No doubt if you spend enough time surfing the web, you’ve had to slog through websites that read like a phone book. Dry, bland and having about as much personality as a Pet Rock, it’s as if the people putting them together went out of their way to suck the life right out of them.
Sometimes the culprit is simply poorly executed copywriting lacking any creativity. More often than not, it has to do with well meaning people who have gotten it into their heads that in order to create a well optimized website that converts, personality has no place.
I’m here to tell you a little something about personality filled copy and conversions -
It’s not an either/or proposition.
Importance of emotional responses in decision making
People often base decisions on their emotions and then justify them after the fact. The idea that emotions influence the decisions we make is nothing new. It’s been studied extensively in the field of neuroscience for years and then translated into its effect on consumer behavior.
According to data compiled by Millward Brown, advertisements that appealed to emotions had greater consumer involvement than those focused on a rational message. They also tended to be more memorable, which in turn made them more likely to generate sales.
Emotionally engaging content is just as important for user experience and conversions on websites.
Why? There are real, live human beings on the other side of that computer screen.
And, relying on stale and uninspiring copy reduces your chances of tapping into the emotionally based piece of the decision making puzzle.
Striking a balance between art and science
The best websites out there combine great storytelling, a distinctive personality in their copy and an adherence to good optimization principles.
They are neither all style over substance nor all substance with about as much appeal as wallpaper paste.
Let’s take a look at how you can drive your message home with copy that hits the right tone and improves the overall effectiveness of your website.
1. Understand your customer base
It’s not enough to just get people to visit your site. You need to be getting the right people to your site, the ones who are the best fit for your business. Knowing who those people are is the first step. Then, creating copy that not only will resonate with them on a personal level but incentivize them in the ways that you’d like comes next.
Take the company, Gym It, as an example of a health club looking to target a distinct type of customer.
They are a no frills gym that is capitalizing on the fact that some people are tired of paying for lots of bells and whistles at health clubs that they never use. The above headline immediately keys into an anxiety many people have about paying to work out: embarrassment and shame associated with someday wanting to stop.
Tapping into these strong emotions while giving people a way to alleviate them simultaneously with an easy out perfectly ties in with someone who may be more of a casual gym goer.
2. Define your message and worry about SEO after
SEO can be a complete copywriting buzz kill. While writing with SEO in mind is extremely important when it comes to websites, having it be the main driver of your copy can lead to dismal results.
Merely stuffing keywords into your copy in the hopes that your site will rank higher in search results not only will get you penalized by the likes of Google but also makes reading it painful.
Instead, start with your value proposition and let that help you craft your headlines. Who are you targeting? What makes your product or service unique? How will it benefit your prospect?
These are the types of questions that need to be answered and integrated into the copy people see first when they land on your site.
From there, it’s a matter of putting the words together that match not only the tone you’re trying to achieve but take into account your need to be found by the search engines.
3. Being simple doesn’t have to mean being boring
A Harvard Business Review study from 2012 on “stickiness” or, what makes a consumer follow through on an intended purchase, found that “decision simplicity” was an overriding factor. Basically, the easier it is for people to find the information they need, understand it and then weigh their options, the more likely they will be to act on a website.
Take a look at the home page for the Dollar Shave Club.
They sell razors for men by mail order. Their copy is simple and straightforward. They’ve got a clear call to action directing visitors where to go to sign up. The personality of the brand comes through in the video. Completely irreverent, it speaks to exactly the kind of guy who wants to save money and feel hip doing it.
They have a clear understanding of their customer base and what kind of verbiage resonates. The best part is that they don’t sacrifice getting the job done on their site by cluttering it up with overwrought messaging.
4. Make people feel like they belong
Telling a story and being able to frame it in a way that either instructs or informs gives your visitors something to anchor themselves to on your website. The key is to make your content reflect back on their needs and desires.
One of the best places to do this is on an About Page. Tell the story of your business, service or product but do it in such a way that makes it easy for your visitors to see why you’re the best fit for them.
They guys at Copyblogger do an exceptional job on their About Page. They lead with a headline that lets you know exactly what they do. Then, they go on to take you on the journey of how the business came to be and how you can now benefit from the services they provide.
Adding personality to your copy extends beyond the tone you’re trying to set with your words. It’s about making people feel like they’re more than a click of a button.
5. Test, test and test again
Finally, when in doubt, test. The only way you’ll know for sure if your copy is doing what you need it to do on your site is to test it.
Yeah, that means gathering some hard data. It may not be sexy but it will give you a good idea as to whether or not you’re striking the right chord with your visitors.
Check out tools such as Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer for A/B testing. Plus, there’s such things as heat mapping and user testing sites that will give you feedback on how user friendly your site is and where people are getting stuck.
Don’t be afraid to bring emotional components to your website. You just may be surprised at how well your visitors respond.
What are your thoughts on bringing more personality into your website copy? Do you worry about how it will impact your conversions?