Copywriting basics: how to boost conversions

Moritz Kopp
12 Min.
copywriting basics for better conversions

Once immersed in the world of e-commerce, you are constantly confronted with all kinds of marketing terms: Leads, conversion, hook, brand identity, ad copy and many other technical terms lurk around online shops. Most of them come from marketing and are ultimately related to what is always the biggest goal of every shop: generating sales.

After all, once the shop has been created and the products have been entered, boosting sales is at the top of the to-do list. After all, the whole effort should be worthwhile.

This is exactly where copywriting comes into play. It acts as a link between product development and sales and should ultimately ensure that potential customers are enchanted with carefully chosen words and persuaded to buy.

Accordingly, good copywriting should be a high priority in every e-commerce and shop project. It often transforms an ordinary product into a winning product for your shop.

Why Copywriting?

Even if you have no ambition to become a copywriter, you should read the text to the end. Copywriting is relevant for every company and a cornerstone of modern marketing. Knowing the basics will make you much more flexible and your marketing more efficient. Not every start-up can afford professional copywriters right from the start.

It makes twice as much sense to deal with the topic. If in doubt, you can simply write your own advertising copy.

Since copywriting has a high value, it is worth taking a closer look at what it is all about. What is copywriting anyway? What skills do I need to write good copy? And above all: how do I write first-class advertising copy that turns my visitors into customers?

In this post, I'll answer all these questions so that you'll be eager to pick up the pen and get started!

What is copywriting?

Before we start with the implementation, we should talk about the definition. The term comes up incredibly often in the marketing world, although most people don't even know the clear definition.

Copywriting is a term from the English language that basically means nothing other than "advertising copy". This refers not only to the writing of texts such as product descriptions, but also to everything that belongs to the marketing of a company. This includes brochure and flyer copy, blog articles, ad copy, email newsletters, video scripts and much, much more.

Nowadays, copywriting has become a fundamental pillar, especially in e-commerce, but ultimately it is relevant to any company that does marketing (which, as we know, every company does).

As a copywriter, you have the important function of bridging the gap between product development and sales. This means that the copywriting must express the marketing message of the company or product concisely and in a way that is appropriate for the target group.

The main task is therefore to put the added value of a product (or any object to be advertised) in the foreground and to communicate it clearly and understandably to potential customers.

In the next chapter you will learn how this works and which skills are needed.

What skills are needed for good copywriting?

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Copywriting is much more than simple "texting". It encompasses many aspects of marketing, product development, branding and data analysis. Creative copywriting is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

These are the essential qualities you need to write killer copy:

Extensive expertise

As already mentioned, you need to have an overview of all essential areas of the company in order to be able to produce the right advertising texts. You need to know the target group, the product concept and the company's long-term brand strategy. These data points act as a compass for you when writing the texts and are essential to reach your goal. Otherwise, you are writing "blindly" and the probability that your texts do not express the marketing message well enough, do not describe the product correctly or even reach the wrong target group increases enormously.

Feeling for the written word

As a copywriter, you deal with texts every day. Your feeling for words must be correspondingly good. You have to know exactly which word arouses emotions at which point. Precise, concise writing that is clear without a lot of fuss is required here. This also includes a high degree of linguistic correctness. Spelling, grammar, commas and punctuation should not be foreign words, but must be second nature to you.

Creativity: giving old things a new shine

Logically, every copywriter must have creativity in his or her luggage. Very few companies are reinventing the wheel with their products and concepts these days. With copywriting, you have to be able to communicate familiar ideas in a new, modern way and at the same time convey the added value. This is why copywriters usually have a huge vocabulary. This serves as a source of creativity and makes it possible to always give concepts something new and unique.

Empathy: understanding your target group

Empathy, the ability to put yourself in other people's shoes, is always needed in copywriting. You need to be able to understand your target audience at the deepest level, to fathom their problems and desires, and to understand emotions. Empathy allows you to understand your potential customers and to tailor your copy accordingly. Always remember that you are not writing your texts for yourself, but for your target group. They are in the foreground and must be guided through your copy as comfortably as possible.

Natural curiosity and an open attitude

Curiosity is a very important factor, because in copywriting you need to understand your target group, but also your product and company. What characteristics make it what it is? What is it characterised by? What benefits does it bring to people that many may not have in mind? Curiosity helps you to develop interesting content and write exciting texts that captivate your readers. This also goes hand in hand with an open attitude, because the more open you are about (still) unfamiliar possibilities, people and facts, the more precisely you can write your text. If instead you close yourself off and only write about what you already know without learning anything new or having new experiences, your texts will be fundamentally limited. Openness and curiosity, on the other hand, turn simple words into an adventure.

Let's get started with the preparation

You now know what copywriting is all about, why it is so important and what skills you need to be equipped with. Now it's time for practical implementation. How is professional copy produced?

It's like so many things in life: first comes preparation. Good preparation is crucial to achieve the desired results afterwards.

Define your target group

One point that is unfortunately still too often underestimated by the best writers is the target group. You can write the most creative, witty and enchanting texts. But if they don't reach the right people, you won't see any results.

Time and again I see outstanding texts gathering dust in a tired corner on the website and inspiring no one. The reason is quite simply that the wrong people have been approached. All the writing effort and valuable creativity that went into it thus becomes completely worthless.

To avoid this, you should always (!) know exactly who your target group is before you start writing.

You must be able to answer the following questions:

1. what are the demographic basics?

This includes origin, gender and age. This is important because an 18-year-old man from Germany should be addressed differently than a 40-year-old woman from Spain.

2. what language does the target group speak?

On the one hand, this means the national language (there have already been cases where texts were created in the wrong language), but the style of language is also important. What is the typical jargon of the target group - colloquial language, youth language or technical language? Even if you can offer a good product and a suitable solution for your target group, they will still turn away if the communication is crooked.

What are the needs, problems and wishes of the target group?

Your text must be tailored to the problems and goals of your potential customers. Know the pain points of your target group and address them clearly and unambiguously.

4. what is particularly important to the target group when buying?

Some people attach the greatest importance to a favourable price. Others are happy to pay more if the service is good. Know your target group's relationship to money and costs so that you can take this into account in the text and possibly present it as an advantage.

How to find answers to these questions

It is not easy to get precise answers here. But it's definitely worth it, so you should take your time. In my opinion, social media is one of the best places to learn about user behaviour.

Forexample, your task is to write advertising copy for a company that produces sportswear.

To clarify the questions about the target group that are important for you, you can easily follow sportswear pages "undercover" on Facebook or Instagram.

Take a look around the comments section and discover how people talk and interact with each other. It's an ideal opportunity to get up close and personal with your target audience and gather insights. What conversations and interactions are triggered by certain products? Are there controversial topics, running gags or other leitmotifs in the target group that you can address?

Social media is the most efficient way to get to know your target group in the 21st century.

Define your goal

Just as important as the target group is the aim of the text itself. Are you writing a blog article, a product description, a flyer text or a video script? The format also has a great influence on the goal that is to be achieved with the text.

In order to write as efficiently and precisely as possible in the copywriting process, it is essential that you define the goal.

Mostly, one of the following goals is to be achieved:

  • Purchase
  • Lead
  • Download
  • Click on a link
  • Newsletter entry

Almost all of these popular goals can be summarised under the term "conversion". A conversion is therefore an action by users on your site or your shop and possibly converts visitors into buyers.

If you do not know what goal you are pursuing with your text, you are like a pilot who does not know where to fly. Even creativity, great formulations and innovative wording can't hide this, because even the most modern and technically best aircraft is no use if it flies around without a plan.

Knowing the goal helps you to build your text correctly and lead readers step by step to the desired action.

Picking up the pen: tips for implementation

Definition and preparation are behind us: now it's time to write! Many newcomers to copywriting find it difficult to get started, even after extensive preparation. A structured approach can help here.

The perfect headline

Whether it's a blog article or a product description: the headline of any text is a decisive factor for success. It is seen first and decides whether readers stay with it or jump off.

Writers therefore often cut their teeth on the headline and scribble various drafts on paper for hours until they decide on a mediocre version. But there are simple methods to create the perfect headline and save yourself the frustration.

My tips for a "catchy" headline

Use numbers

Numbers are very popular in headlines and titles at the moment. They make the headline extremely concise and convey the added value very precisely and unmistakably. Example: "7 quick tips and tricks to optimise your conversion rate".

Make a promise

Promises are a sure way to attract attention and draw users to your website site . Let's stick to our example: "With this trick you can optimise your CR by 3% in a flash".

Describe the added value

With very clear formulations, you can show users the added value within seconds. They will then know exactly what they will get out of the article or your product and will therefore be willing to take a closer look. Example: "Reasons why your conversion rate is still stagnating".

Playing with emotions

Use certain words to make it clear to readers what emotion is waiting for them and what problem is being solved. If you manage to establish the emotion in your headline, clicks and traffic are certain. Examples: "Effortlessly increase the conversion rate"; "Say goodbye to headaches - this is how you optimise the conversion rate".

The more experience you gain, the easier it will be to develop headlines. You can also combine the methods to get the most out of them: "3 tricks to effortlessly optimise your conversion rate".

Always make sure that the headline is easy to read and not too bulky. A good guideline for headline length is six to eight words. Generally, most people pick up the first three and last three words of a headline.

A length of six words therefore seems ideal. In the end, always decide individually which length is the right one for your text. Also compare yourself with the competition to find clues.

Use the APSA principle when writing

Copywriting Basics: ASPA method

There are virtually infinite different ways to structure texts. Most of them are based on the same marketing insights and have the same value. The important thing is that you choose one. This will give your texts a clear structure and a common thread.

My favourite is the so-called APSA layout, which I would like to introduce to you here. You can use this principle to structure any text, whether it's a blog post or a product description.

A: Attention

Point one is attention. Logical, because we want to catch the reader's attention at the very beginning. Then we can introduce them to the product, company or whatever the topic of your text is.

You can attract attention with a snappy headline (as explained in the previous chapter) and with exciting introductory lines. Address the emotional needs of your target group and make it clear to your readers what added value the text will bring them.

For example, remember the opening words of this post:

What is copywriting anyway? What skills do I need to write good copy? And above all: how do I write first-class advertising copy that turns my visitors into customers? In this article I will answer all these questions so that you too will be eager to pick up the pen and get started!

In this way, you address the reader's problems as concretely as possible and take into account the most important pain points. Since your readers know from the beginning that they have learned something new after reading the text that is relevant at the moment, they will stay until the end.

So ask yourself which questions are most important to your target group and set out the answers right at the beginning.

P: Problem

Nowadays, a particularly serious mistake often happens in marketing, because again and again one hears that one must "sell a solution". That is basically correct. But before selling the solution, you have to sell the problem. This means that it must become clear to your readers why your product or company is relevant in the first place.

Imagine a technology company developing a laptop with unprecedented values: the fastest processor, the largest working memory and many other technical highlights.

Now the question is whether it makes more sense to focus on these highlights (the solution) or on the problems instead.

Which text do you find more appealing?

Variant 1: "The new MegaNoteBook: 8.0 gigahertz processor power, 2 terabyte SSD".

Variant 2: "The new MegaNoteBook: No more loading screen and error messages".

The second variant should be preferred to the first. Here, the concrete problems are highlighted. Readers can identify with these. These are usually much more tangible, since all of us have experienced them at some point. We all know about annoying loading screens and error messages on slow, outdated PCs and laptops. We would all love to do without them.

On the other hand, site most people do not know the processor performance or the working memory of their hardware at all. Confronting them with bare facts and figures - the solution - is not yet effective here.

So the first thing should always be to focus on the problem. What pain is the problem causing the client? If you have expressed this well enough and your readers identify with it, they will also look at your solution.

S: Solution

This now comes into play. When presenting the solution, always make sure that it is close to everyday life and concrete. Here you must describe exactly how the problem is solved and how the customer gains added value. Highlights and facts can also be mentioned at this point.

A: Action

You have now attracted attention, described the problem and presented the appropriate solution. The biggest part is done, but one essential detail is still missing. If you forget this, all your work may be wasted.

If you have managed to keep your reader's attention from start to finish, be sure to include a Call to Action (CTA) at the end.

A CTA is a call to action that is intended to convert passive attention (reading) into a concrete action (conversion).

This could look like this: "You want to learn more about conversion optimisation? Then subscribe to the newsletter now and look forward to new tips and tricks every day."

In this example, I have once again included the benefits next to the call to action. This makes the CTA even more palatable and efficient.

This completes the APSA layout. Each point builds on the other, so you should give each area the same attention and dedication. If one adjustment screw does not fit, the whole text may no longer work.

With a well thought-out text according to the APSA principle, you guarantee a comfortable user experience and increase the probability of a conversion.

Always think customer centric

The last tip I want to give you in this article is to always think customer-centric. This means that you must always write from the customer's point of view and put yourself in the shoes of your target group. This requires a great deal of empathy, but it is one of the most important factors for success.

Many copywriters focus too much on their own idea of added value and a good text and disregard the customer's point of view. As a result, the content of your words is only partially absorbed because the target group cannot identify with it 100 per cent.

In addition to a detailed target group research, you should therefore always focus on the needs, wishes and goals of your potential customers. Choose a topic that interests you and a shop where you buy products again and again. How do you want to be addressed? What points are you interested in and what don't you care about? What questions need to be answered for you to buy the product?

You then proceed in the same way with the target group for whom you are writing texts. This way you are guaranteed to hit the right note.

Copywriting Basics - Conclusion

In the introduction, I wrote that you should at least know the basics of copywriting in order to become active yourself and enhance your website or shop. Now you have learned a lot about the basics (and beyond).

From the definition and meaning to the correct preparation and practical implementation. Of course, this is no guarantee that you will be able to produce outstanding copy immediately. As with any other topic, practice makes perfect.

You now have the tools and knowledge you need to start with a plan and write your first texts, gain experience and turn visitors into customers!

Do you have any other questions?

What questions do you have about copywriting? We look forward to your comments. Are you interested in online marketing and other WordPress topics? Then follow RAIDBOXES on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or via our newsletter.

Moritz Kopp is a passionate freelancer and business connoisseur. Besides e-commerce and social media, his heart beats above all for writing value-added blog articles, rousing product texts and crisp ad copy. As a freelancer, he has worked for years with a wide variety of companies in a wide variety of industries all over the world.

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