Owners of e-commerce businesses are having a blast right now – the industry is among those few that are booming during the pandemic, as online shops remain the only place for many customers where they can purchase goods.
However, such a spike in the popularity of e-commerce also provoked a rise in competition, and, to remain afloat, e-commerce business owners wear themselves out to invent new customer retention strategies, purchase complicated and expensive technology, but their efforts don’t always work out.
Why is it happening?
Sometimes, the reason why your visitors aren’t converting into customers is simpler than you think. You just need to put yourself in your visitor’s shoes to understand.
The reason might be as simple as poorly written product information. And you can’t deny that this information matters to online shoppers: 82% of consumers confirm that product descriptions and specs influence their purchase decisions.
But it also matters how well this product information is written. Let’s consider these two examples:
These two images show fairly good product descriptions. The first one tells a bit of a product backstory, while the second one is simpler and focuses more on product features.
But let’s be honest: you would most likely pick the product from the second image if you were offered only these two options.
The thing is that your brain is playing tricks with you here. It would rather pick the product with a more structured description than a scattered and all-over-the-place one, like in the first example
This makes us wonder: how can you use psychology in copywriting to your benefit and boost conversions?
Let’s take a look.
1. Pay Attention to the Structure
From our examples above, we’ve figured out that your copy’s structural organization has a significant impact on how the consumers perceive the information your copy provides and how it will impact their further purchase decisions.
The explanation for our brain’s love for structure lies behind the structural information theory. This theory’s concepts indicate that visual perception organization enables us to perceive a certain object as structured wholes, helping us better retain information about them.
The reason for our brain’s love for structures is explained by neuroscience.
In a 2018 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the researchers determined that certain neurons are responsible for grouping behaviors together in one habitual routine. This process got the name of “chunking” and is involved in habit formation.
The researchers also suggested that a similar mechanism takes place when a brain perceives new information. And, when elements of the text are grouped in meaningful chunks, it helps the brain perceive and retain information better.
What is the role of the structural information theory in copywriting?
This theory’s principles explain why it is important to break your copy into meaningful parts. It also explains why highlighting the text and breaking it into subcategories, like in the image below, can help consumers better understand what the product is without having to take an actual look at it:
So, to convert more visitors into buyers, you first need to work on the structure of your copy, whether it is a product description, an ad, or any other content type.
Here are a few tips on structuring your copy:
- break down your copy with subsections
- use bullet points for the parts you want to highlight
- incorporate tables and other visuals
The knowledge of the structural information theory can especially come in handy if your copy is quite long, like a product description or a blog post. Such copies often are quite hard and lengthy, but breaking them down into meaningful chunks can help the visitors retain information better.
2. Focus on Simplicity
Sometimes a copy serves the role of the guide from one point in the sales funnel to another. And, it shouldn’t take too long for the copy to bring the consumer to the next stage of their experience with your brand.
What we’re trying to tell you here is that a copy shouldn’t be overly complicated, and you should simplify your writing workflow as soon as possible. The simplicity principle confirms it.
This principle is connected to the structural information theory and suggests that the human brain prefers simpler explanations of observations to more complex ones. According to it, our brain has a bias towards simplicity and deliberately seeks it out.
What’s the impact of the simplicity principle in copywriting?
Since the simplicity, much like the structure of the copy, impacts the consumer’s perception of it, the less complicated the copy looks, the better.
That being said, focusing your copy on a certain goal can help you achieve simplicity. Let’s consider the following example.
In the image below, you can see the ad from an e-commerce store that sells jewelry for everyday wear:
The copy of the ad is simple, consists of two sentences that perfectly channel the goal of the products – they can suit every everyday outfit.
We should also mention here that writing social ads usually doesn’t involve lengthy copies, but requires making them as straightforward as possible. However, this is not an easy thing to do for other types of copies, such as web content, blog posts, and other marketing pieces.
In the case of more lengthy copies, simplicity often means good readability, meaning that the copy is easy to understand for any reader with absolutely no knowledge of the product.
That’s why, if you’re not sure whether your copy is simple enough for an average customer to perceive, you can check its readability using tools like TrustMyPaper or Hemingway App that use commonly accepted readability scores such as Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fox Index, and SMOG Index.
3. Use Instant Gratification
Online shopping experience lacks one important component that in-store shopping has – customers can’t get their product right away. For many of them, this is the reason why they don’t buy goods from e-commerce stores – the shipping usually takes too long.
While it’s not likely that you can impact the shipping process, there’s still something you can do to retain the attention of consumers and make them more interested in becoming your customers.
Instant gratification can be a great solution in this case.
The term speaks for itself – instant gratification describes the tendency of the human brain to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay. Anna Hendriks, a researcher and writer at WowGrade, also adds that this phenomenon is closely connected with the pleasure principle, which is the driving force that convinces us to gratify our needs and desires immediately.
There is a belief that instant gratification is bad, and, instead of it, delayed gratification is more promoted. However, instant gratification is fueled by the modern way, how we exchange and consume information, for example, through social media and other outlets that have instant gratification in their nature.
So, instant gratification is not a bad thing, and you can even take advantage of it to help drive conversions in e-commerce.
How to incorporate instant gratification in a copy?
On the stage where your customer gets acquainted with a product, you can incorporate a copy that can use instant gratification even before the purchase is complete.
For instance, it can be a pop-up notification that offers a 15% discount on the first order in exchange for the customer’s email address:
You can do the same with ad copies, landing pages, and other elements that involve a shorter copy.
However, incorporating instant gratification can become a real writing challenge with lengthier copies like blog posts. In this case, you can add an engaging call-to-action that would guide a visitor to a landing page with a discount or special offer as instant gratification for reading your blog post. Such an approach would also give them a little push further down the sales funnel.
4. Incorporate Social Proof
Almost no online purchase is complete without prior product research that often involves the analysis of social proof, which involves customer feedback and recommendations.
In fact, many consumers deliberately seek out such recommendations online before purchasing the product. According to the statistics by Optinmonster, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 70% will even believe a recommendation from someone they don’t know.
Our tendency to rely on the opinion of others is rooted in psychology. When looking for social proof, it activates a psychological bias implying that the best decision is always made based on the decisions of others.
Besides, this bias is also connected to our survival instincts and the fact that we subconsciously don’t want to separate from the crowd. And, if the crowd finds something good and worth your time and money, it could imply that it might be beneficial for you too.
How to use social proof in a copy?
The easiest way to incorporate ratings and reviews in your copy is to enable the customers to leave their feedback on the page. Of course, this has to do more with product information copies rather than ads or website content:
However, you can still incorporate some types of social proof into long-form copies. For instance, you can write a blog post on your customer’s experience, a case study, or have your audience comment on product-related posts.
But be careful with citing unverified reviews in your copy. Consumers are quick to spot fraud, such as paid reviews, so if your goal is to increase conversions, make your copy true-to-life and based on actual social proof.
Copywriting isn’t an exact science, and that’s what makes it difficult. There is no copywriting formula that would guarantee your e-commerce business a boost in conversions and increased revenues.
However, there are some psychological tricks that can help you convince your visitors to convert, such as structuring your copy, making it simple, as well as including instant gratification and social proof.
However, before applying any of these tricks, make sure they serve the goal of your copy well. They should complement this goal and help the copy deliver it. Only then can we say that the copy is strong and can actually bring you more customers.