Whether you’re thinking about becoming a copywriter, or looking for a change of pace from content writing, you’ll probably have come across the term “conversion copywriter” during your travels around the internet. So what is a conversion copywriting exactly? In this blog I’m taking a look at what a conversion copywriter does, the conversion copywriting process, and how you can get started as a conversion copywriter.
What is conversion copywriting?
Conversion copywriting is a persuasive writing style that aims to make the reader take a specific action. And it’s not necessarily all about selling a product or service.
Think about all the web pages and promotions that encourage you to do things like:
- Download a free guide
- Sign up for a free trial
- Subscribe to an email newsletter
- Click a button
- Fill out a form
- Add something to your shopping cart
- Share something on social media
Every time you’ve performed an action like this on a business website, that’s conversion copywriting at work. It positions all the writing on a page or ad to increase an already existing desire in a customer to either do or get a thing that they want. And then it gets them to take a specific action on the page (e.g. download, click, sign up, buy).
The fun thing about conversion copywriting is that it doesn’t need to be fancy and complicated. Conversion copy needs to be simple, specific, and clear to the reader. It should focus on the benefits of a product or service, and most importantly, it needs to let the reader see how their life can be better if they buy/sign up/download the thing that you’re writing about.
How is conversion copywriting different from other types of copywriting?
Conversion copywriting isn’t a “sleazy, hard-sell” style of copywriting like some of the more questionable direct response copywriting styles. It takes a more inbound approach to copy, and works with the voice of existing customers of a business to create copy that attracts more of that same kind of person.
Learning about your client’s business and customers helps you get a clear understanding of the problems the business faces, and how to create copy that helps your client reach their clearly defined goals for their product or service.
Conversion copywriting is a more natural, conversational style of sales copywriting that blends your own creativity with research, hard data, psychology, classic persuasion techniques, close attention to the voice of your client’s customers, and learning how to write in the voice of their brand.
In addition, you get to learn about things like wireframing, presenting your copy visually on calls, and explaining the strategy behind what you’ve written.
All of these conversion techniques can help you get to the next level in your copywriting career.
What does a conversion copywriter do?
Conversion copywriters can specialize by industry, or by the type of copy they write. Or both!
For example, I’m a B2B SaaS copywriter that primarily specializes in writing website copy and landing pages for software companies. I might also be asked to write other types of copy in this niche, including:
- Sales pages
- Email campaigns
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Marketing funnels
- Sales funnels
Conversion copywriters in other niches might focus on things like launches for courses and new products. The type of copy and industry you want to write for will eventually become clear – so start with a broad scope first and then narrow things down when you’ve had a bit of experience.
How to get started as a conversion copywriter
There are plenty of free resources out there to help you get to grips with how to become a conversion copywriter.
Some great places to start are:
The conversion copywriting process in 3 steps
Unlike other forms of copywriting, Conversion Copywriting requires a great deal of upfront research and strategy, which results in copy that’s not just engaging, but so persuasive, your target audience can’t help but take action.
So, how do you go about creating effective, high-quality conversion-focused copywriting?
While there are many techniques for writing conversion-focused copy, and getting it right takes some practice, there are a few things every conversion copywriter must do if they want their web copy to inspire others to take action.
Here are four tips to get you started on writing conversion-focused copy:
1. Discovery and analysis (the initial research part)
As a conversion copywriter, you’ll always start out with the research phase. When you’re developing your own process (and depending on the industry you want to write for) this can include steps like:
- Running customer surveys
- Scheduling past and current customer interviews
- Interviewing the CEO or members of the sales team, support team, or product team
- User testing
- Google Analytics analysis
- Checking heatmaps and scrollmaps
- Analyzing competitor websites
Before you start writing a word, you need a complete understanding of your client’s business, product, services, customers, and competitors. This will help you create targeted, persuasive copy that gets potential or existing customers to take action on what you write.
The discovery and analysis phase generally makes up the bulk of a conversion copywriting project.
2. Writing and wireframing
Next comes the part where you actually get down to writing. You’ll be using all the “voice of customer data” that you collected during the research phase – plus adding in some psychological persuasion techniques, and your own personal creative flair and ideas to bring your copy to life.
If you’re working on landing pages, sales pages, or website copy – it’s a good idea to wireframe your copy as a structural guide for your client and their designer. This helps them put your copy in a visual context, and you can more easily explain the layout, messaging hierarchy, and navigation to your client.
Don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks – and it gives you get a clearer picture of your finished product while you work.
3. Testing and optimization
The coolest part of being a conversion copywriter is seeing the results of your work, and getting the chance to tweak and test things to get your copy performing even better for your clients.
Many conversion copywriters don’t worry about this part of the process – and many clients don’t want or need this from you. But if you get the chance to run variations of your copy against itself to see which ones work best, take it!
You can check the performance of your original copy, and review fun metrics such as click-through rates, bounce rates, conversions, and so on. Seeing your copy out in the wild getting results for clients is one of the best parts of being a conversion copywriter.
How much do conversion copywriters make?
Conversion copywriters can charge more than many other types of copywriter, due to their work being “close to the sale” – as in, the work they do is directly tied to sales, and the return on investment can be measured.
Clients pay top dollar for conversion copywriters with proven results and testimonials that can show they know what they’re doing, and who have a clearly defined process for engineering copy that gets results.
Many top conversion copywriters have project minimums of $20,000+. But for other conversion copywriters, project minimums can start around $2,500 – $5,000.
Remember to be realistic. You won’t be able to charge thousands of dollars for a landing page or an email sequence straight away. You need to put the work in to refine your process, get results for your first clients, and raise your rates from there once you’re comfortable and confident about the work you’re doing.
The best courses for conversion copywriting
If you feel you need to learn more in order to become a high-paid conversion copywriter that people will hire over other cheaper copywriters – you might need to fill in some gaps in your knowledge.
I’ve taken these courses myself, and don’t hesitate to recommend them to other aspiring conversion copywriters:
- Copy School by Copyhackers – literally everything you need to know about conversion copywriting for emails, landing pages, sales pages, websites, and ads, by the original conversion copywriter – Joanna Wiebe
- Conversion XL – you can pick and choose relevant courses here – AND you get a 7 day trial for just $1!
The best books for conversion copywriters
These are a few of my top book recommendations for beginners, established writers who are looking to move into conversion copywriting, and conversion copywriters who want to sharpen their skills and earn more.
- How to effectively run customer research, analyze the findings, and turn what you learn into high-converting copy
- The psychology behind why people buy (or don’t buy)
- The stages of awareness in every customer’s journey with a brand
- How to write copy that persuades people to buy at every specific stage of their journey
How to find conversion copywriting clients
The process is the same as for finding all good freelance copywriting clients.
Once you’re on a sales call with a potential client, ensure they have a good understanding of what conversion copy is, and the value it can bring to their business. Clients that already understand the potential of conversion copywriting to grow their business are the people you want to work with.
These clients should:
- Understand what a conversion copywriter does
- Know that good copywriting starts with the research phase and isn’t just a bunch of words thrown together
- Want to get more qualified leads and more sales
- Want copy that works hard to persuade people to buy, download, or try something
- Understand that creating effective copy takes time
- Understand that when they hire you as a conversion copywriter – they’re hiring a strategist, a psychologist, a salesperson, and a consultant – not just an ordinary everyday writer.
If you have to battle to explain what conversion copy is to a potential client, or why you need to do a lot of research before you start any writing – give those clients a hard pass.
Clients that already know the power of conversion copy will be easier to work with, pay you more, and will trust that your process can get them the results they need to reach their business goals.
In summary – getting started as a conversion copywriter
Becoming a conversion copywriter means that you need a solid understanding of the process behind creating successful copy which persuades a reader to take action and download, buy, or sign up for an offer.
When you’re writing conversion copy for a client, you’ll need a clearly defined strategy for researching their customers and competition, analyzing the research you’ve collected, and turning this into copy that has the highest chance of converting.
Great conversion copywriting should cut through any objections from the reader and explain clearly why they need to take action on an offer. And the best conversion copy? You won’t even notice it. Remember all the times you’ve skimmed through a business website page and clicked on something because it was like – “wow, this business really understands my problems and needs?” That’s good conversion copywriting at work.
If you’re searching for a well-paid freelance career, or you need a change from the type of content or copywriting that you currently do – becoming a conversion copywriter might be just what you need.
- How to become a freelance copywriter (even if you have no experience!)
- How to find great copywriting clients
- How to earn 6 figures as a freelance copywriter
Rachael is a full-time digital nomad and freelance copywriter for B2B and SaaS companies. She’s worked with brands like Unbounce, Biteable, Datacom, Viddyoze, and Owler.