Could this blog post help you write killer web copy?

Oh hello there.

I’m just kicking the tires on a new copywriting technique I picked up this afternoon in "Copywriting for Conversion", a webinar by Ryan Engley from Unbounce and Johanna Wiebe from Copyhackers (Spoiler Alert: It was awesome!).

See what I did there (with the title of my post) was “cushion” the promise I’m making (to help you write killer web copy) as a question.

According to Wiebe, cushioning helps me sound less like a pushy greasy sales person who is trying to trick you into clicking on the link to my blog post (or sell whatever I’m selling) by letting you decide: Will this help me or not?

Using this technique is more likely to make you want to find out more (and don’t even pretend like you don’t want to find out whether or not this post will help you write killer web copy), as opposed to a statement like this:

"This blog post will totally help you write killer web copy!"

Which, although totally cool what with it’s bold confidence and all, also kind of makes a reader narrow their eyes a little and think “Really? Yeah, right.”

So I learned about cushioning, for those days when I don’t want to sound like a pushy greasy sales person (which is pretty much all of the days btw), and a bunch of other cool tips. 

While I would recommend heading over to the Copyhackers and Unbounce websites for all the details and more, Johanna shared 4 tips (one for each part of the AIDA acronym: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) with some great examples that I would like to pass along.

1. Attention: Losing is more important than gaining

Telling the customer what your product stops them from losing is more effective than telling them what they are gaining.

An example: Save time filing your taxes -> Stop wasting time filing your taxes

2. Interest: Be specific

Being vague is often a way to make copy shorter, but being specific and getting the customer to see that your solution really fits their problem is worth spending a few extra words on

Johanna’s example: Our virtual assistants work when you do -> You start work at 6am, your virtual assistant starts work at 6am

Ryan raised a great point that this copy change also makes “our” virtual assistant “your” virtual assistant, which can be powerful technique in helping the customer envision themselves using your product/service.

3. Desire: Free = No value

Depending on how it is used, offering something (e.g., a feature, upgrade, product, etc.) for free actually makes us care less about it. Instead, saying “This one’s on us” makes people realize that you are providing them value by offering whatever it is for free. 

Johanna’s example: Free shipping -> We’ll pay the shipping

This is brilliant.

4. Action: Should sound effortless

Some of the words people put on buttons, like “Buy”, “Sign-up”, or “Submit”, create friction because they make you think of a whole process that needs to unfold. Instead, use words like “Go” or “Get”, or better yet, tell the customer you will do it for them.

Johanna’s example: “Buy” “Sign-up” “Submit” -> “Go” “Get” -> “Give me access” “Connect my calendar”

And that was just the first 4 minutes of the webinar (I know right?).