Let’s start with a (very) short product messaging tale!
Once upon a time, you had an amazing product. You built an impressive website to showcase your amazing product. After all – “if you build it, they will come”…right? They came. Not as many as you had hoped…but those who came…didn’t buy. Leaving you disappointed, and wondering – why?
How about an alternative conclusion?
Once upon a time, you had an amazing product. Using the scientific principles behind CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), you built an impressive website to showcase your amazing product. You sold out your amazing product in record time.
You and your customers lived happily ever after.
Here is how you can get to your own happily ever after…
When a product or service is only available online, a customer may experience friction in the buying process. Why? The customer is unable to touch, feel, taste, smell, hear, or test it in 3D. Anyone who has ever sold Amway or Mary Kay, knows one of the best ways to get your customers to buy a product – is to get a physical sample in their hands. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet cracked the code on Captain Picard’s matter replicator from Star Trek TNG – so we have to find another way around that pesky friction. Today, we’re going to explore 3 proven methods you can use to reduce your customer’s friction.
Let’s dive in using a methodical process based on proven persuasion principles. This method creates trackable results that can be measured, analyzed, and systemically improved upon.
Chapter 1: Copy Tear-down
Let’s start with a method know as “copy tear down”. While techniques on how to do a copy tear down vary across the industry, Momoko Price at CXL Institute has come up with what we believe is the most comprehensive method of creating high conversion copy. This is the method we use with our clients to help them consistently achieve digital marketing success. Today, we’re excited to share it with you.
One of the challenges of most conventional copy tear down methods, is they are based on instinct and personal bias. While instinct can sometimes be beneficial – we prefer to base our copy tear downs on proven scientific principles. This allows us to clearly see and analyze what works and what doesn’t for a specific client or project.
Have you ever heard of the MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic Formula? No? Well – you might want to sit down before taking a look at this crazy formula!
C =4M + 3V + 2(I-F) – 2A.
Got it? Makes perfect sense, right? Of course it doesn’t. But it will.
Believe it or not, this formula is a way of expressing fairly simple terms for optimizing customer conversion.
C = Probability of Conversion
M = Motivation (when)
V = Clarity of Value Proposition (Why)
I = Incentive
F = Friction (usually bad)
A = Anxiety
The Probability Of Conversion = 4 x Motivation + 3 x Value + 2(Incentive – Friction) – 2 x Anxiety.
The application of this formula involves evaluating whether the existing copy includes messages that motivate, provide clarity on why a customer should buy a specific product/service, and emphasize creating quantifiable incentives. At the same time, the conversion heuristic formula reminds you to address potential objections (F) and reduces customer fears (A) around commitment.
In addition, by using Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Influence as a gap analysis tool, you can evaluate copy to ensure potential customers feel safe – and are clear on the needs/desires your product satisfies for them. As they process information, they should also experience the feeling of receiving more value than effort exerted, in order to be willing to invest to your product. When done correctly, you can also inspire a sense of unity, belonging, or in-group association, with other customers.
For example, one of our clients provides a comprehensive personality test on his website. At the end of the test, customers are able to determine characteristics of their personality that help them better understand how to apply their strengths successfully.
Rather than just display the results, they are provided with an accompanying badge to add to social media – and invited to be part of a growing community of like minded individuals. When they or other customers see a badge displayed, their awareness of their common bond is strengthened. Instead of just having useful knowledge about themselves, there is the added benefit of a sense of community. This in turn amplifies the products value.
A Guy Named Claude
A third copy tear down element comes from Claude C Hopkins, one of the pioneers of applied human behavioral science in marketing. He developed 4 rules you can use to improve the performance of your copy.
- Be specific – Rather than general platitudes, communicate specific claims.
- Offer Service – The best ads ask no one to buy…[They] are based entirely on being of service – and offering no strings attached value.
- Tell the full story – While brevity with clarity is important, especially on the internet, there isn’t a fixed rule on length.
- Be a Salesperson – While this term can have negative stereotypes, the point of the rule is to communicate as though you are in person. The goal is to address likely questions as though you were in person.
The principles that make up this tear-down framework apply to everything from ad copy to the confirmation copy that comes after opt-ins and payments.
Chapter 2: Message Mining
Whether you have evaluated existing copy and are making updates, or creating new copy, there is a question of, “Where do we come up with good copy after all?” The answer almost always points back to customers and prospects. We cover this extensively in another article, but it bears repeating. This often missed crucial step can be accomplished in a number of ways.
One of the greatest sources is “Message Mining”. Start by taking a look at what the actual users of your product or messages say about it. By looking through your customer reviews, or even similar product reviews on a competitor website.
You may be the expert on what your product can do, but the customers are the experts at putting in their own words how it benefits them. However, when you can capture the customers voice around value as well as challenges, you discover a common way to key messaging to prospects.
Key phrases in reviews that communicate motivation, value and anxiety will unlock a treasure chest of valuable information. For example, your product is a robotic floor cleaner that you think really sucks (in a good way)and this is the most powerful value. A customer review may reveal that they have completely eliminated their back pain because they no longer have to bend down and scrub the floors.. You just uncovered a completely new motivation for 16 million Americans to buy your product!
Yet another avenue of message mining includes swiping memorable messages. We are careful on this one. We have observed an industry problem in this area where there is outright plagiarism or misapplication of content. Having said that, inspiration can be gathered from content others have provided. Also, some turns of phrases are worth swiping (as long as it’s legal)!
5 Step Customer Message Mining Process
- Make a list of keywords (brand, product type, etc)
- Google reviews for each keyword. “[keyword} reviews”
- Check popular review sites for similar products/services
- Organize the most useful reviews into a list or spreadsheet
- Categorize the messages using M,V,I,F,A and score them 1-5
In addition to the above research approach, you can “mine” information from existing customers and prospects through well executed surveys and 1 on 1 interviews.
The little golden nugget to remember around this exercise is to create different questions for customers vs prospects. Customers can tell you why they bought and what they like or don’t like. Prospects will tell you what they are excited about or what they are afraid of as it relates to your product.
Use all of this valuable information to create a unique value proposition (UVP), Simply put, UVP answers, “Why should I buy this solution from you rather than a competing solution from someone else?”
Chapter 3: Punching Up Your Copy
As you write the draft, address the reader specifically using words like you and your so the reader has a sense of engagement. Evaluate your new draft by measuring it against what we call “mini tear-down” process, or, “Punching Up Your Copy”.
- Is it Clear?
- How well does match the customer voice?
- Does it demonstrate Unique Value?
- Is there quantifiable proof in the copy?
- Does it tell a story?
Congratulations! The final step is to place your kick-ass copy on the website! The placement is as important as the copy, so keep these 5 design factors in mind.
- Copy Position (Easy to see, flow easy to follow)
- Copy size (font size) and readability
- Order ( Motivation, Value, Anxiety, CTA)
- Surrounding Clutter (minimize it)
- Directional cues toward or away from your copy
- Color Contrast (Does it stand out?)
While there are many more details behind the science and specific processes, you can apply these principles and the framework to create powerful messaging for a happy ending!