Conversion Copywriting Guide: Transactional vs. Relational Buyers

There are two broad categories of visitors to your site. Understanding them will make you a better at conversion copywriting. You’ll deliver copy, offers and landing pages that perform.
By “better” I mean “money generating” or “lead generating.” Interested?
We recently completed a test for one of our clients that generated a 42% lift in leads for them simply by analyzing the kind of buyer that was coming.
We can find these kinds of wins for your business. Do you want our help?
Roy H. Williams of the Wizard Academy introduced these two buyers to me: Transactional and Relational.
Transactional buyers are those whose greatest fear is paying one dollar too much for something. They are the competitive shoppers. They love the shopping experience and will visit many stores and sites in search of bargains.
They want to be the expert.
They aren’t loyal to any brand or outlet, but seek the best price du jour.
On a landing page, these buyers are enticed by offering coupons, deals and discounts.
Relational Buyers’ greatest fear is buying the wrong thing. They see shopping as part of the cost of the purchase.
They seek out expert help, and will pay a premium for trusted guidance.
They rely on brands to help them make choices.
These buyers are drawn to assurances of quality, ratings and reviews, and information to help them choose.

Does Your Audience Lean Transactional or Relational?

Like Republicans and Democrats in the US, your visitors may naturally lean to one side or the other. You may even have an extreme “Tea Party” transactional audience or a “Bleeding Heart” relational audience. Testing is one way to find out.
Here’s an example. Laithwaites sells wine online. They did a test that took the exact same offer and presented it in relational and transactional ways.

Relational buyers care more getting a good wine than getting a good deal on wine.

This split test shows that more wine buyers prefer a good wine to a good deal on wine. They are relational buyers.

In their case, they found that the transactional message, leading with “Save $100 on 12 World-Class Reds” didn’t perform as well as the relational message that started with “Enjoy 12 World-Class Reds…”.
Laithwaites apparently has a relational audience, or the ad that drove traffic here made an offer with relational appeal.
Roy Williams makes another important point. Transactional shoppers are the least profitable of them all. They hunt relentlessly for your lowest price and don’t come back if they find something cheaper. We prefer not to optimize for these “LMLLV,” or “Low Margin, Low Lifetime Value” visitors.
If most of your advertising offers discounts, deals and coupons, you may be leaving your most profitable buyers behind.

Simple Copy Changes Can Make All the Difference

Our client sells home furnishings, and the offer was an on-site visit and consultation.
The best performing search ads for this client offered discounts, like “Now 20% Off – Save up to $100 on Advanced.”
However, the landing pages featured reasons to buy the product and benefits of the brand. This is a relational approach. The highest performing ads, however, are clearly transactional, offering discounts and savings.
Our hypothesis was that the landing page copy wasn’t appealing to the transactional shoppers the ad was drawing. The page didn’t keep the visitor on the scent.
To test our hypothesis, we created a “Transactional” landing page that emphasized the savings, and reinforced that the consultant would be able to offer even more savings.
The headline was changed from

FREE Design Consultation and Installation

Take the stress out of shopping


In Home Manufacturer Discounts

Our Certified Designers can offer you $100 off each unit you purchase.

This shifted the headline from a relational consultation to inviting someone into your home who can dole out the savings – very transactional.
We also added some additional copy touches that appeal to transactional shoppers. “Combine Discounts,” proclaimed one bullet. “Limited time only,” chirped another.
These changes gave us a 42% jump in conversions.
Let us design some tests for your business and draw more revenue from your existing traffic. We offer a free strategy session to help you map out our own optimization roadmap.

Brian Massey
4 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] found that ads offering 20 percent off and $100 off generated the most clicks. These are clearly transactional buyers. We designed our landing page to match the offers and doubled down on the ad spend. We saw a 40 […]

  2. […] buyer as someone who is poised to take action. These are our spontaneous buyers, more likely to be relational than transactional. They may not be impulsive in life, but are behaving in their spontaneous mode on your site right […]

  3. […] written about relational versus transactional buying behaviors before. Did you tune us out? Just like a man, amiright […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *