Conversion Copywriting: The Secret to Building Trust and Increasing Revenue for Your Ecommerce Business
This is a guest post written by Rishi Rawat of Frictionless Commerce, one of TrustedSite's agency partners.
Our goal as marketers is exactly the same as that of you, the business owner. You want sales to go up, more people to buy your product, and your business to keep growing. That’s what we want for you, and for us as well.
With this singular goal of converting more ecommerce site visitors into buyers, we started A/B testing 11 years ago.
When we started out, our hypothesis was that ecommerce sites must adequately replace the salesman in person. The ecommerce site and all its elements were responsible for building trust in the product and the brand in the customer’s mind.
Since you’re not selling the product in person, every element of the site should come together to communicate to potential customers that you’re the right choice for them. If any part of their journey from finding you to actually placing the order is not clear or seems unbelievable, they’ll leave your website. Every element of the site must build trust in the visitor that your business can be trusted to deliver on your promises.
320+ experiments later, we’re certain that conversion rates are improved only when shoppers have all the relevant information about what they’re buying, and who they’ll buy it from. There are two ways to ensure your site visitors trust you enough to place an order, and we recommend you pursue both together:
- Quick Win: Use industry standard trustmarks like TrustedSite to show that you follow good business practices and maintain a high level of safety standards.
- Use Our Experience: Finetune the copy on your site using our copywriting checklist to boost sales by 10% (minimum). We’ve already tested design, layouts, and everything else. Copy tweaks drive the best results in improving conversion rates.
What’s the challenge?
The latest surveys and studies in 2020 show that the average conversion rate of ecommerce websites is 2.86%. This means out of every 100 qualified visitors on your website, you’re only closing sales for 2.86 of them on average!
That’s a horrific statistic, and has only worsened over the years.
At Frictionless Commerce, when we think about copywriting to optimize conversion rates, we're thinking about it from the perspective of buyer psychology. We’re only concerned about what our clients’ buyers are thinking and how we can make the decision-making process for them as frictionless as possible. Remember our goal?
This means we don't:
- Focus on our own style preferences.
- Worry about getting recognition from other creative copywriters.
- Think about getting "oohs" and "aahs" from clients.
Also, the copywriting universe is huge. And we're 3 people.
So, for us, the key is being super niche. So within buyer psychology, we only think about techniques to convert first-time buyers (people who have never bought from you before).
If that isn't your focus, the list below might not help. However, if you are looking for a list (based on buyer psychology) that reveals the secret to converting new buyers, this is the only list you should use.
Finally, the list
Using what we've learned about human psychology and from our experiments, we created a copywriting checklist that shows how to write product page copy that boosts sales by 10%. Our conversion copywriting checklist:
- Tell them you’re “too good to be true”, but don’t let them stay skeptical
- Show your expertise; they find it sexy
- Talk about the obstacles you’ve overcome; they root for people who beat the odds
- Fascinate them using surprising details
- If you can visualize any piece of information, do it
- Motivate them to break their habits
- Personalize the experience for them
- Make them feel like they’ve stumbled onto something rare
- Resolve their negative thoughts
Conversion Copywriting Examples:
1. Tell them you’re “too good to be true”, but don’t let them stay skeptical
Buyers like good news. But when the news is too good they start getting suspicious. A 74% discount seems too good to be true. Now the buyer is thinking:
- Is this item about to be phased out?
- Is there a defect I'm not aware of?
- Is the company about to shut down? Inventory liquidation? If so, will I be able to make a return?
If you actually want to give a 74% discount, do it like this: add a link right next to the discounted price (location is key) that says something to the effect of, "why this crazy discount?"
On click, show a popup with this message:
Running retail stores is expensive. There are staff costs. Rent. Inventory costs. With multiple locations, those costs add up.
We decided to eliminate all of those costs and pass most of those savings to you.
But here’s the thing, only 7% of people in the US know about us. Most still prefer to go to retail stores and end up overpaying. We get it, changing habits is hard.
Instead of spending big money advertising, we’ve decided to offer incredible discounts (on our already low prices) in the hope that when you receive your order you will be so happy you’ll tell 5 of your closest friends about us. Think of this as a bribe 🙂
2. Show your expertise; they find it sexy
There is a reason you don't take medical advice from your florist brother-in-law. We are living in a highly specialized and technical world where shoppers are looking to buy from people that are super-specialized experts in those fields. Therefore, as marketers, we need to make sure our product story gives the reader confidence in our expertise.
3. Talk about the obstacles you’ve overcome; they root for people who beat the odds
It's human nature to want to support people who have overcome the odds. We want to see David take down Goliath. What challenges did you overcome? Don't hide, talk about them.
Skiplagged.com is a site that helps you find cheap flights. To drive home that point they used this copy: "Our flights are so cheap, United sued us… but we won."
4. Fascinate them using surprising details
"Why should I add in interesting details to my sales pitch?"
Reason 1: humans are incredibly curious. We are information-seeking machines.
Reason 2: digesting a sales pitch requires mental processing. It is taxing and can get monotonous. Interesting details act mini energy boosts, giving the reader a burst of excitement that propels them to continue exploring our sales pitch.
One way to unearth these interesting details is to do a Google search about your product category. "Room air purifier" and "dog wheelchair" are examples of product categories. Your search will lead to a blog post or newspaper article with an interesting stat or trivia. Work it into your copy.
Fact: it takes the average user 7 years to acknowledge that they need a hearing aid. Most people don’t realize this and it’s a surprising detail.
Now, let’s think about someone visiting Hear.com (not a client). To drive home this point we added a “guess how long …” question to the top of the page:
Now the user can interact with it. This is what they see when they make a wrong selection:
And when the correct choice is made:
The whole point of our concept is to help the majority of visitors discover this surprising detail.
Shall we blow your mind?
How long can we expect a new visitor to stay on our site? Globally, the average session duration for e-commerce is a measly 2 minutes 32 seconds.
5. If you can visualize any piece of information, do it
Human beings are designed to absorb visual input. In fact, more than 50% of the cortex—the surface of the brain—is devoted to processing visual information.
Use copywriting to evoke a mental image and drive the sale.
This is what was on a card found in a hotel bathroom:
“MGM Resorts has saved 794 million gallons of water in the past 5 years, which is the equivalent of 1,200 Olympic sized swimming pools.”
Did the swimming pool flash in your mind?
Another example: $6 billion dollars is an abstract figure. Most humans can’t relate to it. So, I’ll make it visual by saying:
“At $50,000 a year, it would take 120,000 years to pay off $6 billion. That’s the lifetime earnings of 3,000 people. (source: Netflix’s show Space Force).”
6. Motivate them to break their habits
We think too much about our direct competitors (other companies that tell what we sell).
Your bigger competition is the shopper’s mind. Shoppers use creative tricks so they don’t have to buy your breakthrough product. 2 creative tricks:
- ‘Pretend this isn’t a problem’ strategy
- Use workarounds
‘Pretend this isn’t a problem’ strategy:
Imagine you are a company that sells long term food storage (this is freeze-dried food that has a shelf life of 25 years). People buy your product because they are concerned about being in an extended emergency situation where they don’t have access to food.
Here is a line that will give buyers the nudge to move forward:
It’s tempting to hope one never has to be in an emergency situation.
And 9 times out of 10 that’s the case for most of us.
Imagine you sell an adult hybrid exercise bike like this:
It’s smart to assume many people looking into buying an adult hybrid bike already use other methods to workout, like running on a treadmill or running outside.
So if you want to convince them to buy your adult hybrid bike it’s a good idea to talk about how running places a lot of pressure on the joints.
People need motivation to break habits. My story:
7. Personalize the experience for them
If you have a technical product, your product page is likely long. Some visitors are looking for just the facts, others are interested in the complicated details. Give them both a voice. At the top of the description, add a menu like this:
How much time do you have to learn about [product] today?
[I have time] [I have 2 minutes]
For shoppers who select [I have time], show the full pitch. For those who select [I have 2 minutes], show the condensed version.
8. Make them feel like they’ve stumbled onto something rare
It is human nature to want to feel special. We like knowing we’ve discovered something other people are yet to discover. As a marketer, I want to let my potential buyer know they are lucky to have discovered me because had they come any other time they might have missed me.
“Most people hunting for the perfect emergency medical kit give up in frustration. They never make it to this page.”
“In the past week, only 77% of our visitors discovered this page. That’s a shame because we believe this is one of our top products.”
“Over 63 million households own a dog in the U.S. Only 1% of those households buy raw pet food for their best friend.”
9. Resolve their negative thoughts
Now, if you’ve done all the steps described above you have created a buyer who is itching to buy.
But, if there are any lingering negative thoughts, they will derail the sale.
No matter how convinced the buyer is, if there are any remaining nagging thoughts in their mind it’s going to hold them back. This is just how it is. Therefore, as a marketer, we need to anticipate all negative thoughts so we can tell a story that not only amplifies desire but also resolves them.
Imagine a shopper is on checkout and sees your shipping price. We know from studies that online shoppers hate paying for shipping.
So it’s quite possible our shopper is turned off by the shipping charge. Therefore to address this, right next to the shipping price, add a link that says “shipping price explanation” and on click show this popup message:
No one likes paying for shipping. We get it. These days most retailers give free shipping. But how do they do it? Have carriers stopped charging for shipping? Of course not. The only way to give free shipping is to either increase the price of the item or underinvest in post-sale customer service. One way or another you will pay for it. We just prefer to be transparent about it.
Wholesaleaccessorymarket.com is a wholesale site. They sell large orders. I went to their product page, added an item to the cart, and saw this message:
This is a perfectly logical message. It logically explains the reasoning. But shoppers buy for emotional reasons. Some people will read this message and think “I don’t understand why I need to wait 7-10 days”. Here is one way the retailer could address this:
Waiting 7 – 10 business days sucks
We get it. But we had a challenge. We obviously want to offer both lightning-fast shipping and incredible value. But, when only 1 can be picked we choose incredible value. 87% of our customers favor this. If you can wait 7 – 10 business days you’ll see this Down On The Farm Patriotic Unisex Blend Tee is worth it.
A shopper’s negative thoughts will change based on factors unique to your marketing pitch. But one question shoppers will have no matter what you are selling is “am I overpaying?”. This is a universal question. So we might as well nail price justification.
Conversion copywriting styles help you write copy your site visitors can really enjoy. When you make the entire process easy and fun for them, they’d keep itching to come back for more. The cycle to improve conversion rates becomes self-sufficient.
About the author
We are Frictionless Commerce and over the last 12 years, we’ve thought about just one thing: how do we get online shoppers to convert? We’re fascinated by buyer psychology. And once we understand how your site visitor thinks we use our 9 point copywriting process to convince and convert them.
If you are active on LinkedIn you should definitely connect with me (Rishi Rawat). I post ecommerce conversion ideas on LinkedIn every day.