You’re here because you want to find a silver bullet that will make your copywriting convert like crazy.
The bad news is that it’s never that easy.
But the good news is that I’m still going to help you convert more customers.
In this article, I’ll share my personal copywriting secrets that have helped me learn more about my audience and product, improve my flow, and ultimately convert more customers.
Here are 10 copywriting secrets I wish I knew earlier
1. Leverage the right research techniques
In my experience, research has been the one thing that separates average copy from amazing copy. It’s an unfair advantage you can create just by being diligent and following a process. Below are three early-stage research techniques I often use.
Customer interviews: If you really want to formulate the best copy you need to interview customers. The best copy often comes straight out of a customer's mouth. Typically this is a job for a Product Manager but don't let it stop you from learning more about your audience.
If you’re not sure where to start you can use this template to conduct customer interviews. If you can’t conduct interviews then upload the product/service you’re writing copy for to User Testing or User Brain for feedback from your audience demographic.
Read detailed product reviews: This is one of the easiest ways to find out what your customers think about a product or service. You’ll be able to gauge the language they use and the particular benefits that appealed to them most. If you don’t have time to speak to customers this is your best bet. You can also review competitors' products.
Audit niche communities: People are passionate about their hobbies and share every detail in communities. This makes it an excellent place for identifying problems, opportunities, and the language they use when describing a product/service. You can join niche Facebook groups, subreddits, or even discord servers. If you have a budget and don’t want to sift through niche communities you can always use a tool like Brand Mentions to see what the internet is saying about said product.
2. Steal ideas from your competitor's oldest Facebook Ads
If your competitors are running Facebook ads, you can simply spy on them by going to their ad Library. Try to find the oldest running ads to get a feel of what is already working. If an ad isn’t performing well the company wouldn’t be running it. Ads you see older than six months that are active are generally going to be profitable so it’s worth reviewing for ideas. Below is an example of a company called Bellroy. You can see their ad library here.
3. Ask the right questions
This one isn’t much of a secret. But it works. Really well.
If you’re struggling to write compelling content it could be because you’re not equipped with all the information you need. Asking the right questions is the easiest way to get higher-quality information. Use this questionnaire template to ask deeper questions so you can write an effective piece.
4. Build a database of proven formulas and techniques
The truth is I rarely write from scratch. Whether I’m taking the words out of a customer's mouth or I’m referencing my database of formulas. I’m never coming up with something from scratch.
This is why it’s important to have access to a proven database of resources you can use. The Simple Science of Copywriting helps you do this. It contains the following sheets.
- Useful resources
- Cognitive biases
- Headline formulas
- Copywriting prompts
- ChatGPT Prompts
- Landing page checklist
If you want to get access to all of these resources and much more then consider getting access to The Simple Science of Copywriting.
5. Leverage Reddit Tools
Reddit is a goldmine. More copywriters need to learn how to use it to extract key insights. I’ve used Reddit many times to learn about the problems a niche community faces, get clarity on issues, validate product ideas, and even generate signups for a new product.
The good news about Reddit is that developers can build tools on top of the platform by leveraging their data sources. For instance, Gummy Search is a powerful tool that finds opportunities for you by analyzing what people say and the communities they say them in. Subreddit Stats and Anvaka are also great alternatives to help you uncover insights.
6. Make your copy concise and scannable
According to NN Group, writing concise, scannable content can boost a page’s usability by up to 58 percent. We’re now living in times where attention is fleeting. Scannable content in some cases is more important than the body copy itself. You don’t want to lose readers because your content isn’t easy to read and doesn’t offer a simple path to understanding the context.
7. Reference copywriting statistics to guide your work
Building on secret six, copywriters should be aware of the statistics to guide their work. If you can improve your conversion rates by simply applying a word, phrase, color, or video then you should. Especially if there are statistics to back them up.
Related article: Useful Copywriting Statistics
8. Incorporate cognitive biases and heuristics
Cognitive biases genuinely make a difference in marketing.
Whether it’s a “100% money back guarantee” sticker, twenty different testimonials, or a time-saving promise. They all influence how the reader perceives the value, risk, and reward of what you’re trying to sell them.
For example, there’s something called the “Charm Pricing Effect”. Below is a definition of Charm Price according to Netsuite:
“Charm pricing refers to the use of prices ending in the number nine because of the “left-digit bias,” a phenomenon in which consumers’ perceptions and evaluations are disproportionately influenced by the left-most digit of the product price.”Netsuite Definition of Charm Pricing
In 2013 Gumroad conducted a study of all the items on their site under $6, where the price ended in either 99c or a round dollar figure. The conversion rate for items with a Charm Price was 3.5%, compared to 2.3%. Overnight, you could generate 51% more sales.
This is just one example, I’ve used many others in my copy including the time-saving bias and humor effect.
9. Test your work
Gary Halbert was an advocate for this one.
But, if this idea actually works, we have something much more valuable than our $9,920.00 profit. Yes indeed, my boy. You see, if this idea works what we have is a “winning formula”!The Boron Letters, Chapter 9
If you test your work frequently you have a better chance of landing formulas that can be replicated for even more success. As a copywriter, you need to have a process for testing your work, recording the learnings, and applying them to anything new you create.
10. Write at a fourth-grade level
This might seem a bit counterintuitive at first. After all, we’re writers so we should be more advanced than a fourth grader. This might be true, but remember, we’re writing for our audience and they might not be as advanced.
The easier your writing is to read the more people will read it. In theory, this should lead to more conversions. The Hemingway Editor allows you to paste your writing and review the readability.
For the best success, do not let your writing go above a grade 5 level. If you cross reference your work with the Hemingway editor, over time you will get a better sense of how to make your work easier to read.
Advice from experienced copywriters
“The best advice I would give to a new copywriter is to practice and learn from the greats. Read good copywriting and then implement what you learn into your writing. Write (almost) every day.”–Ashley R. Cummings, freelance marketing writer and CMO of Reading With RIK
“Master And Evolve Your Storytelling Techniques. The ability to tell stories in an elaborate manner that blends in with the copy and tone of the brand you are writing for is critical in growing in the copywriting industry. In an age where AI tools are taking over and threatening the existence of copywriters, what sets you apart is your ability to tell stories and make the target audience relate to them in a manner that drives them to make a decision.”– Alvin Wei, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Strategy at SEOAnt
“Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other copywriters. Just because someone else has a polished website and scores of glowing reviews doesn’t mean they’re any better at writing than you – they’re just further down the road. You’re on your own journey and running your own race.”– Carla Ellerby, Consultant at Composed Communication
Frequently asked questions
Which copywriting secret is most effective?
They’re all important but if I had to choose one then it would be secret number 1 which is “Leverage the right research techniques”. I believe even an average copywriter can achieve killer conversion rates just by deeply understanding the customer, niche, problem, and solution. Even the most skilled copywriter won’t have much success if they don’t know exactly who they’re writing for.
What is the easiest way to write copy?
The easiest approach to copywriting is to lean into your research, your swipe file, and your proven formulas. Similar to software developers, we copywriters should not write every word from scratch.
What are the dos and don’ts of copywriting?
– Do front-load research before writing any copy
– Do reference your swipe file
– Do reference proven formulas
– Do test your copy frequently and save the best results
– Don’t write from scratch with no guidance
– Don’t guess what the readers' problems are
– Don’t write large walls of text without relevant headings
– Don’t write general copy that targets everyone
These secrets of copywriting will help you go further, and faster. Similar to The Simple Science of Copywriting. However, they won’t solve all of your problems. This is why it's important to lean on research, statistics, and proven formulas.
I also want to make it clear that the reason I’m able to come across these golden nuggets of information is that I try new things often. I’m always testing new formulas or heuristics, looking at new strategies, or trying new tools.