How to Write Copy for a Subscription Website That Sells

Subscribers will teach you through their actions, how to write copy that will convert.

how to write copy

Not everyone joins your site for the same reason. In fact, what motivates people to join may surprise you. That is one reason why marketers should learn how to write copy with a strong positioning statement that delivers emotional satisfaction, makes a good first impression, and uses words that drive the brain to take action.

Some people will join your subscription site because they feel your information is novel or revolutionary and they like to be “in the know.”

Some people will join because they perceive you and the content you provide as being dependable and reliable.

Some people will join because they believe they’re getting a good deal—the price is right.

Why do your subscribers want to get their information from you and prefer your content over some other site? Think about this in the context of the other purchases you make regularly.

We all buy things to fill emotional needs and desires that we’ve been developing all of our lives. We buy things, including information, not for what they are in themselves, but for what they symbolize.

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How to write copy that delivers emotional satisfaction

We all have a need to feel taken care of. How many things do you buy to fill that need?

Every purchase is a symbol for emotional satisfaction. Buying decisions are emotional commitments to gratifying perceived needs and desires that we are often unaware we’re having.

It’s been said that we feel 30,000 times faster than we act. And act 30,000 times faster than we think.

In order to be an effective marketer, you need to understand how people make decisions — how they behave, how they feel, and what they perceive. Your potential subscriber is receiving sensory data from your website. Their conscious minds pick up the colors, the organization, the graphics, etc.

In a print ad, up to 75 percent of buying decisions are made as a response to the headline alone. If those few words don’t work, it doesn’t matter what’s in the body copy.

In TV commercials, the buying decision is usually made in the first three to four seconds. What happens after that doesn’t matter.

It’s the same with your subscription website. If it doesn’t make a good first impression, you don’t get a second chance.

How to write copy that makes a good first impression

Did you ever make a purchase, then tell someone about what a great buy you made? How you needed it? How it was a terrific deal? Aren’t you really justifying the decision with rationalization — not explaining or informing, but defending what you wanted to buy? That’s what the conscious mind does. We all do it. That’s how most buying decisions are made.

Now how do you define your website’s subscribers? Let’s assume three types of buyers, whose self-perceptions define how they pursue the vital gratifications of life.

First, there are those who prefer to interact with other people and enjoy socializing. They are likely to be in sales, teaching, acting, pro sports, working with people, etc. These are tactile customers. They are attracted to fads. They like things that are new and revolutionary. If you’ve just launched a new digital subscription to your magazine, they want in. They want to be the first to decide if they love it (or hate it.)

The second category derives emotional gratification from dealing with inanimate objects. These are neutral customers. They love to interact with data or things and they need to perceive that what your site is providing is dependable. They are typically people who work in accounting, data processing, research, banking, and engineering. They don’t want new and revolutionary. They want tested, reliable, proven and depersonalized.

In order to sell to them, you need to appeal to them in the ways they feel gratified. Reliability and predictability are very high criteria. They often ask, “Who else bought from you?” What are the reviews of your subscription site? They often want mountains of data to reinforce the buying decision. These are traditional buyers and a good deal is their rational armament.

The third type of customer derives their gratification from interacting with themselves. This is a withdrawal customer, typically an entrepreneur. When an entrepreneur has to deal with an employee problem, they typically say, “Why don’t they leave me alone and deal with it themselves?” They want control but not involvement.

How to write copy using words that drive the brain

Certain words will trigger a response in the unconscious mind of the experimental customer. Other words will trigger a response in the transitional or the traditional customer. You need to know how to write copy with the right words, and use them in your sales promotion copy.

Experimentals need to hear the words new, revolutionary, state-of-the-art, and innovative. If your potential subscriber is a transitional, the words proven, tested, reliable, and dependable, will trigger a response. If your potential subscriber is traditional, the words cost-effective, low price, and great value do it.

Now you need to create a positioning strategy for your website. If the unique selling proposition (USP) appeals to the unconscious mind, the positioning statement is the bridge to the conscious mind. That mind needs more precision and needs to know what your subscription provides in more literal terms. The positioning statement expands and explains the promise in the USP in more down-to-earth language. You need this statement for your landing page and other advertising.

Easiest: Tell what your subscription website does:

From knitted dishcloth patterns to how to knit mittens to knitted afghan patterns, it’s all in I Like Knitting.

The second method reveals what you offer followed with a result you can achieve by joining:

Now you can enjoy exciting, exclusive, designer knitting patterns to set your work apart from everyone else’s.

The third method repositions what you sell in the mind of the potential subscriber:

If you like knitting, you’ll love our projects!

The fourth method builds on the second and third, refining the offer, adding a gratifying result, and telling the potential subscriber how you’re going to get the result:

Get the newest, best and completely exclusive designer knitting patterns and tutorials from the masters of knitting. Get access to carefully edited knitting designs that allow you to achieve professional results.

The fifth method, used in conjunction, creates anxiety in the potential customer:

Have you ever been frustrated by mistakes in those knitting patterns that caused you to unravel all your hard work? Are you looking for better, easier-to-follow instructions and clearer graphics?

Now integrate the USP and the positioning statement with everything you know about your most likely subscribers.

Taken together, these could be the most important words you ever write because they get right to the heart of the business you’re in and what you’re offering with your subscription website.

These few sentences position you in the mind of your potential subscriber, and they become an essential ingredient in your marketing strategy. They define your business in your potential subscriber’s mind. These words help differentiate your subscription website in the mind of your subscribers from every other Portal, Magazine or Newsletter subscription website.

Do you feel like you now know more about how to write copy for a subscription website? What other questions do you have? 

Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.

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