Reducing drag that slows down buyer momentum increases your sales.

What You Will Learn

  • Why poor funnel design is costing you money
  • How ‘aerodynamic copywriting’ fixes the problem
  • Why seeking marginal gains can make you a winner

How to Win the ‘Copywriting Olympics’

In the world of competitive cycling, Team GB was one described as a “laughing stock.” The idea of Great Britain becoming a powerhouse competitor seemed ridiculous. Yet in the last two Olympics, Team GB has won 16 gold medals, and British riders have won the Tour de France three times in four years.

What changed? How did they do it? The big shift was a relentless determination to optimize aerodynamics. While other teams worked on making riders fitter, Team GB focused on reducing the drag that slows cyclists down. As a result, British cyclists became true winners.

Team GB employs a raft of engineers and specialists who are focused on achieving ‘marginal gains.’ That is, small improvements which reduce drag by a tiny fraction. They may test moving a cyclist’s hands further apart, adjusting the tilt of her head or changing the design of her helmet.

Individually, each change has a barely measurable effect – maybe saving just a fraction of a second per kilometer. But added up, these adjustments make the difference between settling for silver and winning the gold medal – or even setting a world record.

The same principles work like gangbusters in sales, too. By applying ‘aerodynamic copywriting,’ you can help buyers glide easily to the checkout page, and buy your products in droves.

The Importance of Buyer Momentum

The science of aerodynamics is all about reducing the drag factors that slow movement down. Engineers do everything they can do to reduce air resistance and friction, looking to achieve those all-important marginal gains.

In sales, we need to be focused on ‘buyer momentum.’ Our goal is to attract the interest of prospective customers, then keep them moving forward through our sales funnel without stopping.

Unfortunately, there are many drag factors which cause friction and resistance along the way. The result? The vast majority of potential customers are lost somewhere along the buying journey.

In aerodynamic copywriting, we aim to minimize these drag factors. We need to address the potential problem areas one by one, and reduce their effect on buyer momentum. If we can achieve marginal gains at every step, the improvement in conversion rate and average order value can be substantial.

There are many different factors which affect buyer momentum. Let’s take a look at the most important of these.

1. Failing to Engage Interest

We live in a noisy, busy world where we all see countless ad messages every day. We have learned to tune out to most of them. 

As a marketer, your first challenge is to get the attention of potential customers. And this is where many campaigns fail before they even get going. The temptation is to try to sell right from the get-go, and that’s usually a mistake.

Before you can sell anything to anyone, you need to establish a relationship. And that starts with getting their attention. Fortunately, there are many great ways to do this. You can:

  • Leverage emotional stories
  • Challenge their world view
  • Leverage topical news stories
  • Engage their curiosity

All of these work well. If you can combine two into one – such as an emotional story with a surprising beginning – then you are probably onto a winner.

2. A Weak Promise

In today’s competitive world, an offer with a modest benefit is unlikely to stand out in a sea of competing products. You need to make a big promise in terms of the benefits you can deliver. That could mean taking away a pressing pain (physical or emotional), or it may mean offering a big benefit.

Of course, this will only work if your product can deliver on your promise. All the more reason for only promoting great products that people love to own!

3. Trust Failure

You may have the best product in the world, and offer the best service. But how can prospects be sure of that? Credibility is another big factor to consider. Some marginal gains here can really make a difference to your conversion rate, while a lack of trust will kill your sales stone dead.

So use testimonials, reviews, press coverage, studies and authority figures to pile on the proof. Don’t be afraid to overdose on proof – in a skeptical world, you need all the credibility you can get.

4. Poor Congruence

Imagine you are cycling downhill at high speed, when suddenly the road veers sharply to the left. What’s going to happen? There’s a high chance you will fall off trying to make the turn, right?

This is what happens when a sales funnel is not congruent all the way through. This very often happens with upsells. Product owners try to sell whatever spare product they have available, rather than creating an upsell that continues the buyer’s momentum.

When customers are in the zone for buying Product X, your upsell should be even more of Product X, or something that makes it quicker, better, faster or easier. Don’t try to make them change course and buy something they have little interest in.

5. Confused Prospects

Prospects often abandon a sales page because it’s not clear what they should do next. How do they order? What is the cost, exactly? And who pays for shipping? All of these questions will kill sales if they go unanswered.

So make your sales process as clear as possible. Tell people exactly what they need to, what they will get, and what will happen next. Don’t assume that your customers are smart enough to figure all this out for themselves. They probably aren’t – and they don’t have time to waste trying to understand your process.

6. The Risk Factor

Buying a product online is always a risk. Buyers are dealing with an unknown quantity they can’t touch or feel. So you need to be aware of these concerns, and do whatever you can to minimize them.

Guarantees are great for this. Offer the strongest guarantee you can, so that you are removing risk from the equation. This can do a great deal to keep that buying momentum moving forward to the checkout.

7. Unanswered Objections

Sometimes the drag factor is simply that prospects don’t have enough information. They need to know if your product has a specific feature, will integrate with another tool they use, or is free of a particular substance. 

These unanswered questions are a real obstacle to sales. A prospect may love your product and be ready to buy – but they need answers first. So it’s also a great idea to add an FAQ section to cover off every objection you know of. Sometimes a short answer to a simple query is all that is needed to secure the sale.

8. Payment Issues

For high-ticket items, in particular, ‘sticker shock’ can be a problem. People may love what you have to offer, but be unwilling or unable to pony up all the cash right now.

In this case, offering payment plans can really make a difference. Reducing the amount they have to pay right now will usually result in a spike in orders. 

You may also want to consider offering free or low-cost trials – or making constructive use of discounts and coupons. Whatever you can do to reduce the pain of parting with money will help conversions.

9. No Follow Up

Sometimes a prospect will be on the verge of buying your product when life gets in the way. The doorbell rings, or their phone battery goes dead. These abandoned carts can cost you a fortune, so you need to work hard at bringing these customers back.

Follow up relentlessly, and have systems in place to recover sales from abandoned carts. It’s estimated that around two thirds of sales are lost at the checkout – that’s a lot of money for you to recover!

10. Lack of Urgency

Finally, let’s talk about reasons to buy NOW!. Because of all the factors we have already discussed, potential buyers are often reluctant to pull the trigger and buy. They will postpone the decision, which typically means the sale is lost forever.

So make the most of whatever tactics you can to introduce urgency. Use deadlines to compel people to buy while they still have the opportunity, or limit quantities to introduce scarcity.

Going for Gold

Pay attention to all of the above, and you should be able to achieve marginal gains in every step of your funnel. Add these together, and you will have a system that allows prospects to glide easily through your checkout, adding all your upsells to their order as they go.

When you apply the principles of aerodynamic copywriting, you will be in a great position to see your sales truly fly. And that’s as good as a gold medal, any day of the week.

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