6 Fundamentals of Conversion Copywriting to Help You Write Sticky Copy

Want to write copy that converts? Start by learning the foundations of conversion copywriting.

Conversion copywriting is copy that moves the reader to “yes” using VoC data, frameworks and formulas, and proven persuasion techniques.

The six foundations you need to know

  • The Rule of One
  • Market sophistication
  • Stages of awareness
  • Decision-making modalities
  • VoC data
  • Frameworks and formulas

1) Rule of One

The Rule of One makes your copy specific and clear.

It is about focus.

Focus on one thing — one goal, one reader, one offer, one value proposition, one call to action.

The moment you put too many ideas in your copy, the strength of your message dilutes, clarity gets lost, and your reader stops reading.

Before writing any piece of copy, identify these three things:

  • Your One Reader. The person you are talking to in the copy you are writing. It is your ideal prospect. It can be a group of people from different demographics or market segments as long as they share the same anxieties, desires, and qualities.
  • Your One Offer. An offer that is irresistible to your One Reader.
  • Your One Value Proposition. It is the highly desirable and unique thing your One Reader gets from your One Offer.

How to find your One Reader for the piece of copy you are writing

There are 6 key questions you need to answer to get to the core of who your One Reader is.

  1. What do they want? It could be a personal or social transformation, or it may be a more functional job that they need done, done better, done faster, and so on.
  2. What is getting in the way of them getting what they want?
  3. How can we get rid of the blockers to that desired outcome?
  4. What kind of decision makers do we believe they are?
  • Spontaneous decision maker
  • Competitive decision maker
  • Humanistic decision maker
  • Methodical decision maker

5. What stage of awareness for the thing we’re writing about are they in?

  • Most aware
  • Product aware
  • Solution aware
  • Pain aware
  • Unaware

6. How sophisticated are they?

  • High sophistication
  • Low sophistication

Questions 5 and 6 are important when creating your One Offer.

Answer the questions above with as much detail as you need to understand who your One Reader is.

If you are writing a highly targeted ad, go deeper on understanding your prospect.

If you are writing a home page or an unsegmented pricing page, keep it more general.

Apply the Rule of One to anything you write. It makes it easy to write targeted, high-converting copy.

2) Market Sophistication

Before writing your copy, identify how sophisticated your market is. In other words, how much your One Reader knows about what you are selling. How many times have they seen similar offers or tried similar products?

  • High sophistication. Your target market has been exposed to MANY products like yours that solve the same problem.
  • Low sophistication. Your target market has not been exposed to any product like yours or only very few of them.

The level of sophistication gives you an idea of how much you can expect to explain in your copy. The lower the sophistication, the more you will have to explain at every part of the funnel.

The easiest way to assess your market level of sophistication is by checking how many direct competitors you have. If you recognize a lot of direct competitors, your market is probably sophisticated.

3) Stages of Awareness

The stages of awareness are one of the most important things you need to consider every time you write a piece of copy.

Your One Reader sits somewhere on the Stages of Awareness spectrum.

Copywriter Eugene Schwartz described the 5 stages of awareness in his masterpiece Breakthrough Advertising.

  • Most Aware. They have all the information they need to buy. They are ready to accept your offer.
  • Product Aware. Your prospect knows of your product, but he is not sure it is the right choice for him. He may spend quite a lot of time in this stage learning about the product.
  • Solution Aware. Your prospect knows she has a problem and starts searching for a solution.
  • Pain Aware. They are feeling a pain but they don’t know yet that a solution for that pain exists.
  • Unaware. They don’t recognize they have a pain that needs to be solved.

Why is it important to know where in the stage of awareness spectrum your prospect is? It gives you an idea of how much you will need to say and what messages you need to focus on.

4) Decision-Making Modalities

There are four decision-making modalities. Your One Reader is one or more of them. Your copy should solve for the four decision makers.

  1. Spontaneous
  • Emotional and fast-moving.
  • Not invested in reading beyond the hero section.
  • Attracted to icons and images.
  • “Tool dominant”. They use search and your navigation to get around your site.
  • Write short copy for them.

2. Competitive

  • Logical and fast moving.
  • Read more than spontaneous do but fast.
  • Want clear benefits tied to features.
  • Want proof in the form of facts and numbers.

3. Humanistic

  • Move slowly through your copy and read a lot of it.
  • Look for personal stories, photos of real people and lots of benefits.

4. Methodical

  • Move slowly through your copy and read a lot of it.
  • Want you to connect the dots for them and show them all the details.
  • Move through the stages of awareness methodically, considering every angle and every turn.

5) VoC Data

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a research methodology to capture customers’ expectations, wants, needs, and pains using different techniques, such as interviews, surveys, focus groups, live chats, social media, online customer reviews, website behavior.

It is made up of what your current and future customers, prospects, visitors, users and lookalikes (people similar to your customers) say and how they say it.

  • What they say drives the order of the messages on your page and in your emails and ads.
  • How they say it drives the actual on-page copy.

It is a three-part process that involves:

  • Getting the right data.
  • Analyzing the data.
  • Applying the data to your copy.

VoC data is reusable. You can use the messages revealed again an again across all your marketing. Unless your audience or business changes, those messages will generally have a two-year shelf life.

6) Frameworks and Formulas

Use frameworks to organize what you want to say and formulas to improve how you want to say it.

A framework helps you organize your page in ways that are more likely to connect with and convince the readers.

Commonly used copywriting frameworks are:

  • AIDA (Attention Interest Desire Action)
  • PAS (Problem Agitation Solution)
  • PASO (Problem Agitation Solution Outcome)
  • 4Ps (Picture Promise Prove Push)