Value propositions. If you trusted the insight of middle-management types, you’d probably end up believing that value propositions are all that matter, as if consumers made all their decisions through a consistent and rational process of worth assessment.
They don’t, of course. The reasons behind our purchasing decisions are quite varied, often intrinsically emotional, and colored by many different factors. And no amount of dry “Product X is technically superior to Product Y” statements can match the rhetorical power of arguments that take our irrational complexity into consideration.
So is copywriting the answer when it comes to the crunch at the end of the sales funnel? Does good copy have the power to push the hesitant user over the line, or does it actually not matter that much? Yes, yes, and no… but let’s see specifically why.
Some words work like magic
‘Imagine that you could instantly earn new sales, for free, and all because of one overlooked tactic— wouldn’t you do it? Our zero-cost copywriting course gives you the secret to talking someone into buying anything you want to sell.’
- We like imagining things, and we don’t see it as effort – in fact, it’s a nice wistful break from the daily grind. Unless you ask us to imagine something really, really horrible, we’ll do it.
- Yes, you, in particular. We want to feel that things are about us. Each one of us is the centre of their world, after all. Why wouldn’t copywriters be talking to us? We’re special!
- Not later. Not even soon. Right away. No delay. We don’t want to wait, we want results now. If you can make that happen, we’re absolutely sold.
- We’re done with the old, the familiar, the played-out. We want the unknown. The innovations that are so much better than what we’ve seen before.
- The magic word. There goes all our resistance or skepticism. It’s free! What reason is there not to try something free? It’s basically like cheating at life.
- It’s not generally enough to tell us what will happen. We want to know why, even if only at a basic level. We want to know that results will be consistent.
What if I’d said something like this instead:
‘You can get new sales today with an easy tactic. It’s really simple. Join our complimentary sales course to learn how to use it.’
Comparing the two, doesn’t that lack a ton of punch? I need to join a course? I need to learn? That sounds inconvenient. The first one said I’d be given the secret, which didn’t sound like it would require all that much effort on my part.
Either way, we’re offering a free sales course to quickly produce a boost in sales, but the packaging is wildly different, and so is the effect. This is a big reminder that storytelling is extremely important.
Email marketing stats prove it
If you’re looking for direct and inarguable proof that copy can affect our decisions, look no further than email marketing. Something as seemingly-unimportant as the phrasing of a subject line can have a massive difference on the success of an email, and the stats show it clearly.
Personalize an email title and the open rate will go up by 26%. That’s it, the only difference. Adding a name. And mentioning ‘yesterday’ or ‘tomorrow’ will double your chance of having an email opened relative to bringing up ‘today’. We don’t even need to know why it makes a difference to simply acknowledge that it does.
You can try it for yourself easily enough. If you set up some automated email triggers though a marketing suite like Moosend, you can configure some easy A/B testing and see first-hand how the results vary. You’ll probably be quite surprised by how unexpected some of the results are.
Sales copywriting is about more than phrasing
Having established very clearly that wording by itself has an effect, we can now address the really significant stuff when it comes to last-minute checkout cold feet: minimizing the negatives, maximizing the positives, and finding the perfect points to get sales done and dusted.
After all, copy isn’t just about phrasing. It’s about choosing what features to mention, and what angles to take, and how to position information in the most persuasive way. And this becomes incredibly important when someone is struggling to decide if they really want to finalize their order.
Take things like money-back guarantees and easy return policies, for instance. They can be plastered all over store homepages, but that doesn’t mean people will really take notice of them, so there’s every chance that someone could get right to the final stages of making a purchase without actually seeing them.
If you state them once more, very clearly, on the checkout screen, you’ll make sure they have that all-important reassurance at the most vital moment. Nearly 20% of 1200 cart-abandoners in one study cited reasons involving the site lacking information, so clearly the basic site details only get more significant right at the end of the sales funnel.
So, does copywriting matter when it comes to sealing the deal? Enormously so. The stats show it, both for the phrasing you use and the information you do (or do not) provide.
If your sales funnel keeps losing sales at the very end, give a good deal of thought to your copy, and make sure you’re doing everything you can to make completion of an order the easiest and best option.
About the author
Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who’s backed out of her share of orders because of questionable checkouts. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.