The High-Converting Copy Formula [Review]

What does a mathematical formula have to do with creating a high-converting sales page? 🤓 

Read on for the answer to this and more in this week’s edition of my CXL Conversion Optimization Minidegree journey.

This blog post is part 2 in a series where I detail my experiences with the Conversion Optimization Minidegree from CXL Institute.

For transparency, I received a scholarship to this program (for which I’m eternally grateful), but I’ve tried to keep my thoughts and reflections in the following post as unbiased as humanly possible. Of course, we all know that humans are inherently biased - whether we’d like to be or not - so don’t fault me for being human! 😂

 

Being a copywriter myself, I was really excited to dive into some of CXL’s copywriting content this week. I started off with Peep Laja’s Intro to Conversion Copywriting, then moved on to Momoko Price’s Product Messaging and Sales Page Copywriting course. 

Now, I’ve been to my fair share of seminars and workshops in my time. And I can say without a doubt that Momoko’s presentation was quite possibly the most enjoyable 5 and a quarter hours I’ve ever spent on professional development. 

I mean, spreadsheets and Seinfeld? Seriously, what’s better than that? 😍

 

Product Messaging & Sales Page Copywriting

 

Momoko Price’s approach to writing sales page copy is systematic and customer-centered. So customer centered, that she actually shows you how to mine for real “voice of customer” messaging data and use it in your sales narrative copywriting. ⛏

Pretty cool stuff. 

And while I could probably dive super-deep into message mining and how swiping messages from the mouths of your customers is probably the best thing for your business since well-before sliced bread, I’ll save that for another day.

Instead, this post is going to focus on a sales page tear down, because this is often where we’re starting from, either with a client’s website or our own. 

And since I wrote the copy on the Simply Conversion homepage in a bit of a rush, I thought it would be interesting to put my own homepage copy through the tear down process and see where I can improve. 

I already have a few ideas, but let’s see if sitting down to do a formal audit will reveal anything new.

 

A Systematic & Quantifiable Audit Process

One of my favorite things about Momoko’s process is how she has systematized and quantified as many potentially objective tasks as possible. 

This is really important to keep in mind because so much of any review process can easily devolve into an opinion-slinging match with little data to back anything up.

And while there’s always room for some constructive feedback, channeling your inner Gordon Ramsey on someone’s hard work really isn’t cool. 🤬

So what is cool? Math. 

That’s right. You heard me. I’ve got some cool-ass math to share with y’all.

Hold tight.
 
C = 4M + 3V + 2 (I – F) – 2A

That right there is MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic Formula. And I think it’s pretty fecking awesome. 

Now before you go running for the hills, there’s no calculator needed for this formula. It’s actually a breakdown of how persuasion works. And you can use this when you’re writing (or rewriting) your sales copy. 

So here’s how it works. 

 

C = Conversion (your visitor’s probability of saying “yes” to your offer)

M = Motivation. This is the potential customer’s motivation for coming to your page. This is out of your control but it is the driving force of your prospect so you need to harness this in your messaging. Value: 4

V = Value proposition. This is pretty darn important, as you can see from the 3 in front. So it’s crucial to create a UVP that’s clear and easy to understand. An effective UVP answers the questions “what’s in it for me” and “why should I get it from you.”  Value: 3

I = Incentive. This is a way to motivate a prospect into taking action. This can be positive, like a free gift or a discount, or negative, like a limited time offer. Value: 2 (minus F)

F = Friction. How hard is it for someone to take a desired action on your page?

A = Anxiety. Here’s where you need to deal with potential objections. What are the customer’s doubts about your service or product? Value: 2

 

As you can see, there are a few critical components to our sales copywriting process, some weighing more highly than others. So let’s jump into the tear down and see how we’re addressing some of these components.

But before we do, did you know that we have a free sales page blueprint with your name on it?

 

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The Copy Tear Down

 

Momoko is awesome and gives a ton of templates and spreadsheets in her course. I’m going to base this teardown on her Copy Teardown spreadsheet. 

I should note that this is especially cool because you can use it to assess the entire sales funnel, not just a single page. So there could be some instances where some elements are found on one page, and others found on other pages further down the funnel. 

Like I mentioned before, Momoko also has numerous systems for quantifying otherwise objective or anecdotal information. 

This spreadsheet is no different, with a rating system ranging from 1 to 3, where 3 meets a set criteria, 2 partially meets, and 1 not at all. 

It would take me a long time to go through each individual question on the assessment list, so I’ll focus on the changes that I may make on my own page as a result of this teardown.

First up on the list: 

 

Orient Upon Entrance

[NOTE: The change to the name Pro Salespage was. in a large part, a result of this exercise. While not quite as “catchy”, Pro Salespage is clear and concrete, a winning combination.]

There are a few questions to answer here, the first being “does the header copy explain what the product or service is.” 

I’m going to rate myself a 2 here, because the logo text “Simply Conversion” doesn’t give a ton of information on first glance. Neither do any of the navigation items. So here’s a prime area for improvement. 

There are a few different possibilities here, the most common probably being to add a top bar to the navigation. But I’m trying to keep things clean and streamlined, so I’m going to keep this as a possibility for the future but look to other options for adding this clarifying info.

After thinking about this, I decided to mess around with a few designs to add a more explanatory sub heading to the current logo. What do you think?  I think it adds a lot more clarity at first glance, which is what we should always be striving for with our copy.

Appeal to User Motivation

 

In my audit of my above-the-fold copy, I decided that I addressed the desired outcomes and pain points quite clearly. But this exercise also got me thinking that I should make some slight tweaks to give even more clarity and specificity to the desired outcomes. 

What change, you may ask…

If possible, I’d like to rework the main sub headline to be shorter and more succinct. Then I could use the remaining space for 3 bullet points to clarify the subheadline with more specifics. 

Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with things the way they are. I’m just a big fan of highlighting key point with lists and bullets since we all know that people don’t read all the information that’s in front of them. 

One of the things I’ve done quite well here is the simplicity in design. 

If you use the “squint test” to check out the above-the-fold copy, you can clearly see the main headline’s promise and the contrasting “pop” of the blue CTA button that again grabs onto the user’s main motivation – to get more sales.

Convey Unique Value

The power of your unique value boils down to how well you answer these two customer questions: “What’s in it for me” and “why buy it from you.”

And I’ll be the first to admit that I need to work on tightening this up a bit.  Granted, it is a homepage, but I definitely need to address it here as well as on any sales page.

Currently, I’m highlighting the fact that I’ve been in many of my target client’s position, and therefore, I know their struggle and their solutions personally.

Through my content, I’m also emphasizing that I’m being trained by one of the most elite conversion optimization programs in the world (and have now earned this sweet certification in Product Messaging and Sales Page Copywriting 🙌). But I’m not doing a good job of showing that here on the homepage.

One of the things you also might notice is the length of this section of homepage copy.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m no fan of the dreaded wall of text. But sometimes, you’ve got a story to tell and you don’t want to chop it up into list form or bullet points.

I’ve always read that the more expensive the product or the more complex the product, the longer the sales copy. Basically that the copy length increases the more convincing needs to be done to convert.

But there’s a bit more than that.

Sales page length and audience awareness

 

Momoko is of the camp that says that it’s much better to have a well-structured sales page that has too much stuff on it than to find out that you don’t have enough effective messaging and have folks bounce from your page without any clear reason why. 

Now by “stuff”, I don’t mean clutter. I just mean including all of the essential components for a high-converting sales page.

At the very worst, you can run your page through heat mapping or click map analysis to find the stuff that people are skipping over and just take it out later in the refinement process.

Her theory is that it’s better to be thorough and “too-complete” than to leave out important details and have your conversions suck worse than the final season of Lost.

And I tend to agree.

The other reason there’s so much copy on the homepage is because I’m assuming that my visitors are in the more problem aware phase, which puts them closer to the top of the funnel in the sales process.

Because they’re not already seeking out a solution, these visitors typically need more time to “buy in” than a solution or product aware visitor. 

If I had a more product or solution-aware audience coming in, ready to comparison shop and buy, then I’d cut the copy length and focus on incentives, features, and basically just getting out of their way so they can accomplish their main objective.

For the moment, though, I’m going to leave the longform style in this section and plan to run a heatmap study to see if it’s being read or ignored.

Establish Credibility

Establishing credibility has a lot to do with social proof. So if you’re a new startup or coach and don’t have a long list of prior clients, there’s a good chance that you may not have a lot of 5 star review to choose from.

This can leave a gaping hole where your customer reviews, stories, and testimonials should go.

I feel ya.

Here’s something cool I learned and will definitely start using in the future:

If you don’t have social proof, use 3rd party proof points to support your claims and give specifics.

Remember, people love specifics. 

So even though you still want to go out and get some great reviews asap, 3rd party proof will still satisfy some of that same psychological need for supporting details that AREN’T from you (since everyone knows we’re biased toward our own products and services anyway 🤷‍♀️).

Address Objections/Fears

 

Since this is a homepage and not a sales page, the perceived risk level is low. There’s really nothing to buy and the main Call to Action is a free opt-in. 

Since we want to match the content with the context, it would be unusual to show purchase guarantees or a bunch of credit card or security badges on the homepage. So I don’t really have any of that stuff here. 

But there are some other instances where addressing objections and fears can be applied to this page.

The most explicit reassurance I have on this page would probably be my copy above one of my opt-in boxes. 

Here’s the line:

We’ll send you tips and helpful content along the way (sorry, no sweet Rolex offers though 😉)

This line is intended to reassure visitors that I don’t want to spam them with crap offers and only have the best intentions! 

A little further down the page, you’ll actually see where I broke one of Peep’s rules from one of last week’s courses. Of course, I didn’t know this rule before last week so I have’t made any real changes to it at this point.

Here’s my bad -> I had a “marketers FAQ” planned for the bottom of this page.

Granted, I had planned to be genuinely helpful and not fill it with stupid, self-congratulatory platitudes, but I get it. Ideally, the page copy should address the prospects questions within the actual content. 

For the moment, I’ve been keeping it as a placeholder and a potential place to put questions/answers that I may get that I haven’t had time to work into the copy flow. 

But I’m a reasonable person and am always willing to take on opposing views. 

So what do you think? Keep the FAQ section or chuck it out? 

Be sure to let me know in the comments at the end of this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

This leads us to the final section of the page audit…

Present the Offer

Well, isn’t that perfect timing! Don’t mind if I do 😉

Turn Your Visitors into Buyers ↴

Learn the 11 Key Elements of a High Converting Sales Page

👇 Get your FREE sales page blueprint 

I Want More Sales!

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