Conversion Copy: Perfection in a Sound Byte

Great copy comes in all shapes and sizes – and sometimes when figuring out how to get business conversions, it’s important to remember that the most memorable size is the often the smallest one.  There are of course great examples of copywriting to be found anywhere; if you actually think of all the advertising mediums you come in contact with throughout the course of your day, you might be surprised.  Not only are there the traditional advertising mediums of the radio, television, and billboards – you see advertising in signs for businesses, you see advertising in magazines, you hear advertising when your friends talk about what they had for lunch that day.

But in the great scheme of copywriting, I’d like to draw some attention to the short sound bytes that creep into our everyday life.  To illustrate, take these gems into consideration: Pop, pop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!  Or maybe you know what the quicker picker upper refers to.  Or perhaps Just Do It rings a bell?

These are, of course, slogans, which have a special place in the pantheon of copywriting.  However, it’s amazing to think about what these little collections of words have done for the advertising industry – and it really does prove that great copy doesn’t have to go on forever in order to be effective.  In fact, sometimes copywriting should take a page from Brylcreem: A Little Dab’ll Do Ya.

The Background of Bytes

For those who get just as geeked out about words as I do, there’s a great site where you can check out the power of short words:  Here, you can check out a wide variety of slogans that the site considers “the best in branding.”  Go ahead, geek out – I’ll be here when you get back.

However, where this list really shines is when you get into the nitty gritty of what it means.  There’s lots of information in this site to be distilled – Nick Padmore has a wonderful blog post for you to check out The Greatest Copy Shot Ever Written, where he lays out the goodies found on AdSlogans and then puts the info into pie charts so that you can see the power of words laid out in all of its glory.  For those who don’t want to skip around, let me lay out some of the facts right here.

Out of the 115 best slogans, straplines, taglines, and headlines chosen by the experts, the numbers shook out this way:

The average length of effective slogans was 5.3 words.  What can copywriters learn from this?  Even if you’re writing a blog, sometimes shorter is better.  In fact, shorter is almost always better.

Only 50% of brand slogans post 1985 actually mentioned the name of the company.  This might sound surprising at first, but when you think about it – Just Do It doesn’t mention Nike.  We Try Harder doesn’t mention Avis.  Finger Lickin’ Good does not mention KFC.  When applied to the larger world of copy, this definitely says that repetition of the company’s name doesn’t equal effective copy – the creative use of words and then linking those words to a brand is what works.

The vast majority of slogans are declarative in nature.  According to the calculations done by Nick, nearly 52% of all sentences had a “declarative” mood, as opposed to imperative, interrogative, or the ubiquitous “N/A.”  This doesn’t mean that asking questions is a bad way to do copy, but, well, think of it this way – most of the time when we speak, it’s in a declarative manner, right?  (Or, rather, “Most of the time when we speak, it’s in a declarative manner.”)

The Conclusion?

When using a writing service, make sure to keep word count in mind.  You don’t need to overwhelm your consumer with words in order to have competitive copy that converts.  As slogans teach us – the short and peppy often stays with us longer than the overly informative.  Keep it snappy, and you’re sure to see your conversion rate rise!

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Laura Hancock is a co-owner of She has also been a long time writer for us. She writes with a passion for accuracy and flow. While her administrative duties have grown, she is a still a big piece of our content writing services team! Currently pursuing a certification in Technical Writing at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle. +Laura Hancock

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