Flashback! We ran a version of this post three years ago, in July of 2014, and we think it’s worth revisiting. Increasing conversions for your site is never easy, so be sure you’re using every possible tool!
As writers, we like words rather than numbers.
That’s natural, yes, but it can be limiting. Our San Francisco digital marketing agency would flounder if we didn’t have the capacity to run the numbers for our business and to track which of our digital marketing services and efforts are getting traction and are driving the best results for our clients.
I’m sure you’ve heard terms like “data-driven,” “A/B testing,” and “conversion rate optimization” floating around the cybersphere. Like it or not, these terms apply to you. You need the “data mindset.”
Let me put it another way: The copywriter who embraces — and builds a solid skill set that includes — search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization, and analytics is a rare bird. You can be that rare bird.
At the end of the day, more people can add than can write well. If you can do both, I’m not saying you’re guaranteed to write your own ticket, but I am saying that you’ll have better odds. (Writing your own ticket, by the way, is the kind of thing my dad says. It means you’ll be able to get jobs faster and command a better salary).
As an SEO copywriter, you’ll bypass your competition, and boost your employability (read: profits) by learning all about testing. It’s relatively easy to get started by practicing on your own website, which will help you boost your site’s conversion rate and thus get more subscribers or sell more eBooks (or whatever your current business goals are).
Here’s what SEO copywriters like you need to know, now.
Testing is all about taking hypotheses (such as your belief that “join me” is a better phrase on an email opt-in button than “sign up”) and finding out if you are correct.
What’s great about it is that you can begin to eliminate what Optimizely (a split testing platform) calls the “HiPPO Syndrome.” A HiPPO is the “highest paid person’s opinion,” which is often followed whether or not the HiPPO really knows what he or she is talking about.
In other words, it doesn’t matter who’s smartest, or richest. It’s all about the hard data.
Relying on data helps you boost your employability and profitability (if you are a freelancer) because you can clearly show that your writing boosted conversion rates and profits.
Further, testing reduces conflict. As a writer, you don’t have to argue for your point of view if you can simply say, “Let’s test it.”
The implications for writers, in addition to tangibles such as increased employability, have to do with how we work our craft and how others see us.
We are living in a time when the different creative roles and science coexist and conflate more than ever. By this I mean that when you write, nowadays you have to think of design as you’re writing. It’s not enough to write out text for a website. You have to imagine how the website, along with your text, will work together.
As a writer, you have to think about numbers more than ever.
I always start my blog posts by looking for keywords using Google’s Keyword Tool. I use terms that I think my readers will understand along with words that, hopefully, are low-competition, high-volume terms.
I am always thinking about user experience, conversion, and optimization.
User experience and optimization form a kind of loop. If you optimize well for your users, you should experience a higher conversion rate (more email subscriptions, more downloads, more free consultations, more purchases).
Can you test that?
Let’s understand: Depending on the volume of traffic and what a website is selling, boosting a conversion rate by even 1% can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If employers see you as a proven profit generator, that can only be a good thing for your business.
Of course, split testing is not without its difficulties.
For one thing, like digital photography, split testing encourages a kind of mediocrity among writers. You don’t have to craft every sentence because you can bang a few things out and test them.
Writing becomes iterative, data-driven, and potentially less artful.
At the end of the day, the results may be the same (lean writing with great results), arrived at differently.
Another difficulty is that you, as a copywriter, may not have access to projects that are most conducive to split testing.
You need traffic. If you are working on a new website, your job will be the same as it already was: to figure out how to drive traffic to the site so that visitors can, ultimately, become customers.
Some ways to generate traffic include:
- Social media engagement
- Guest blogging and
- Pay per click (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads)
Generating traffic is a win-win because it will drive site profitability and provide more accurate test results. The good news is that you can simply run the test longer if you don’t have a large volume of traffic and keep gathering data until you have enough to make your tests statistically significant. Either way, you’ll be developing the data mindset you need for successful testing and conversion.
A final obstacle is the learning curve. Chances are you don’t know how to split test, yet. This you can learn by Googling “how to split test.”
Start very small on your own website, just to figure out how split testing works, which steps you need to take to get everything up and ready, and to refine your work flow.
Then, when the time comes and you get a great project with the potential for meaningful testing of conversion rates, you’ll know just what to do.
Get started today! Give us a shout-out on Facebook or Twitter if you’ve got any questiions or feedback. If you’re ready to see what Colibri can do for your business, go ahead and click the friendly pink button at the bottom of the page!
Colibri Digital Marketing
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Originally published at colibridigitalmarketing.com on July 13, 2017.