Copywriting Tutorial: How to Stop Hard-Earned Traffic from Bouncing & Turn it into Sales With This "Jargon" Busting Technique

Filed in Case Studies, Content, Copywriting by on September 5, 2016

We’ve all been there.

We set up a website, write the copy for different pages, publish some SEO-based blog posts… and then… crickets.

We’re getting traffic, but that traffic isn’t doing anything.

Well, it might be reading some posts and clicking around here and there… but it isn’t buying anything.

But since getting your traffic to buy is the entire point of a niche site, it’s a total disappointment.

You’ve followed everyone else’s advice and formulas for success, so it doesn’t make any sense why it’s all going wrong.

Why aren’t people buying?

Why aren’t they clicking on those call to action buttons that took you 45 minutes each to write the copy for and design?

And why the heck aren’t they at the very least signing up for your newsletter?

Let’s take a quick break so I can tell you you're not the only one with this problem.

I make the bulk of my money as a conversion-focused copywriter, and I get paid big bucks to solve this problem every single day.

And to put it briefly: I see this problem a lot. A lot a lot.

So much that you’d think there’d be a public service to help people solve this problem by now... it’s that much of an epidemic for online businesses.

And let me tell you something from my experience:

95% of the time, no one’s converting  on your website (into email subscribers or sales) because the language you've used isn't exciting.

Or worse the words you've used are basically meaningless and your audience can't see why they should pay attention to you.

Basically your traffic doesn't convert because our brains ignore jargon.

And don't just take my word for it:

Conversion expert Peep Laja  states "Cut the jargon. Clarity trumps persuasion always. Do not try to woo people with fancy, complicated business language – it just doesn’t work".

And Art Anthony, a UK based freelance copywriter, states "Readers hate jargon because they hate feeling stupid, and that’s how they’ll feel if they can’t get through your site without a dictionary."

But, ok, I know “jargon” is a really lofty term.

The word “jargon” is actually jargon itself, which is part of what makes it so dangerous.

Basically jargon is fancy words that are written to sound impressive but don't actually clearly convey what it is you're trying to say.

Leaving your customer scratching their head thinking "what the hell does this even mean" or worse "this sounds too complicated for me, I'm not interested".

And when that happens your traffic will bounce right off your site and go elsewhere.

Meaning you miss out on email subscribers and sales to name but a few things.

In this post, I’m going to show you exactly what jargon is, how to identify it on your own site, and exact steps to figure out what to say instead.

So the people who come to your site will actually do something.

So you'll have more visitors sticking around on your site, signing up for your newsletter, and buying what you’re selling.

I’ll also rely heavily on examples, since talking about theory only goes so far.

A handful of you in our NicheHacks Private Mastermind Group were kind enough to offer your sites to be on the chopping block for this post, so I’ll be using four of them as examples.

Ready to go?

 

 

What You’ll Learn

  • What jargon is.
  • An easy “litmus test” to identify jargon on your site.
  • An exercise to go through to figure out exactly what to say to replace the jargon.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

So… What is Jargon, Exactly? 

Most people hear the word jargon and immediately think of corporate jargon. You know, the words people in different industries use to talk about the work they do that make absolutely no sense to outsiders.

And that is one kind of jargon.

But it’s not exactly the stuff we’re concerned about in niche marketing.

Yes, you should obviously not have a sales page full of it, but as long as it’s niche-friendly, it’s not the worst thing in the world.

(Like on this site, for example, I’ll write “CTA” without spelling out “call to action” or explaining what it is. I know you guys already know that and I don’t want to waste your time.)

The jargon we’re talking about here, and the jargon that’s really dangerous, are intangible words.

The words and phrases that kind of have a dictionary meaning relevant to what you’re talking about, but aren’t actually that specific.

Words like:

  • Improvement
  • Productivity
  • Scaling
  • Innovation

Buzzwords, basically.

The kind of words and phrases that you can read, have a vague idea of what they mean, and get on with your day.

This type of jargon isn’t terrible for readers—they’ll know more or less what you’re talking about. But it’s horrible for you.

Readers will understand you, sure. But this jargon is expected and unexciting. And ultimately, ain’t nobody gonna stop and really read what you’re saying.

 

nobody

 

How to Identify Jargon on Your Site

Here’s the fun part: finding the jargon on your site that needs to be OFF you site.

The simple litmus test to identify jargon on your site is this: If a reader can’t vividly see what you mean with the words you've chosen, it’s jargon.

You’ll either have to completely remove yourself from your business or ask for brutal, honest feedback from people in your target audience to make it happen.

But if you've used a phrase like "scalable innovation," I can guarantee you you'll need to change it.

Bascially, vague concepts are jagon, and specific scenarios are not.

This sounds vague until you have it pointed out to you.

So let me point it out with two of our community members’ websites:

 

finance walk jargon

 

What are financial modeling videos? What are you modeling exactly? Why should I download them? Are they relevant to me?

Also, “a powerful career in finance” sounds nice, but what would it actually LOOK like for his prospects? “Powerful career” is definitely a jargon term we could get rid of and replace with something more specific and attention-getting.

 

orangeries jargon

 

Here I’ve drawn boxes around jargon phrases that really don’t do anything to pique my interest in continuing to read.

Anyone can claim they’re “number one” on the internet, and even the Google searches I did on the term “orangery” didn’t agree on exactly what an orangery was. (Plus, it doesn’t tell me how having an orangery would play out in my day-to-day life.)

Hint: Just because you know what a word means doesn’t mean your target audience does. Yes, they’re into your niche in some way, but keep in mind that they probably don’t live & breathe it 24/7. 

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

The Exercise to Rid Your Site of All Jargon & Lower Your Bounce Rate

In the section above, I told you that you could identify jargon on your site by picking out words and phrases that talk about a general subject, but don’t really spell out what it means for your audience’s life.

This exercise, as simplistic as it sounds, is to take the jargon phrase you identified, and start doing just that.

Write out the jargon phrase at the top of a sheet of paper, and write out specific situations (real or imagined) that you ideal audience member could easily imagine himself or herself in.

It sounds simple, but when you see these bits of text published on a website instead of the jargon, it’s instantly 1,000 times more interesting.

It gets people to stop skimming, read what you’re saying, and become attached to your website.

You might find yourself wading through some non-specific phrasing at first, but keep going and the gold will come.

For example, here's the phrasing I went through:

  • Financial Modeling Videos
    • Learn how to create financial models
    • Financial model = a representation of a real-world financial situation
    • Learn to create the financial models that’ll have your clients clamoring for investments
    • Learn to create the financial models that’ll have your clients clamoring for your investment advice
  • A Powerful Career in Finance
    • So you can stop desperately sending out your resume on LinkedIn & have all the top head-hunters coming after you
    • Take the salary you thought you could have as a financial advisor and double it
    • Handle the portfolios of the wealthiest investors in your city
  • Number One Installers
    • We guarantee you won’t have to call us back for a repair.
    • On third-party review sites, our competition gets 3 stars at best. We have 5 on every single one.
  • Orangeries
    • A room that lets you enjoy all the beauty of an outdoor garden without the sweltering heat.
    • A place to unwind and feel at one with nature… without feeling so “at one” with nature that you come back home with 20 new mosquito bites.

Do you see how these more specific situations are suddenly really interesting?

Like, way more interesting to a prospect than the original text?

So much so that you know people will keep scrolling to see what else it is you have to say?

 

Replacing the Jargon

Now’s the fun part: replacing your jargon with the new, highly specific text you’ve written.

Here's how I improved the finance website:

 

kjhg

Instead of just saying "Hey, I've got some free video for you," I used the text to tell what those free videos could do for my reader.

 

And the orangery website:

 

kjg

Instead of generic talk about being number one, I transported the reader into a desirable end-result scenario they can imagine themselves in.

 

See how the specific text is more powerful?

Even if you’re not in the target audience for these niches, you’re suddenly interested in what’s being offered, aren’t you?

Because who doesn’t want those specific things?

If you implement this strategy on your site, I can guarantee you’ll see longer on-page visits and fewer bounces.

 

A Couple More Examples

Two examples not enough for you?

Don't worry... there's more!

ewriting before

Let's look at the header of this website.

I'm assuming "eWriting & Digital Entrepreneurship" are what's written about on this blog. But to what end? Why should I both with this site on digital entrepreneurship and not one of the 3.5 million others on the exact same topic?

Not to mention the fact that the term "digital entrepreneurship" doesn't do anything to get my excitement and imagination going.

So let's go through that exercise I explained above:

  • Digital Entrepreneurship
    • Making money online
    • Not bothering with a commute or office politics
    • Having an unlimited earning potential
    • Setting my own hours
    • Working from anywhere with an internet connection

Using that brainstorm, here's a rewrite of the page:

ewriting after

 

Since the site's URL is "eWritingCourse.com", I kept the focus on writing in the headline.

But do you see how this headline still talks about web writing and digital entrepreneurship while also piquing your interest in what the author has to say?

(And let's be honest, with the original jargon-filled version, you probably weren't even curious.)

Here's another:

 

samrati before

 

I really wanted to look at this site to show just how effective more specific copywriting can be.

"Websites that convert" is already something this site's prospects can imagine in front of them. They know exactly what a website that converts would mean for their business.

But why not go ahead and tell them?

  • A website that converts
    • More sales, less work
    • A 50% lower advertising budget
    • Customers that sell themselves
    • Sales executives closing an average of 5 more leads every day
    • Fewer awkward cold calls

 

samrati after

 

Before, we were selling them on a secondary desire of a website that converts. Now we're selling them on deep-rooted human desires to make money and work less. (Which, by the way, is instantly more interesting to the human brain.)

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

Tell Us Some Jargon Phrases on Your Site

Now's the fun part.

Go to your home page and see how many jargon phrases you can identify. Remember, you're not looking for the niche-specific words that your audience will understand, but generic phrases that aren't specific.

What are some of the phrases that you find? How could you replace them with wording for a lower bounce rate?

If you liked the way this post helped you improve your on-site content, I'd highly suggest Stuart's Viral Content Hacks to help you take your blog posts and videos above and beyond what's expected too.

Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea has a background in journalism and IT, and besides writing for NicheHacks, she's the founder of Copy Power, a business and a website that helps business owners figure out how to get remembered online via copywriting.

She excels in the topic of SEO but can write on a wide range of topics of which you can discover by clicking on her name.

Comments (7)

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  1. Stefan says:

    I've opened this article from my rss reader to read some comments, but can't believe there are none yet.

    This is great topic! Chealsa, thanks for those examples!

    Content is ok, rankings are ok, traffic is ok, but content that converts is the king.. imho

  2. IGU Meerpur says:

    Exactly what I was looking for! I hope this works 🙂

  3. Indy says:

    Hi,

    Great tips chelsea.

    But sometimes it becomes very hard to entirely replace all the jargon. Lets say for a tech website related to web security.

    Any tips?

    Regrds
    Indy

  4. Hi Chelsea, I think that some companies still think that if they use jargon it will make them look unprofessional. I've always had trouble in convincing others that use a friendly language is the best approach. (And I'm not working in a niche. I talk about something that is for everyone.) I've come to a sense with some, but there's still a long way to go. Thanks for what you wrote!!