Only 2 out of 10 will read past this line.
How to keep them reading? Find out below.
Why Conversational Copywriting? Think 20%
Those 2 out of 10 folks that read past this line depend on my ability as a writer. And as a conversationalist.
No, not necessarily writing like I speak, but if I can relate with you when I write.
And whether I'm gaining your trust. Or if I'm writing anything that piques your interest.
It's called conversational copywriting. Here's the best definition:
“One friend enthusiastically selling something to another friend.”
─ Nick Usborne, 35 year copywriting veteran,
conversational copywriter on the web since 2000.
I agree with him.
No matter what it is we're selling. Even if it's a B2B complex purchase, with many people in the loop.
Conversational copywriting is the type of persuasion marketing that works for the web. And business.
It's the no B.S. and no hype alternative to the type of marketing that wants to make you scream. Or hit that red x in the corner.
It's the type of persuasive writing skill that says we must be more respectful and kind. It says that, given the right information, people are more than capable of making good purchase decisions.
5 Reasons why conversational copywriting is important
1. Because the internet and social media are conversational mediums!
It's easy to imagine how conversational copywriting is a natural fit. Traditional pushy and loud marketing tactics DON'T fit.
2. Because we buy stuff to feel good.
Conversational copywriting embraces the emotions of the active searcher. It comes alongside people and helps them find things. Honestly and transparently.
No matter if it's a want, need, or desire. Engage your reader ... right where they are.
3. People depend on a high-trust factor before they'll make a purchase.
And people DO want to make that purchase! But you need to tell them they're in the right place.
And Google supports you, 100%.
4. Conversational copywriting helps to build lasting business relationships.
Conversational copywriting goes hand-in-glove with content marketing. This important business combination places priority on the lifetime value of the customer.
5. Conversational copywriting is the future of marketing.
Two thoughts: mobile devices and voice search.
Let me tell you why!
1. The internet and social media channels are conversational mediums
There's an old-school advertising myth that says the language of conversational copywriting is too soft to work on the internet.
Here's why that myth is completely wrong. The internet is not TV, radio or magazine.
Before the internet was born, the majority type of advertising was interruption marketing.
In other words, your routine must be interrupted. And hopefully you became enthralled enough to make a purchase. "Buy now! But wait, there's more!" And all that.
Because you’re interrupting people, you have to be pushy and loud.
The web became popular in the early '90s with forums and chat rooms. There was no selling. The internet was never conceived as a place that would be useful for sales.
And that's really apparent today. Websites and social media channels are mainly built for blogs and articles, not the bullhorn-style selling of yesterday!
"A captive audience on TV worked for interrupt marketing, but it doesn't work for the internet."
When advertising pushes into a conversation online with old-style broadcast methods, people push back.
That’s why folks install ad blockers on browsers and place filters on their email. They don’t like to be interrupted online.
We're not a captive audience when we're online. We bounce about, surfing for exactly what we want to see.
The bottom line: we're marketing to an active audience online. Not a passive one as copywriting and advertising was in the last century.
The new norm
When we're shopping online, we're actively searching for what we want, need, and desire. We're in control of our experience.
Non-believers of conversational copywriting don't see the new norm:
One friend enthusiastically selling something to another friend.
If we don't like what we see, we're off to visit another website. We're going to shop somewhere else.
Now, there are exceptions. Niches like financial, health supplements and fitness, survivalists, etc., often use interruption marketing techniques.
The writers pander to emotions such as the fear of missing out, pride, protecting your family, keeping up with the Joneses, vanity, etc. to make their sales pitches.
Which leads me to the 2nd reason why conversational copywriting is important ...
2. Because we buy stuff to feel good
We're hard-wired to react to fear and threat. That's the native response of the amygdala, the fight-or-flight and emotional center in our brains. This is why traditional hard-charge copywriting works so well for certain niches.
"Get it now! You're going to die! The saber-tooth tiger is at the door!"
Notice any connection with politicians?? But I digress ...
Here's another way that we're manipulated:
Go down to your local fast-food burger place. Order a burger and get a lot of fat, order fries and get a load of salt, order a soda and get a load of sugar.
Fat, salt, sugar. It's all designed this way. Food scientists know we're addicted to each of these.
Back when we were in caves, fat – salt – sugar used to be rare. We had to scratch and claw to get any of it. If we ran across it, we felt like we had to gorge on it to survive.
"This is the amygdala screaming at you right now: Survive! Get it now! Protect your family!"
Interruption marketing DEPENDS on the native response of the amygdala to generate these fears and feelings.
Conversational copywriting says we must show more respect and kindness. We don't take advantage of people's fears.
Persuasive online copywriting skills should recognize and acknowledge the passion of the searchers. Conversational copywriting embraces their emotions honestly and transparently.
They help the consumer or business buyer find what they need.
Without being manipulative.
We're a driven people
We buy stuff. Whether it's a need, want, or a desire. And then we begin justifying it.
I own eight guitars. Do I need eight guitars? No. I WANT eight guitars.
I'll justify that by saying:
"I play in bands and at church. I can create different sounds with more guitars!"
And even if I don't buy the guitar right away, I'll lust after the thing anyway!
Whether it's a true need, like finding the right clothes for your kids, or a deep want, like me and my guitars, or it's a big desire, like raising money to help dig a well for those without water ...
"... It's our basic emotions ─ and others, like lust and love ─ that drive us when we buy."
Now, in B2B, there is much more logic and reason used in purchases. But don't forget. No matter the transaction, there are always people involved, justifying their positions. Decision makers are people!
If you believe your factory will be better off if you get an upgraded wire stripping machine because it's more efficient, safer, modern, convenient, time-saving, etc...
I'm going to write about how these benefits will make a difference.
Who wins? Goldfish or human?
You've probably read or heard about the theory that the human attention span is worse than a goldfish. That's pure rubbish!
The intention with this was probably reflecting the need for instant gratification of the masses. But it gives no credit to how intelligent we are.
Sure, I'm going to leave a website if I don't see what I need in a few seconds. That's because I'm on a mission to find something.
Not because I have the attention span of a fish.
I want to make purchases. And I want to find the solution for the parts I need to build a Data Acquisition System. My time is limited.
It's limited by the demands of my lifestyle, family, and workplace requirements. When I set out to shop online, I have goals.
But before I make any purchases, I want to trust the information I'm reading. I'll look long and hard at the source of the information.
I want to do my research from reliable, authoritative sources.
I'd rather get in touch with the product expert. Or know that the reviews I read are reliable. That their experiences apply to my situation.
So, that's my mission: to find what I'm looking for given my time constraints. It doesn't mean I have the attention span of a goldfish!
The human wins ...
I'm quite able to concentrate and read about SPECIFIC and RELIABLE information for longer than 7 seconds.
Now, you're definitely better off designing your webpages for folks who're in a hurry. And let's face it: some people, like me, are easily distracted.
Even if they're not, the byproduct of your efforts is showing the person that they're in the right place.
And you're going to save them time today. Smart. And very valuable to them.
3. People depend on a high trust factor before they'll make a purchase
People definitely want to make purchases. And they want you to be their solution. Tell them they're in the right place. Right away.
Google understands your need for reliable sources. They created a method of ranking web pages according to their values of Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
This way, their search results pages are as accurate as they can be for the words or questions asked them.
This ranking method help companies get well-deserved search page results.
Their method of ranking web pages is actually a strategy of how we interact with each other.
We are all judged ... and we judge ... on the level of Expertise we see as we search. When we speak and show claims on our websites, our level of Authority comes into view. And the higher level of these we show, the more we Trust.
The combination of these is the high trust factor that you and I want to see before we'll make a purchase.
4. Conversational copywriting helps to build lasting business relationships
As the old saying goes, "nobody cares what you know until they know that you care."
Conversational copywriting is important because it allows your business to invest in your prospects. Sow the seeds and reap a lifetime of customer value.
Lasting business relationships with your target group happen when you make a priority to court them.
“Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.”
─ Brian Clark, CEO and founder of Digital Rainmaker
Brian is talking about the 'sales funnel'. Starting with the company sharing free and valuable content.
This valuable free content is followed by content that educates folks on the benefits of buying your product or service.
Next, you continue to share free and paid content that gives the customer a reason to do keep doing business with you.
In this funnel, there's a spectrum of customer awareness. And there's a spectrum at each level. And a different conversation to have with them for each level.
Conversational copywriting comes alongside the customer and continues the conversation at their awareness level. It continues the conversation already going on inside their mind.
"Conversational copywriting is market writing that doesn't talk AT people, it's market writing that talks WITH people."
And people like taking part in conversations. The more your marketing pieces acknowledge and encourage, the higher the trust you gain.
The more that people trust your product information, the more they trust you, the more authority they see. The more authority they see, the more they trust your claims of expertise.
And Google sees this, too. And rewards you. They see how important this relationship building is to your strategy.
Hire the right writer
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”
─ Mark Twain
No writers are better equipped to tell your company and product story than copywriters trained specifically for the web. These writers understand the power of using the right words to help people find you.
Yes, it's the power of using words so you can have better Google search results. But it's more important than that.
The power in the use of the right words signal your target audience that you know them. You understand them, and you're going to show them exactly how to solve their problem.
It's a better use of people's time when they encounter powerful, meaningful, thoughtful words and requests for action. This is what conversational copywriters do. That's our job.
It's all about selling as if one friend were enthusiastically selling something to another friend.
Which brings me back to the 2 out of 10 people thing ...
You need writer that's going to challenge your visitors to take action.
80% of the people who come to your web pages are only going to read the headline. Maybe they'll read the first few lines?
Can you give your entire offer within the first few lines?
How many of those 20% of people that've come to your page ─ and read farther down the page and seem interested ─ are going to accept your free content offers?
How many of those prospects are you going to be able to convert into customers?
For scanners, their eyes will drift downward and read any sub-headlines there. They're going to ask themselves:
- Am I in the right place?
- Should I keep reading?
- Do I even have the chance of finding what I need at this site?
- Am I going to search other pages of this site or click the red x?
You need a web content copywriter and a website architect that understands and addresses these challenges.
5. Conversational copywriting is the future of marketing
More content than ever before is being read on mobile devices. Try and think how a collection of the wrong words are going to be on a small screen: one large pile of text.
Web copywriters know how to address this issue with the right amount of white space, and the right use of the most powerful and direct words.
We're fast approaching the time where 50% of all searches are voice searches.
Voice searches are naturally more conversational than typed searches.
For maximum search and people-connection results, web page writers must reflect the conversational language used by searchers.
Mobile devices, voice search. Sure, it's a brave new world. Many changes. It's good to keep up with the times.
People haven't changed, but how we connect with people now and in the future has and will.
Our need to have an emotional connection with people hasn't changed. But the only emotional connection you get with people using hard sell on the internet is, "back off!"
As marketers and business owners, let's recognize the importance of creating a lifetime value with our customers.
Let's lead our people through the river of desire while we develop relationships with them built on trust.
"Intimate selling, 'across the table', still exists and should exist. On the web, it's called a chat bot. Or a way for them to contact you personally."
Content marketing is nothing new. Market writers have successfully used it for centuries. What IS new is that it's distributed on the web and social media.
What's also new is that web and business content can no longer be written without thoughtful conversational copywriting.
Pushy and loud interruption marketing techniques might have a place, but probably not for your business.
Not in the marketplace of this century.
And the 21st century marketplace is a place where:
One friend enthusiastically sells something to another friend.
Have you heard these things about conversational copywriting before? What ideas do you have? Any thoughts about what I have? Tell me below.
Next up in the cornerstone content series is I'm Not Dead Yet: Traditional Copywriting.
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Steve Cass is an AWAI-trained B2B copywriter specializing in wire harness industry marketing.
Read more on Steve at the About page.