The view from here

Want effortless conversions? Rethink inertia.

By Zoë Courtman-Smith in Creative on June 23rd, 2016

Want effortless conversions? Think inertia.

As direct response marketers, we talk a lot about the best ways to get consumers to convert.

Naturally, there’s also a lot of hand-wringing about the obstacle between us and that goal, something we like to call inertia or the barrier to conversion.

But focusing on this resistance can start us down an anxious path: how can we overcome it? How do we push the customer over that barrier?

It helps to take another look at inertia. Here’s what we mean. You’ve got your standard definition of inertia, which is the state of being sluggish or inactive. But there’s another:

Inertia [in-ur-shuh] noun. The property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.

Now we see that:

  • Inertia isn’t just a state of rest
  • As such, it’s not always something you want to overcome

You know the old axiom: a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  So, looking at your consumer this way, you see it’s not only about overcoming resistance. In fact, that’s step 1.

1. Rethink resistance.

And start thinking velocity. So:

  • Instead of thinking you have to coax a stalled user into action, approach copy as a way to keep an already-moving person in motion.
  • Do this by considering the action they just took—opening your email, clicking your link—and priming them to continue by anticipating what they want next.

TIP: Think of each part of your copy as a springboard that builds on what came before and creates forward momentum.

Copywriting isn’t about overcoming consumer resistance. It’s about identifying the resistance you create and transforming it into momentum.

2. Don’t give ‘em anything to trip over. 

  • Know how your reader is getting to your content and why, then identify any resistance you’re creating at each step (e.g., confusing offers, boring subject lines, etc.).
  • Show them what they’re expecting as soon as they get there. Make sure the headline and copy aligns with whatever led them to you, even if that was your own subject line—and do it so nimbly they can skim and keep going.

TIP:  Before you add to your page, first subtract in your mind. Be clear on the main message, benefit or action they’ll want to take and remove everything else.

3. Get out of their way.

Make it so effortless that it feels like the customer led themselves to the click. This means taking you out of the equation.

  • Don’t slow them down with brand messaging they don’t care about. Or a headline that’s clever, but doesn’t speak to their need. Don’t make them stumble because your CTA is complicated or feels like a bait and switch.
  • In fact, remove everything that’s not about your customer and where they are at this moment.
  • And cut as many words as you can—including your sweet new tagline or that one phrase you really, really like. They don’t need it.

TIP: As you write each part of your copy, ask what you’d want to see next. Now read it: are you nodding as you go? That’s how you know.

  1. Rethink what inertia can mean for powerful copy and conversions
  2. Know what actions the user took to find your content, then remove stumbling blocks
  3. Think of each part of copy as a springboard that creates momentum, then get out of the way


It only takes a mental trick to write copy that propels your prospects more easily from content to conversion, and that’s rethinking resistance. Start thinking forward propulsion instead—and write each component of copy as a springboard that propels your prospect effortlessly from copy to the click.

Get to know the award-winning copywriters at BKV and how we use powerful words, psychological triggers and little-known tricks like this to compel your customers to convert—happily.

(Seriously. Come say hi.)
  • Todd Chambers

    Brilliant. Agree 100%. Understanding the customer’s journey, providing intuitive next steps and getting out of the way. It really can be that simple.