7 Copywriting Techniques That Increase Opt-In Rates

Who works the hardest in your business? The owner? The staff? Who puts in the most time and effort to bring in new business?

The answer isn’t “who,” but “what.” If your business is online or you do any communication with customers, the hardest-working member of your business is your copywriting.

Your copywriting attracts people to your website from search engines with SEO writing, and then keeps their attention once they find you with visual and textual techniques. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; always ready to drive business directly to you. Your copy is what guides customers to your opt-in offers and powers conversions. So it needs to be excellent, or you won’t see the results you want.

Here are seven tips to make your online copywriting pull its weight and bring in the opt-in conversions you’re looking for.

Get Your First Sentence Read

Copywriter extraordinaire and successful entrepreneur Joe Sugarman often tests his students by asking them what the purpose of a headline is. If he gets a bunch of technical lingo back for an answer, he cuts them off. “The purpose of a headline,” he says, “is to get the first sentence read. And the purpose of the first sentence is to get the second sentence read.” Every sentence in your copy should “sell” the next one until your reader arrives at the actual offer at the end.

It’s All About the Numbers

Numbers seize readers’ attention. Don’t say “our sales have skyrocketed,” instead say “our sales have increased 171%.” Don’t just offer people “Tips for Losing Weight,” offer customers “12 Weight-Loss Tips.” Precise numbers are “colorful” copy; they make your abstract writing tangible and realistic, and ultimately convey a lot of information in a tiny space. Readers know exactly what they are looking at, or what they’re getting into, and what to expect on the other side. Don’t tell people they’ll benefit from opting in to your service; tell them how MUCH they will benefit.

Images Draw Attention and Keep It

Eye tracking is the hottest new way to gauge web content effectiveness. The above “heat map” is the result of eye tracking tests done on two webpages. On the right is an article with no pictures, just blocks of copy. The left features an article with images and copy working together. The red zones are “hot” areas where a large number of readers focus their attention. See how the hot zones on the all-text article drop off halfway down the page?  Spacing your copy out with layout choices and images will keep readers interested.

Be Conversational to Build Trust

I’ve already covered this before, but I can’t stress it enough. Copywriters: relax! Don’t write stiff copy that chases business away! Stay away from jargon and inaccessible vocabulary. Write as if you were selling your service to someone you’ve run into on the street, talking to them face-to-face. Readers feel belittled if you talk over them, and offended if you’re pandering and simplify too much. Writing conversationally builds trust with your readers, which will translate into more opt-in conversions.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Wordy

Copywriters are constantly sweating bullets over condensing their copy. Keeping it short drives business conversions, right? Not necessarily: marketing research has shown that long copy outperforms short copy when it’s done right. These incredible results prove that longer, higher-quality copy accomplishes a lot of valuable objectives. It performs better in search engine results, qualifies your potential leads, and is more accessible to your readers by easing conversion anxieties and offering more opportunities for research and discovery. Visitors that leave after 300 words of opening copy weren’t qualified prospects to begin with anyways, and attracting bad business can hurt your business’s bottom line.

Pop, Shoot, Pull: Be Active, Be Seen

Wet noodles don’t drive sales. Readers need to see action and feel energy in your copywriting to act on it. Active voice is inspiring and drives conversions all day, every day. Don’t ask readers if they would “try” your service or “should consider” opting in to an opportunity that “seems” excellent. Show, don’t tell: use active verbs and wording that conveys performance, action, and motion. You aren’t “trying” to get more opt-in conversions with your copywriting, you will. You are earning your opt-ins. Treat your potential leads the same way: they will get benefits by opting in. They will see results and do more.

Careful Formatting is Your Friend

Ellipses, emphatic dashes, and “air quotes” can grate on your readers quickly. Like chocolate and fine wine, they are best enjoyed sparingly, and indulging in them too often is bad for your health. Text formatting is the same: bolding and italicizing important points you want readers to see is a very useful strategy, but if too much is formatted, nothing stands out anymore. Stay consistent and sparse with your formatting and readers will scan your copy and land on the most important points they need to see.

Bad Grammar Chases Leads Away

Good grammar is a no-brainer: nothing sends potential leads running far and away from your services like copy that don’t reads good, er, doesn’t read well. Friends don’t let friends get away with bad grammar: if you don’t trust yourself, find a proofreader! Or hire a writing service that does this stuff for a living. Whatever you do, make sure that your copy is proofed for grammar and spelling or your readers will think you’re not worth their time.

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Andrew Glasscock is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated with a BA in English, specialized in Creative Writing, with a minor in Marketing this past May. Along with copywriting, he loves being an improv comedian, playing frisbee, and dogs.

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