Copy or Design: The Secret to What Sells

Picture this.

It’s Taco Tuesday — your favorite day of the week. You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and come across an ad from the new taco place in town. The food looks delicious, but it’s the way they describe it that sends you over the edge. That pop of sauce, the hint of spice, coupled with the gooeyness from the cheese — all things you love about Taco Tuesday.

Now, imagine that same Taco Tuesday. You see a different ad from a taco shop pop up on your feed. However, this ad’s description is fairly generic. Nothing about the copy makes you think, “This is what I want,” and you pass it up. The next day at the office, your coworker tells you about the amazing tacos they got last night from that same taco shop. They sound exactly like what you wanted, but now you have to wait until next week to satisfy your taco craving.

Words matter. 

Just like our Taco Tuesday example, copy needs to connect with its audience. Whether you’re marketing tacos or the latest tech innovation, the better you tell, the more you sell. Today we’re sharing the secret to what sells: copy!

Copy or Design: What Sells?

When your audience comes across your website after a Google search, they’re looking for answers to the questions that led them there. If they don’t find answers or your message is confusing, they’ll leave your site and find another one with clearer copy. 

You have to give them your best 30-second pitch to get them interested. You should know that your target audience has specific needs, wants, and desires. Targeting those needs with copy is how you set the hook.

Design is essential to copy because it can make your story come to life when done properly. However, copy sets the stage for design. You’ve heard the saying before, “A picture says a thousand words.” But you also need to make sure the picture is paired with the right words when marketing your product or service.

For instance, if you’re about to invest a lot of money into a new truck, what drives that decision — the commercial or pictures of a large truck driving through the beautiful mountains of Colorado or its features and benefits when compared to the other truck you’ve been eyeing? 

Copy is the final arbiter when it comes to most purchases.  

What’s the Data Say?

Still not convinced? We found some interesting data that shows good copy wins out over good design.

Since 2009, the software company Unbounce has been producing landing pages for websites. A study from Unbounce in late November looked at “36,928 English language page variants active between March 2019 and March 2020.” It focused on whether copy or design was more important to a landing page’s success:

“We took snapshots of these landing pages and trained various image-based learning models to predict their conversion rates. To evaluate copy, we extracted the written content of each landing page. We trained a machine-learning model (or, to get a lil nerdy, a deep learning-based natural language model) to predict conversion rates from the copy of each page.”

Unbounce used a predictive model across nearly 37,000 pages to show the “relative importance of design” and “relative importance of copy.” 

They found that copy had twice the relative importance compared to design.

They also went a step further and broke their relative importance down by industry, which yielded similar results. You can see the breakdown by industry here.

We’re not saying design doesn’t matter — it matters a lot! But it goes hand in hand with copy. You pay attention to a business card, pamphlet, flyer, brochure, or website because it catches your eye. But the copy keeps your attention.

Strong copy will help influence customers’ buying decisions. Copy persuades and directs your audience on the next steps they must take, which is called a conversion. The conversion or end goal is up to you, and it can look like making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or responding to a call to action.

Find the balance between design and copy, but remember that copy is king

Focus on the details and keep your elevator pitch clear, concise, and interesting. Keep the question, “What’s in it for me?” in the back of your mind. Selling through telling is the way to grow.

Like any skill, a learning curve is involved in good copywriting, and it requires a lot of practice and refinement. Our copywriters at Sigl Creative are always here to help you craft a message that persuades customers to invest in your product or service. Schedule a call today, and our team will create and execute the perfect marketing strategy that combines persuasive copy and eye-catching design to bring you business.       

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