Hey, I’m Claire, a conversion copywriter for startups. I like to keep things genuine, so I’ll be perfectly honest as to why this blog post is so concise — I spent time chilling with my beloved grandma instead of writing.
Today I’m not:
- Over-explaining. I know this community is full of insanely smart people
- Not wasting time on SEO keywords
- Focusing on more complex ideas
Tip #1: Write for clarity before anything else
A client of mine originally had the headline: “See the forest and the trees.” Very artsy and it tied in well with their company name. Question: Do you have any idea what they do?
I changed that headline to “Your data workflows. Automated.” Now can you guess?
Answer: They automate manual data collection and parsing,
Without clarity of meaning, your headline will fall flat, and people who could have been your customers, will click away feeling a bit confused. Afterall, what does a forest have to do with data workflow? (If your brain has context and reeeeally works overtime you might be able to guess something about AI decision-making forests. But with no context, you’ve got no chance).
Always try to answer two questions for your users in the H1:
- What does this do?
- Who is it for?
Tip #2: Done is better than not done
Want to know a terrifying fact? Almost half of my projects take 3+ months to be implemented once I’ve handed over the copy. In more than a few cases… It's taken an entire year.
Just like you’re always iterating code, you’re always iterating your website.
Don’t try to get it perfect before you’ve gotten it done.
Tip #3: Use the “you” trick to 10x your writing
This one is a method taught by Copyhackers. It’s a brilliant way to make your writing sound more friendly and less stiff. It’s also the best way to get into someone's mind and make them feel like what they’re reading actually applies to them.
Check out the two value prop examples:
- Reach future customers
- Reach your future customers
It’s subtle, but the second one’s far more specific to your own situation. It’s pulling its weight by insinuating that “your” customers are out there and **you **specifically can reach them. Without the “you”, the customer’s don’t belong to you — they’re just a concept. Make them real.
Change the subject of the sentence to “you” as often as you can.
Tip #4: Don’t write too wide
There’s a reason why we don’t print novels on A4 paper - it’s difficult to read. Keep all writing within a width of 940 pixels (or consult a _good _designer like @soma . Obviously your images can extend beyond this limit. Simple, but effective.
Tip #5: Write blog posts to improve your writing skills
Blog posts are about conveying a message in an interesting story-like format. If you’re good at writing them, chances are you’ll be good at writing other things too.
Fellow Indie Hackers founders from plausible.io wrote their landing page like a blog post — and enjoyed excellent conversions. I checked.
This goes against most conversion copywriting principles. BUT the storytelling element was so strong it did the job anyway.
Tip #6: Just because writing exhausts you, it doesn’t mean you’re bad at it.
If we’re being totally transparent, I also find writing incredibly draining. But as bankers and lawyers continue to prove, you don’t have to be brimming with boundless creative energy to get a job done well.
Don’t be so hard on yourself when it comes to alleged “creative” tasks. I find writing to be incredibly methodical, analytical and time-consuming. But once it’s done, it’s done. Others write freely but need hours and hours of edits
My point is, writing either fills your cup, or it drains it. Either way, it doesn’t mean you’re bad at the task.
Tip #7: Copy others, but add your own logic
I know a lot of people copy the layout of other websites. As a professional, this is something I do not do. But if you’re just getting started, it can be really helpful to give you a place to start.
But don’t stop there.
Just because your favorite site has an about page, a services page, a product page, and maybe even 5+ feature pages, doesn’t mean yours should too. In fact, it could be a tremendous waste of money and time. This is when it helps to think about a customer’s decision-making process.
Is your customer predominantly:
- A fast-paced decision maker who doesn’t focus on details, only the result.
- The analytical type who needs to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Each customer type requires a different type of website. In other words, provide all the information your customer needs, but NONE of the information they don’t.
Tip #8: Be realistic about content strategy
Is it possible to rank #1 for a keyword in the first few months of business? Maybe. But without an SEO wizard, it’s going to be pretty tough.
I would honestly try to focus more on ads, or the type of content that gets shared in a viral manner. Otherwise your expensive blogs are just going to go to the content graveyard (a mistake I’ve made with millions of other people).
Good writing is important. But even the best writer can’t guarantee SEO success.
Tip #9: Know about PAS and AIDA frameworks
PAS stands for Pain, Agitation, Solution. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. They are both copywriting frameworks built on the principles of human-decision making.
These frameworks have been around for almost 100 years. And they still work (again, I checked).
You should read up on them because they’ll help you convince people your idea is worth backing (either by investing or signing up). For example, the founder of Morning Brew used these in emails to reach out to big names and grow significantly in a teeny tiny timeframe.
Tip #10: Listen to feedback, but ALWAYS consider your customer
I see a lot of new founders asking for landing page roasts from each other. This peer-review system can be super helpful in highlighting inconsistencies, repetitions, or lack of clarity.
…this feedback isn’t from people who would necessarily buy your product. Someone might think a wording is strange — but that word might be how your customers explain it.
For example, in South Africa (where I live), we say “medical professional” in the US, they say “Healthcare practitioner” or “Healthcare service provider”. They mean the same thing, but if you use the wrong term in either country, people will automatically assume it’s not targeted towards them. Goodbye viable customers.
It’s not only slang that’s country-specific. Even designs can be different across countries (for example Japan prefers chaotic design — why I don’t yet know).
As a final fun experiment, let us know in the comments what they call people who work at hospitals and doctors offices in your country!
I’ll be posting tips, tricks, and actual in-depth content regularly. If you’d like to jump on the bandwagon, you can follow me on Indie Hackers, Twitter, or sign up to my newsletter.