Every marketer wants to increase conversion rates.
It’s just not as easy as it looks.
So how do the most successful copywriters do it?
In the following “Infusionsoft Unleashed” interview with “Marketing Catalyst” Lisa Catto and Carey Ballard, Director of Content Marketing at Infusionsoft (now Keap), direct response copywriter Mike Connolly talks about how to use a few simple practices in your content writing to improve conversions, including:
- How titles, subtitles and subject lines can be key to an effective content marketing strategy.
- What portion of the time you invest in writing a piece do you devote to writing the title?
- Secrets to writing money-making titles for your content marketing pieces
- An easy way to tell if your title is a winner
- Email subject lines – How important are they?
- How do you write a email subject lines that gets your email opened and read?
- What role do subtitles play? How do you come up with effective subtitles to increase conversion rates?
- How do you come up with winning titles, subtitles and subject lines quickly and consistently?
So without further ado, here’s the interview:
Let’s start with email. I think a big part of small business owners’ concerns is, how do I get my emails open?
So, with email, your title is going to be the subject line.
The key thing is if that email never gets opened, then all of the effort you’ve put into getting the whole rest of the email out there is gone to waste.
So, almost 90% of the importance, of the significance of that email, is going to be in that subject line. If you put some effort into that, then you’ll more likely get a good result from getting that whole email done.
So how much time in a content marketing campaign, how much time do you actually devote to writing the title?
Well, again, let’s take an example for emails.
I will not necessarily spend a huge amount of time writing the subject line on an email. I will develop the email first, see what in it looks like it would be good. Just something that would really call out a reader’s attention and use that for my subject line.
But, I am going to put a lot of attention into how it looks, send the email to myself to see how it looks…
And I might have somebody proofread it.
It’s crucially important for all types of content.
For instance, a lead magnet or a landing page…
Coming up with a hook and then developing a headline or a title for it out of it can be hugely important because everything is going to flow from that.
So, I would put as much as 90% of my effort into that.
And, if you look at really great copywriters, they will talk about that the headline is where you put 90% of your effort.
That’s massive, that’s massive.
I knew it was big, but I really didn’t think it was as much as 90%, but I can totally see why that’s as important as it is.
So, how do you write money-making titles for content marketing?
The key thing I think I would come back to the conversation earlier is really know your audience.
Enter the conversation that’s going on in someone’s head and then just address that and bring that in. Especially make sure you’re addressing something that they particularly are interested in, that’s key.
So right there, for instance, let’s say, the example, the landscaper, I thought was great, that Carrie brought up. If somebody has some Palm trees that need to be trimmed, talk about that.
And, I think it’s tempting oftentimes as marketers to talk about what we do in our business. But really the thing is, just put yourself in the shoes of the person who has the problem that you can solve for them.
By doing that, and particularly if it’s something they’ve got a buyer’s intent for, just put yourself in their shoes. Think about what they love, what they hate, who their enemies are, who their friends are, and that will all help.
The one other thing about this is the internet gives us tremendous opportunities to do that these days.
When we talk about writing money-making titles, you’ve got to ask, is the person who’s going to read this title a buyer? Or are they more just educating themselves? Or heck, maybe they’re out doing research for a term paper — they’re never going to buy from you.
The ways that you can find that information are, use Google by all means. But also consider other search engines like Amazon. You know, when people go to Amazon, they’ve got their credit cards ready.
That’s true. There are people who only go to Amazon to buy.
Yep. So those would be some ways.
Fantastic. And that must lead on to email subject lines, because subject lines are basically titles for emails? So how important are subject lines for emails?
Yeah, obviously, it’s hugely important.
The open rate and the click rate… With your subject line, you not only want to get it open, but you want to have people feel once they open it, like “Boy, I’m glad I did, because this really is a good message here.”
So, in addition to getting your email opened, the thing you’ve got to do is make it make it congruent. So if you’re talking in your email subject line about — let’s go back to the landscaping example: pruning or mulching… Then you better have something in the email about that and just make it really consistent…
Make it relevant. It’s where subtitles come in?
Subtitles, in terms of any of your content, provide a way for your reader to scan through.
Obviously these days, we’re all in a rush, so a lot of us will skim.
If you can use your subtitles to tell the story that your whole message would be about, then you’re going to get a lot more readership. Because otherwise, people may see these huge blocks of texts and say, “Well, I don’t have time for that now”.
But if you can tell the story in subtitles, they’ll say, “That looks interesting. I think I’ll read a little further.”
That’s the thing about the internet is it’s designed for us to surf away. So my thing has always been, you’ve got to keep people’s curiosity for the next like 90 seconds. Then every 90 seconds or so, you have to re-engage them for the next 90 seconds.
Yes, you do.
I think you’re right, and people’s time available to go through a whole host of information, just isn’t there anymore. So, people would expect to get information and get the answers really, really quickly.
So I guess those subheadings that you’re talking about, if that directs the reader to the relevant part of the text that you’re giving them, then that’s got to be a good thing.
Absolutely. So just a final one.
How do you come up with winning titles and subtitles and subject lines quickly and consistently? Is there a formula? How do you do it?
I like to search and find out who the buyer is.
Then I like to start by having conversations with actual people — Gee, what a concept! 🙂
Or if that’s not possible, which a lot of times it isn’t, then I just go to Google, and run searches.
The keyword planning tool is a great resource for identifying what people are talking about or thinking, in the language and phrases they’re thinking in.
From that point, oftentimes, you can develop a good sense of what people are really looking for. I will start there.
And then from that, it’s a matter of put it out there and test it. Always track your results and see if you can discern if one subject line works better than another. That will help.
Yeah. Split testing, AB testing, all the way, every time.
And what are some ideas for those people who just aren’t creative?
I know that writing isn’t my thing, but I love to use techniques where I can more easily find those headings. Or email subject lines, or whatever else it is.
I mean, if you’re just not creative, then you’re better off to just employ someone to do it? Or are there things you can do to become more creative?
Right. Well, the blinking cursor syndrome or a blank screen, right?
So, there are two things that will cure that every time.
Number one is do the research. It may just take you a few minutes; it may take you a little longer. But I have always found that if I’m stuck for what to say, the answer comes by getting to know my prospect… What their pain is. Do the research. You will come up with ideas. I can almost guarantee that.
The second is to take advantage of what’s already out there. People have been using sales marketing messages for a long, long time. So you might as well take advantage of the templates that are out there.
There’s this thing you can do called ‘swipe and deploy’. What that means is not stealing somebody’s content or ideas, but bouncing off of an idea that somebody else has in a completely different market to see how it applies to yours.
So I guess those would be the two things. One is just do the research. Get to know your prospect. And number two is, use what’s out there already. Use templates. Use tools. And just go out and see what other content is out there, and get ideas from that.
Excellent. That sounds like a great way of honing in and getting some results.
Mike, thank you so much for your insight and wisdom into all of that. That adds so much value. That was brilliant. Thank you.
You bet. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Mike.
And one final tip to help you increase conversion rates…
Be sure to match the depth of content to your audience.
For instance, people shopping for a toaster may not require nearly as much information as a buyer of say, an options investing course.
Whether you’re writing an email, building website content or scripting a video, creating a subject line, title or even subtitle that resonates with your target audience is a sure-fire way to increase conversion rates.