Copywriting for Conversion – Know What Matters

Copywriting for Conversion – Know What Matters

28th October 2013

There were two great speakers talking about copywriting at Conversion Conference in London, Michael Aagaard and Catherine Toole.

Michael started the session by going through and explaining 3 mission critical elements for conversion:

3 Mission Critical Elements

The first optimisation principle, is that it is not the magnitude of the change on the page that impacts conversion, but it is the magnitude of change.

The second optimisation principle is that “clarity trumps persuasion”.

How much of your copy will people read?  Michael took us through the key areas that users read and where copy will have a huge impact.

  • Headlines
  • Forms
  • Button copyOptimising Forms - Conversion Conference

1) Headlines

Michael gave an example of a client they worked with called Fitness World.

The copy originally was:

“You work out smarter at fitness world”

They then changed this to be:

“Group training and fitness at your local gym”.

Another example:

Michael and his team changed the headline for a betting client from:

“Passionate about betting? We are too”


“Make more money on your bets – get free daily betting tips”

This led to over 40% more sign ups – just from changing this copy  – what powerful stuff.  We should not assume  the most creative copy is the best copy to use. This is where clarity trumps persuasion. 

2) Form copy

The most prominent part of the sign up form is the headline and changing this can have a big impact.

For example, Michael changed the form copy for his betting client from:

“Join BettingExpert ”


“Get Free Betting Tips”

The second copy resulted in a  31.54% uplift in sign ups.  The new copy gives the customer a good reason to sign up.  Motivation is a factor for people and this was reflected in the increase in sign ups.

3) Button copy

This is the low hanging fruit and ties the whole conversion funnel together.

Michael amended the copy of the button from:

“Get your membership”


“Find your gym and get membership”.

Result – there was a 213% increase in CTR.

Another example was on a subscription plan, where they changed the button from:

“Create me account”


“Create account and get started”

The result was a 31.47%  increase in payments.

You don’t need to be Shakespeare, but you need to know what matters

The second speaker of the session, was Catherine Toole, CEO of StickyContent. Catherine said there are lots of relevant elements Shakespeare can teach us and what we should apply to our content:

1) Purpose

For content optimisation, we need to know its purpose. Most digital copy writers say the best copywriting is in print.  Very few people are creating content from a written brief.   There was also very few people  that have a content plan and those those that do, have this hijacked by business needs.

How can you optimise content if  you do not know what the purpose?

Content strategy is made of the quad:

Content Quad

Need to have the power to impose your power of the version of content.  Within the organisation, it is important to have a good mindset over copy only testing (not images).

2) Relevance

Speak the language to the audience.  About 2,000 new words and phrases were invented by Shakespeare.  Know the power of words and how it resonates with your audience.  This is the key to copy optimisation.

Facebook realised this when they changed the “Become a Fan” button to the “Like” button.

It is not just about the words, but the order of the message.

For example when users sign into skype, they see the message: “You will always be able to call anyone with skype for free”

3) Voice and Tone

Have the confidence to send out tone and voice.  For example Twitter messages sounds like their brand even when users sign up to Twitter.

Catherine talked about the example of Johnnie Boden, a clothes retailer who sound like their brand throughout their site.

Catherine Toole

4) Craft

Short form copywriting is a craft.  It is a very specific form of writing and takes time to do this in an expert way. Optimisation is more difficult than it may appear.

Optimise all areas of your copy, even the unsubscribe copy. It takes a lot of practice to become a good copy writer, especially writing short copy.

This was a fantastic session with some great tips about copywriting from both Michael and Catherine.  Catherine highlighted the fact that copywriting is a skill and should be seen as that.  Copywriting should be allocated the time and resource it deserves, so ensure you incorporate this into your online marketing strategy.  Jo Turnbull also interviewed Catherine Toole, before the conference who shared her content tips with State of Digital.


Written By
Jo Juliana Turnbull is the organiser of Search London and the founder of SEO Jo Blogs, which provides practical advice and tips for those in SEO.
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