Five Ways To Flip Your Copywriting For Higher Conversion Rates

When faced with creating a conversion-focused SEO landing page, what should our copy focus on?

There are so many things we can do — so many directions we can go — that it becomes hard to know what to choose. Do I go with statistics or stories? Facts or feelings? Data or discounts?

If one of these is good, isn’t a mix of all of them better?

Blending Content Types Doesn’t Work

We know we’re blending when we start adding adjectives to our sentences. “Our solution is the most cost-effective, easy-to-use, colorful, highest-intensity, waterproof, process-oriented available on the market.”

We know we’re blending when we want to put one more “value proposition” on a webpage, even when we don’t have room. “Hey, let’s use a rotating hero image!”

The beauty of it all, though, is that search marketers don’t have to blend. We can use keywords as a guide to help us get started on our copy.

Eugene Schwartz is an old-style direct marketer and copywriter who has demonstrated his knowledge of copywriting with a long string of huge successes. He came up with a model to help answer the question, “What kind of copy do I write?” With his model, we can flip our message and focus it, rather than try to blend what we’re doing (thereby, loosing people in the process).

Schwartz Awareness Scale-500w

Schwartz created a scale with five levels of consumer awareness. On one end, we have people that are totally unaware of your company, of the problem you solve. On the other end, we have people who are the most aware — those who already know your products and your company, and in many cases, are already customers.

In between, there are three levels: Product Aware, Solution Aware, and Problem Aware. Different levels of directness will appeal to each group, and each has a specific copy strategy associated with it.

Once we have an idea of where our audience is on this spectrum, we can start to put together a content strategy to market to them.

When Writing For People That Already Know You, Be Direct

On the top end of the spectrum are the Most Aware visitors, with whom we can be very direct. Since this audience already knows your company and its products/solutions, they are likely entering keywords that contain your brand or product names.

When targeting these folks, you can often be as direct as, “You know us, you like us. Here’s the new product, here’s the price, and here’s how you buy it.”

Apple is a great example of targeting the most aware. Apple has spent millions of dollars on marketing; they don’t need to tell us who they are or what an iPad is. When visitors are most aware, companies can simply show off the product and provide a big button to purchase it. That’s all you have to do for this crowd — they already know and love you, they just want the latest version of what you’re offering.

When writing for people that already know you, be direct. Most Aware customers want product and price. They’re already your fans — you don’t need to sweet talk them into liking you or build up more trust with them.

On the other end of the spectrum are the people who are the Unaware. It is rare to direct search ads at those that are unaware of a problem. However, if you’re using a display network, you will want to use the indirect approach with these visitors. We can use things like storytelling to get them in a mindset that will allow us to market to them.

One generic message wouldn’t appeal to both of these groups — what appeals to the most aware would scare off or confuse the unaware.

Creating Copy For Different Stages Of Consumer Awareness

Real estate agency GoodLife Team offers content for audiences at different stages of the funnel. For their Unaware audience, they offer content on topics such as “The Cities Hippest Neighborhoods” and “Our Caffeinated Culture.” The approach is high level and uses stories and secrets to soften up the ground for more direct marketing.

They also offer pages that appeal to the Problem Aware. Visitors that type in terms in the “Problem Aware” category, such as [how to sell your home], would land on a page that leverages benefits and anxieties. Calls to action (relief) are more prominent.


The example above states, “The longer your home is on the market, the less you will make.” That highlights the problem. The followup text, “Learn what we do that nets $9,857 more,” then drives home a specific benefit. Note that they used a specific number here rather than “over $9,000.” Specificity lends credibility to almost any statement.

Searchers that enter search terms hinting that they are solution aware may be more swayed by claims and proof. People searching for keywords such as [home exercise equipment] don’t need to have their anxieties about the gym emphasized. These Solution Aware readers are more likely to respond to claims that your product will deliver.

One Solution Aware landing page exclaims, “Incline training burns 5x the Calories just by walking.” Maybe I should consider an inclined trainer.

At this point, I’m Product Aware. I might type in [home incline trainer]. Content geared toward this audience requires a different approach.

Product Aware visitors generally fall into one of two categories: transactional shoppers and relational shoppers. Transactional shoppers are their own experts, while relational shoppers rely on experts to help them in their decision-making process. Deals and discounts will appeal to the transactional buyers — product ratings and reviews will appeal to the more relationship-oriented buyer.

In both cases, they want you to help them decide. Transactional shoppers are afraid of spending one penny too much, and relational shoppers are afraid of buying the wrong thing.

Someone looking for Web hosting doesn’t need to be told the benefits of a Web host — they need to be told about the benefits of your Web hosting solution. Price, bandwidth, reliability, and disc space are their concerns. We know it’s hard to tell the difference between different Web hosting services, it’s a commodity product.

This brings us back to our Most Aware visitors — those looking for our specific product or service. We need to give them the information they need to (re)order and get out of the way. Trying to handle objections is more likely to introduce doubt rather than reduce it.

When creating copy, we should ask ourselves, what do we know about our audience? Do we know whether they’re going to be in the middle as a product aware customer or if they are already totally aware of our products and services? By considering where on this scale our customers fall, we can create copy that targets their specific needs and converts higher.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search & Conversion | Search Marketing: Landing Pages | SEO: Writing & Body Copy


About The Author: is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Forumulas of The Conversion Scientist. Follow Brian at The Conversion Scientist blog and on Twitter @bmassey

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  • Neil Pursey

    That’s such a great image explaining visually the need for different types of copy for the specific type of consumer you are wanting to target!

    In terms of tools to find more about the type of visitor coming to your website and the landing page they are visiting you could use the following:
    Google Analytics >> Traffic Sources >> Sources >> Organic and then do a secondary dimension filter for “Landing page”. You will immediately be able to see where the person is at in terms of their buying stage by the type of keyword they are using to find your website.

    Are there any other techniques you suggest using?

  • Jussi Wacklin

    First, sorry for not being a believer of this.

    I think this is a very outdated approach. The founding principle of this model comes from 1980s sale funnel approach. Users walk through different stages of awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, advocation. The worldi s not linear and users stay within these stages sometimes hours, even minutes. Some people hear their friends talking about a product and decide to become advocates even without full awareness.

    I would love tho hear a consultant to explain how a company needs to invest in multimillion system to differentiate the messages between the user stages…

  • Chris Lang

    Jussi Wacklin – I can tell you this is true at times. My sales letter for my G+ Business training converts at roughly 35% of CTR from my list. SINCE they have been thru my education and benefit laden content.

    However, my affiliate sales letter does not convert nearly as well, and I am not talking gross traffic, I am talking traffic from email lists from other marketers bigger and more trusted than myself.

    So a “Forgotten Social Network” slant may be necessary for affiliates, where as my peeps are going to buy thru trust of Chris Lang and the result of an education process. BUT only testing would tell that and hence, this article above can only be true (or not) for you, after said testing.

  • Chris Lang

    We used this process to drive traffic to a sales letter over and over for a 36% of list conversion in two months.

  • ronniesmustache

    “multimillion system?”

    It’s common sense- IMO.

    If you can’t identify your audience at different stages, you’re marketing like it is the 1980′s. ;)

  • Brian Massey

    If we don’t pick one of the levels of awareness, what do we write? Do we include something for everyone? The answer may be yes.

    In this case, we can put the Most Aware content at the top. They don’t need to be sold. We can hope that the less-aware visitors will scroll to uncover benefits, anxieties, stories and secrets. The truth is that many will never get past the direct content that the page leads with.

    It is also hard to write for everyone and not come away with Styrofoam copy.

    So, I say small businesses need to pick who they are writing for. The most profitable will be those in the more-aware end of the spectrum, as they are closer to buying.

  • Brian Massey

    Non-believers are welcome (and make the comments more interesting).

    I think that my article implies a linearity that we don’t see on the Web. As you say, the “funnel” (which I don’t mention here) doesn’t really exist.

    I believe that a person can be moved to take action from any of these levels of awareness. They don’t necessarily have to move through the stages if the message and offer fits their pain points.

    However, those pages that bring in someone who is Unaware and gets them to buy are difficult to create. For most of us, we need one of the higher levels of awareness and move the visitor to take action.


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