When faced with creating a conversion-focused SEO landing page, what should our copy focus on?
There are so many things we can do — so many directions we can go — that it becomes hard to know what to choose. Do I go with statistics or stories? Facts or feelings? Data or discounts?
If one of these is good, isn’t a mix of all of them better?
Blending Content Types Doesn’t Work
We know we’re blending when we start adding adjectives to our sentences. “Our solution is the most cost-effective, easy-to-use, colorful, highest-intensity, waterproof, process-oriented available on the market.”
We know we’re blending when we want to put one more “value proposition” on a webpage, even when we don’t have room. “Hey, let’s use a rotating hero image!”
The beauty of it all, though, is that search marketers don’t have to blend. We can use keywords as a guide to help us get started on our copy.
Eugene Schwartz is an old-style direct marketer and copywriter who has demonstrated his knowledge of copywriting with a long string of huge successes. He came up with a model to help answer the question, “What kind of copy do I write?” With his model, we can flip our message and focus it, rather than try to blend what we’re doing (thereby, loosing people in the process).
Schwartz created a scale with five levels of consumer awareness. On one end, we have people that are totally unaware of your company, of the problem you solve. On the other end, we have people who are the most aware — those who already know your products and your company, and in many cases, are already customers.
In between, there are three levels: Product Aware, Solution Aware, and Problem Aware. Different levels of directness will appeal to each group, and each has a specific copy strategy associated with it.
Once we have an idea of where our audience is on this spectrum, we can start to put together a content strategy to market to them.
When Writing For People That Already Know You, Be Direct
On the top end of the spectrum are the Most Aware visitors, with whom we can be very direct. Since this audience already knows your company and its products/solutions, they are likely entering keywords that contain your brand or product names.
When targeting these folks, you can often be as direct as, “You know us, you like us. Here’s the new product, here’s the price, and here’s how you buy it.”
Apple is a great example of targeting the most aware. Apple has spent millions of dollars on marketing; they don’t need to tell us who they are or what an iPad is. When visitors are most aware, companies can simply show off the product and provide a big button to purchase it. That’s all you have to do for this crowd — they already know and love you, they just want the latest version of what you’re offering.
When writing for people that already know you, be direct. Most Aware customers want product and price. They’re already your fans — you don’t need to sweet talk them into liking you or build up more trust with them.
On the other end of the spectrum are the people who are the Unaware. It is rare to direct search ads at those that are unaware of a problem. However, if you’re using a display network, you will want to use the indirect approach with these visitors. We can use things like storytelling to get them in a mindset that will allow us to market to them.
One generic message wouldn’t appeal to both of these groups — what appeals to the most aware would scare off or confuse the unaware.
Creating Copy For Different Stages Of Consumer Awareness
Real estate agency GoodLife Team offers content for audiences at different stages of the funnel. For their Unaware audience, they offer content on topics such as “The Cities Hippest Neighborhoods” and “Our Caffeinated Culture.” The approach is high level and uses stories and secrets to soften up the ground for more direct marketing.
They also offer pages that appeal to the Problem Aware. Visitors that type in terms in the “Problem Aware” category, such as [how to sell your home], would land on a page that leverages benefits and anxieties. Calls to action (relief) are more prominent.
The example above states, “The longer your home is on the market, the less you will make.” That highlights the problem. The followup text, “Learn what we do that nets $9,857 more,” then drives home a specific benefit. Note that they used a specific number here rather than “over $9,000.” Specificity lends credibility to almost any statement.
Searchers that enter search terms hinting that they are solution aware may be more swayed by claims and proof. People searching for keywords such as [home exercise equipment] don’t need to have their anxieties about the gym emphasized. These Solution Aware readers are more likely to respond to claims that your product will deliver.
One Solution Aware landing page exclaims, “Incline training burns 5x the Calories just by walking.” Maybe I should consider an inclined trainer.
At this point, I’m Product Aware. I might type in [home incline trainer]. Content geared toward this audience requires a different approach.
Product Aware visitors generally fall into one of two categories: transactional shoppers and relational shoppers. Transactional shoppers are their own experts, while relational shoppers rely on experts to help them in their decision-making process. Deals and discounts will appeal to the transactional buyers — product ratings and reviews will appeal to the more relationship-oriented buyer.
In both cases, they want you to help them decide. Transactional shoppers are afraid of spending one penny too much, and relational shoppers are afraid of buying the wrong thing.
Someone looking for Web hosting doesn’t need to be told the benefits of a Web host — they need to be told about the benefits of your Web hosting solution. Price, bandwidth, reliability, and disc space are their concerns. We know it’s hard to tell the difference between different Web hosting services, it’s a commodity product.
This brings us back to our Most Aware visitors — those looking for our specific product or service. We need to give them the information they need to (re)order and get out of the way. Trying to handle objections is more likely to introduce doubt rather than reduce it.
When creating copy, we should ask ourselves, what do we know about our audience? Do we know whether they’re going to be in the middle as a product aware customer or if they are already totally aware of our products and services? By considering where on this scale our customers fall, we can create copy that targets their specific needs and converts higher.