Is design hurting or helping your copy?

As a copywriter, I don’t often talk about design. I prefer to leave that to the design experts. However, I can’t ignore (and neither should you) that design does influence the effectiveness of the copy we use. Because…

When copy and design are aligned, your visuals can easily enhance emotional connection and reinforce key points.

When they aren’t?

Visuals can (unintentionally) distract from, contradict, or compete with conversion-critical messages.

In my experience, choosing copy-enhancing imagery isn’t difficult once you understand how to translate underlying messages into visual criteria for your designs.

I’ll show you.👇

Let’s look at a real-world example from one of my client projects. I’ll walk you through you a proposed hero section and explain how I let the messaging lead my mockup design choices.

Transcript:

When it comes to copy and design, your visuals are either enhancing or hurting your copy and, as a result, your conversions.

Hi, I’m Paige from The Impact Copywriter, and I specialize in helping founders and marketers boost their conversion rates by focusing specifically on the marketing messages that they use to reach their ideal buyers.

I don’t often talk about design. That’s because I’m a copywriter, and I prefer to leave the design to the design experts.

But we can’t ignore the fact that design does influence the effectiveness of your copy.

I do find that I am consulting on this more and more – especially when I see that the design of a sales page, landing page, or website has negative implications for the copy that I proposed.

This is best Illustrated with an example, so let’s look at one.

This example comes from one of my clients who’s an eating psychology coach. Together we collaborated on a new variation for her coaching page, which we approach like a sales page for her website. This is the approved copy for the new sales page (i.e. the new service page) for the hero section.

Let’s just focus on the copy for a second, so you get a feel for what this section is about.

We start with the pre-header to match any keywords that are relevant. “Eating psychology coaching” is you know matching the link that people click on and describing what this page is about. Then we have a headline that focuses on the ultimate outcome of what her ideal buyers are truly looking for when they seek her out for eating psychology coaching or nutritional help. They want to find a way to love the body they live in.

This looks different for many people. It might be about weight loss. It might be about healing gastrointestinal issues. And there are other use cases that her clients come to her for. But what unifies them together is this idea or a deep desire to love the body they live in. So that was my concept for the main headline. This is a positive emotion. We’re talking about love, so this should invoke positive feelings.

We also have a supporting subhead here that says:

“When self-care has taken the back seat for too long, I’ll help you find your way back to health and happiness. In this one-of-a-kind nutritional coaching program, you’ll learn to rebuild healthy eating habits make peace with your inner voice and love yourself at every level.”

I want you to understand here that this is more than just about the mechanics of eating healthy, like nutritional habits. There’s also the psychological element to it. It’s about your relationship with food not just “eat this, don’t eat that.” That’s important to understand, and you’ll see why here in a second.

Now look at this just plainly. There’s no image here. It’s just center text on a colored background. So that’s the effect it’s having with no visuals.

Now let’s look at the mock-up that I created. I just added an image of a woman eating pudding or yogurt or something like that.

When I was going through and choosing the image, I was very intentional about the image I chose because I wanted it to enhance the copy around it.

Here’s why I chose this specific image:

1.) This being a woman is reflective of the ideal buyers or the majority of the types of clients that my client was attracting.

Her clients were predominantly women within an age range that matches this image. So this image is in line with who we know my client is resonating with.

2.) It conveys a positive emotion.

Look, she’s smiling. She looks happy, and that matches the positive emotion of the copy in the headline which is talking about deserving to love the body you live in.

3.) Not only is she eating and looking happy while doing it, which is in line with what we want for our ideal buyer, she’s also eating something that’s not a health food.

So this is a really subtle message, but I knew it was a core part of my client’s philosophy, that the way she helped people heal their relationship with food, that no food was either good or bad. No food is criminalized.

It was important to me when choosing an image of someone eating that they weren’t eating salads or juices or something like that.

I also knew based on VOC data that was a pain point for the ideal buyers. They were tired of having to only eat salads. And they had these misconceptions that to be healthy they had to like barely eat anything and only eat greens or do these you know ridiculous juice cleanses that had them sitting on the toilet for several hours a day. So healthy foods were a pain point.

Because a core part of my client’s philosophy is that no food is bad, I chose this image because she was happy, she was eating, and she was eating something that wasn’t considered a health food.

4.) She’s looking at what I want her to look at, which is the copy.

Studies have shown that when you have an image with a person and their eye path is looking at the thing that you want them to look at, typically conversions are higher than when their eye path is looking directly at the viewer. I really like this image because her eye path was pointing directly at the headline.

As you can see from this example, these are really easy ways you can start to look at your copy and figure out what characteristics you need for your visuals, so that you choose background images and other types of visuals that enhance the meaning, message, and emotions in the copy that you’re using – with the goal of hopefully increasing conversions

And as always…

If you’re looking for a copywriting partner who looks at more than just the words, let’s chat.

Click here to start a project conversation with me.

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