How to Write Copy That Converts

Elke Farnworth
February 26, 2021

How To Write Copy That Converts.

A wise man once said, "A consumer is not a moron. She's your wife. Don't insult her intelligence, and don't shock her." (Confessions of an Advertising Man, p. 96) Wisdom gained from experience, David Ogilvy, often described as 'The Father of Advertising', has a damn good point.

Marketing messaging, like any relationship, should be about respect — respect for the consumer as well as your product. No one ever won over an audience by denigrating them. You're the one who is chasing the sale and your copy must reflect this. As easy as it is to flirt to convert a sale, at the end of the day, your product is simply solving a problem.

Do or die.

Your product is depending on you; if you cut your product short and present a less than compelling argument, then you've failed. It doesn't matter if you're selling ice to Eskimos or selling sand to the Sahara, your copy must propel the customer into action.

Successful copywriters know how to find the customer's 'pain point', empathise with the customer's struggle and write a can't-lose proposal arguing favour for your product.

"It's okay to be negative"… said no one ever. As a species, it's the human condition to be continually striving to prevent suffering and avoid discomfort for survival. Depending on your product or service, try telling your customer what they'll lose if they don't act on your proposal.

‘FOMO’ is a trendy buzzword often used by millennials but was in fact coined by a marketing strategist, Dan Herman (2000). Consumers are more likely to purchase goods purely because they have a 'fear of missing out' and or they feel like time is running out. Add a countdown timer on your product, limit it and more often than not, this will drive your customers to purchase impulsively and immediately.

Features tell, benefits sell.

Start by highlighting the benefits of your product or service. Make your main benefit difficult to ignore by describing the actual impact it can make on your target persona's life. Change your reader's perspective. Plant the seed. Of course, features should be present in the promotion you create, but ultimately, they're not going to close the deal. Only benefits are. You've planted the seed, now water it. This is where you can drop in some features. You can do so by painting a picture, which will give your consumer something to visualise and gestate. Just don't over-do it.

No verbs, no vigour.

You can write a headline an infinite number of ways but don't get distracted with fluffy synonyms. This one might seem like a no brainer, but it's all too often you see a vague, perplexing headline that doesn't feature THE keyword you searched for. Don't leave your customers guessing what you're selling. Make the connection clear within the first line.

Ask questions. Leveraging user intent is crucial to writing copy for conversion. Find your voice outside of your competition. You're you and that's your advantage.

Be different, be funny. Adding humour to your copy is a great way to differentiate yourself. In saying that, it's 2021… What's hilarious to one person might be severely offensive to another, so the best way to go about this is by A/B testing your ads to see if your prospects get the joke.


Perhaps your goal is to get people to read your blog, or perhaps you want them to buy a plant. The end game is the same - to "sell" the consumer on a specific action. Sentences are more than just a string of syllables. The words you choose to use should heavily depend on who you're pitching to. You must appeal to the age, gender, geographic area, income level, educational attainment, the list goes on. Do your research to swim in the consumer current, not sink into oblivion.

Think of your words as they fit into the sales funnel. Use action words: Read More, Learn More, Buy Now, Click Here. Don't beat around the bush, lead your customer exactly where you want them - down the funnel. Start with answering the types of questions your audience has at the "top" and work your way down from there. No matter what level you're serving your copy for, you can go about it in a way that isn't ‘salesy'.

Proofread and proofread again.

Nothing – and I cannot stress this enough – ruins an ad more than a grammatically incorrect sentence. Painting a picture with your words can reap benefits but errors in your spelling or sentence structure are red flags to a prospective buyer. Without proper proofreading, your visuals will be overlooked instead of completing a picture-perfect presentation.


1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6. Check your quotations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

And just like the individual instruments of an orchestra, these insights executed correctly will ensure a symphony of success.