The most valuable thing I own is this 1897 Sears catalog:
When it comes to copywriting there are so many schools of thought: some think it’s an art-form, others are convinced it’s scientific.
Also, there are a dozen different copywriting styles.
Most copywriters had a passion for writing and used that to build their copywriting career. Over time they picked up on subtle aspects of buyer psychology. That’s how they improved their persuasive writing skills. But their knowledge is mostly based on anecdotes and instinct.
These are good things but we had a different path of discovering copywriting.
Long hard journey
First, we started off with A/B testing. The goal wasn’t to write better copy, the goal was to convert more new buyers.
Then we tested design concepts.
After that, layout concepts.
And many other things.
Over time we realized that of all the things one can tweak copy tweaks drive the best results.
Why? Because design changes require a lot more approvals as we’re touching the brand. Plus, A/B testing a design change requires a lot of technical details with setting up an A/B test.
But copy is easy to change. And as a result copy tests have generated the best results for us in the last 10 years.
Being effort maximizers (or lazy slobs), now we only focus on copy.
When we think about copywriting we’re only thinking about it from the perspective of buyer psychology.
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 2 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
What we’ve learned about human psychology and how we use that to write product page copy that boosts sales 10%. The mind of your prospective buyer:
- Some like long detailed copy, others don’t.
- We can smell fake a mile away.
- Scan for deception1.
- Value seller expertise.
- Like an underdog story.
- We’re drawn to interesting/unlikely facts.
- Are risk-averse.
- We‘re visual animals. Did you know: the brain processes images 60,000x faster than words?
- Seek good deals.
- Want to conserve energy (we‘re lazy).
- Like knowing we’ve stumbled onto something rare.
- Hate bad news.
- Need motivation to break habit.
1This is an ad by a company that sells baby carts:
“After baby’s food and baby’s clothes, the most important thing you have to decide on is the little cart baby is going to ride on. [rest of the pitch …]“
If the cart maker had suggested baby carts are the most important the target audience would know they’re lying because that’s clearly not true. By acknowledging the things that are more important than their cart they’re earning trust.
It’s hard to write copy based on a checklist. Therefore, our advice is to write the first draft on your own. Then, once written use the checklist to see if any angle was missed.
If you’re interested I can email an example for each of the tactics listed above, just comment below.