texts.
This testimonial is decent for several reasons.
- His photo. We can see this is a real person.
- We can see this person’s full name and relevancy in terms of his occupation.
- We know that Tom Rohlf is the founder of Player 10.
The testimonial itself has underlined the parts because it doesn’t just ramble on about anything.
It says “When starting to think about selling my business…”
He’s giving you context and is relating to other people who might read this.
Other customers who might read this who might be in the same situation or have the same challenge.
He’s showing specific benefits that he got from working with this company and the situation was in which people often relate to.
How do you get testimonials?
For many small businesses, entrepreneurs or even large companies – some don’t have testimonials.
Because they never bothered to ask their clients or customers for them.
So it’s a simple of just asking your customers for testimonials by asking them in person or send them an email/ chat.
Here are some of questions you can ask:
- Why did you decide to work with us?
- What are some of the benefits you experienced working with us?
- Who else do you think would benefit from our services?
So the better questions you ask, the better answers you’ll get.
Then put all of the answers together and format them into a testimonial.
7. Features and Benefits
What is the difference?
Feature are facts about product or services; they add credibility and substance to your landing page.
Benefits explain how your product or service improve people’s lives.
The need to know are the features but the benefits is what makes people buy.
Here’s an example.
So Feature explains what the product does.
While the Benefit is how the customer feels about that feature.
You can transform your features into benefits with two simple questions:
or “So what?”.
Here’s an example copy of an iPod.
Nobody knew what an iPod was, it was a revolutionary new product.
Back in the day, the iPod was not the first mp3 player but when they wanted to dominate the market which they did.
They needed to explain to people what it was.
If I said to my mom “an iPod it has three gigabytes of storage”, my mom is not going to know what that means.
However, if I say “iPod a thousand songs in your pocket”…
Oh that’s the benefit of having so much storage so that makes sense.
So that’s going to be far more sexy of a benefit than saying “iPod with 3 gigabytes”.
One is a feature, one is a benefit.
This is how you turn features into benefits.
Create a spreadsheet or get a piece of paper then create a table like the image below.
- In one column write down all of the features of your product or service.
- Ask yourself; “which means” or “so what”
- Then turn that into a benefit, so four gigabytes of storage- what does that mean?
- So think about something the customer actually cares about.
- These could be different chunks or sections of your page or copy where you talk about the features but you also talk about the benefits so those two are so important.
So how do you display benefits and features in your copy?
You could have one section of your page with a heading, with some bulleted lists that talk about all of the features and then you can have another one where you talk about the benefits.
Talking about Apple, the image below is taken from their iPad air page which uses their own prewriting as well and follows these principles so we can see a heading in this section.
The headline is talking about the benefits of using the iPad air.
These are just some of the benefits right and they’ve got a picture of it being used there as well.
And here’s another example of using benefits.
This is from trello.com, a project management tool.
One of the benefits that they’ve listed here is on their headline and then they explained how you can do that using their platform.
It got a visual image there to help the reader, got some a short paragraph and they’ve even got a call to action there in this particular section of that page.
Done For You Copywriting
A special thanks to Jesse Forrest for contributing to this post.
If you’re like me and don’t have the time to write high converting copy…
Consider outsourcing it to Jesse and his team.
They write compelling copy for:
- landing pages
- Sales pages
- video sales letter
- email marketing campaigns
- and more!