Intro to Conversion Copywriting, Product Messaging, Psychology, and Social Proof Review

Ashley Neal
7 min readOct 1, 2020


This article is part 2 of 12 reviewing the CRO Minidegree at the CXL Institute.

Photo credit: Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Complete review series. Read more! 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12

This week at the CXL Institute we took a deep dive into conversion copywriting, product messaging, people and psychology, and social proof. Each of these courses builds off of the lessons in the first two foundational courses (Intro to CRO and Best Practices) discussed last week. We also really get into the mind of the customer.

Intro to Conversion Copywriting

This course is taught by Peep Laja. He begins by sharing the fact that in general, the goal of text is used to either entertain or inform. While the goal of sales copy is to get people to take action (buy something, sign up for a newsletter, etc.).

The ‘secret sauce’ of an effective copywriting process in six steps:

  1. Research: customer, product, and competition.
  2. Outline and guideposts: homepage and product page
  3. Draft copy
  4. Conversion boost (optimize for clarity and information, add a persuasion technique)
  5. Revise, rearrange (get feedback from ideal customers before publishing)
  6. Test, Test, Test!

Value propositions

When explaining value propositions Laja states:

“Think of a value proposition as an offer,this is what you get.This is what you get if you give me money.”

He then goes on to outline that a value proposition is a clear statement that:

  • explains how your product/service improves their situation or solves customers’ problems (relevancy),
  • delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
  • tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you instead of from the competition (unique differentiation).
  • It is also very important to note that a value proposition is NOT a catchphrase, slogan, or positioning statement.


The purpose of microcopy is to reduce friction by either addressing visitors’ concerns or providing instructions.

Microcopy is extremely contextual, it answers very specific questions visitors have on the spot or in the moment.

Effective microcopy always:

  • Provides clarity, direction, and instruction
  • Provides confirmation and reassurance for user expectations and decisions
  • Keeps promises

To determine where microcopy may be needed on your website use user testing and analyze the website with your team.

Error messages use microcopy and the key for success is to clearly communicate exactly what went wrong and how to correct it.

Product Messaging

The response we seek from our customers every time! | Image credit: GIPHY

This course is taught by conversion copywriter Momoko Price. She begins the course with her “tear down” method for assessing web page copy.

Price combines three techniques to execute her “tear downs”:

1.ME Clabs’s Conversion Sequence Heuristic Formula addresses the probability of conversion based on your visitor’s expectations (motivation), how the offer is aligned with their expectations (value), and how much incentive is offered. This model also shows that it is vital to address any anxieties or fears that strongly resonate with your audience.

2. Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Persuasion

3. Claude Hopkins’s Scientific Advertising

Two Effective ways to collect data for product messaging

Price shares her strategy for message mining or the process of looking at customer reviews of your products or services to get a real picture or idea of why they use what you offer.

When message mining it is important to look for features that helped them make the decision to purchase from you. What problems your product solves for them. Note any fears they may have had also.

Another effective way to collect data is by using surveys.

Price notes that there should be two different surveys, one for visitors and another for repeat customers. Visitor surveys can highlight any problems they had before purchasing and repeat customers can help you understand what they love about doing business with you.

Price then moves on to value propositions, where she emphasizes this is the most influential element we as marketers can control.

When crafting your unique value proposition, always be targeting the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) customers, because essentially that is what most people are concerned about — themselves!

The building blocks for a unique value proposition:

  • What do your customers want?
  • What your product is/does?
  • What’s unique about your product?

Message Hierarchy

The message hierarchy consists of the following framework:


  • Desired outcomes
  • UVP pain points/problem
  • Purchase prompts


  • Unique benefits and advantages
  • Delightful product features
  • Deal breaker needs/requirements


  • Uncertainties
  • Objections
  • Perceived risks


  • Call to Action
  • Deliver the big payoff

Price notes that we must know our audience’s awareness level to determine how extensive the message flow needs to be.

In general, with low awareness, visitors are more problem aware and generally require more or longer copy to engage them. On the other hand, visitors with high awareness (i.e., returning customers) needless or shorter copy.

In the formatting and layout course, Price shares seven nuggets about design features that can dramatically increase your copy’s effectiveness:

  1. Position: We typically read in a pattern that resembles the shape of the letter ‘F’. We tend to look at the upper left-hand corner of the page first.
  2. Size: According to Fitt’s Law, the bigger/closer an object is the more noticeable it is.
  3. Order: Copy and visual elements need to be aligned so that the page can make sense to the customer
  4. Space/Noise: Reduce the clutter around your copy so that the customer can focus on your offer or CTA
  5. Topography: readable copy is essential to make sure the font is not too fancy and break down any “wall of text” into smaller chunks that are easier to read.
  6. Directional Cues: Incorporate directional cues (Eyes, fingers, arrows, etc.) to get customers to move forward
  7. Contrast: The colors we choose tell our visitors what to focus on. It is important to get this element right because it impacts our ability to read the text.

The course is concluded with an in-depth tutorial of how to wireframe your copy for developers. Price shares three tools for getting started: Balsamiq, Figma, and Sketch. This is an extra skill that can make things go a lot smoother for the whole team.

People and Psychology

Photo credit: Giphy

Learning how people think is essential to CRO. Laja kicks off this course with Robert Cialdini’s very well known 7 principles of persuasion:

  1. Reciprocity: Give away new free stuff (cheat sheets, guides, tools, etc.)
  2. Commitment/Consistency: Get people to commit with baby steps first (name and email address) to build up momentum to the bigger steps (address and payment).
  3. Social Proof: What does everyone else say about your product? Do they love it or hate it?
  4. Authority: People love authority figures use them to promote your brand
  5. Liking: How likable is your brand with your target audience?
  6. Scarcity: The perception that there is a limited time or quantity to purchase something
  7. Unity: What shared identity do you have with your customers?

Laja then goes on to discuss BJ Fogg’s Behavioral Model which indicates that actions only happen when customers are motivated and triggered at the right time.

In neuromarketing, we learn to place the focus on the customer, not ourselves. Our messages should be clear and simple addressing pain combined with high-quality visuals.

Social Proof

This quick course is taught by Joel Klettke. He highlights the main components of optimizing social proof and points out that it helps to reduce friction.

Klettke strongly recommends using case studies and testimonials to allow customers to self select themselves. Be sure to speak to their pain points and be as credible as possible.

Consider using video and audio testimonials to increase conversions. Finally, make sure that someone (or a few people) is assigned to monitor your social proof 24/7/365.

My Thoughts

Intro to Conversion Copywriting laid a strong foundation for the other courses that follow. I love the detailed articles and the number of links to other resources for further studying that are included.

Momoko Price’s Product Messaging course is worth its weight in gold! The five hours she spends sharing her ‘secret sauce’ is so worth it. In each lesson, she teaches engaging content, with links to the forms and templates (there are a ton of them!) that she uses for her own customers. She also walks you through how to use her amazing forms and templates! I also really like that she included how to wireframe your copy, this really helps to give a competitive edge! So far this course has been my favorite and the most valuable because of the resources that she included.

The People and Psychology course really share helpful insights as to how our minds really think. Peep Laja includes a Big List of Persuasion Techniques that is extremely big! The list has a wealth of very useful ideas to use. My only gripe is that the list is not available as a checklist or a cheat sheet resource for easy reference and future use. I will make my own and add to my CRO marketing toolbox.

Social Proof was very brief and to the point but there was value in the content Joel Klettke shared. I also wish that a course deck (slides) or other resources would have been provided for quick future reference. I did create my own.

So far I am thoroughly enjoying these courses! The content is extremely valuable and easy to digest.

Considering joining the top 1% of digital marketers in the world?

Check out more of my in-depth reviews of CXL Institute’s CRO Minidegree courses:

  1. Intro to CRO and Best Practices Review
  2. Intro to Conversion Copywriting, Product Messaging, Psychology, and Social Proof Review
  3. Neuromarketing, Emotional Content Strategy, Influence, and Interactive Design Review+
  4. Google Analytics for Beginners Review
  5. Landing Page Optimization, Conversion Research and Using Analytics to Find Conversions Review
  6. Google Tag Manager for Beginners, User Research, Fast and Rigorous User Personas Review
  7. Heuristics Analysis Frameworks for CO Audits, Google Analytics Audits, How to Run Tests
  8. Testing Strategies, Statistics for A/B Testing and A/B Testing Mastery Review
  9. Optimizing for B2B, Customer Value Optimization, Digital Psychology, and Behavioral Design Training Review
  10. Advanced Experimentation Analysis and Applied Neuromarketing Review
  11. How to Design, Roll Out, and Scale an Optimization Program; Evangelizing for Optimization in Enterprise Review
  12. Building Your Optimization Technology Stack and CRO Agency Masterclass Review



Ashley Neal

Queen👑of CRO💖 Conversion Rate Optimization Let's make even more money!