While a beautiful design, intuitive navigation and strong calls to action are important elements in a lucrative website, the copy itself is ultimately what “sells” your product or service.
Too often people place very little importance on the text of their website and as a result they get lackluster results. And let’s face it… writing copy for your own website isn’t fun for most of us.
We may be passionate and excited about our business, but putting into words what we do and why we’re the best at it can be very difficult and overwhelming. And that’s exactly why many of our clients put it off, procrastinating until the last possible second to get it done.
Content is King
The fact is that we cannot build a website WITHOUT content. Our clients must write and furnish their own text or hire a professional copywriter instead. Paying a professional to write the verbiage that will appear on your website is wise, but many of our clients don’t want to do that for whatever reason. The purpose of this article is to provide assistance with this difficult task. We’ve taken the mystery out of how to write copy that is concise, persuasive and effective.
Before you dive into writing the text itself, it’s important to understand the fact that all effective website copy involves psychology. Website copy that sells products and/or services is persuasive. It engages the audience and invites them to participate with you in the sales process. It piques their interest and compels them to delve deeper into the site. Then it motivates them to take action.
The following bullet points describe the attributes of effective website copy. It will help you better understand what good copy looks like and how it is put together. It will also help you get in the right frame of mind before you start writing.
Persuasive Online Copy that Sells:
Should be compelling, easy to read & brief enough to fit on one web page without much scrolling.
- Use bulleted lists and short sentences and paragraphs.
- Use content that will grab their attention so they will stay on your site and look around.
Explains benefits of doing business with you instead of getting caught up in features.
- What can your product or service do for those visiting the site right now?
- How can it save them time or money?
- How can it make their life easier, less stressful or more enjoyable?
- Don’t bore potential customers with too many details they won’t care about.
- Eliminating PAIN or providing PLEASURE (the two motivations for every purchasing decision) trump an extensive list of features every time.
Uses killer headlines to grab visitor attention.
- You have 3-5 seconds to get peoples’ attention; use that time wisely.
- Divide your pages into short paragraphs with headlines that grab visitor attention and explain what to expect in the next sentences.
- Use the most persuasive words in the English language: You, money, save, results, health, easy, love, discovery, proven, new, safety, guarantee, free, yes, fast, why, how, secrets, sale, now, power, announcing, benefits, solution.
- Focus on the customer and not on yourself… make sure you use “you” more than “I” or “we.”
Engages the emotions of the reader and compels them to take immediate action.
- EVERY purchase that is made involves the emotions of the person buying the product or service.
- Effective, persuasive website copy should provoke an emotional response that motivates the reader to contact you and begin the sales process NOW, not later.
Tells visitors what to do.
- At the end of your content tell your visitors what to do next, for example, “Click here to order now for immediate delivery,” or “Request a free price quote now.”
- Without a clear and persuasive call-to-action they will NOT buy from you.
Practical Advice for Page-Specific Content
The sections below make up the most common pages of content you will find on commercial websites. Answer the corresponding questions to get the creative juices flowing and produce the raw material from which the polished copy will come. If you have hired a professional copywriter to write your website text then providing them with your answers to the following questions will help them produce effective content as well.
- What do you want to communicate about your company in 3-5 seconds? (That’s actually all you have)
- What do you do?
- How do you do it better than your competitors?
- Why should the visitor stay on your site?
- What’s in it for your visitors to browse deeper into your website than the home page?
- What pain does your product or service alleviate?
- What pleasure does your product or service provide?
- What date did the business open or how long have you been in business?
- How did your business get its start? What was the founder’s inspiration?
- What background, including training, education or experience, do your employees have that relates to this business?
- Does your company have any industry certifications or have you received any noteworthy awards?
- Who are the owners and what should we know about them?
- What makes you different from your competitors (if you aren’t including this elsewhere)?
- Do you specialize in anything specific, or provide products/services that are unusual in your industry?
- Do you use any specialized or state-of-the-art technology or equipment in your business that demonstrates a commitment to being the best at what you do?
- Does your company invest in its employees by implementing a Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP) to make sure you’re offering the very best to your customers?
- Do your employees read trade magazines or attend conferences to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your industry?
- Are you committed as an organization to education and ongoing self-improvement so you stay at the top of your field?
- Does your company contribute financially or through volunteerism to charitable organizations in your local area to give back to the community? If so, why and what motivation inspires that kind of altruism? Is this a top-down kind of thing or is every member of your team committed to it?
- What is their name?
- What is their job title?
- When did they start working with your company?
- What specific functions/tasks/duties do they do in their position? (Think “job description” with concise bullet points)
- What special skills or talents do they bring to the table that benefits your customers?
- What one thing do you most appreciate about them (i.e. their cheerful disposition and consistently positive attitude, or the fact that they make a point of remembering each repeat customer’s name)?
- Do they have any unique hobbies or interests that your visitors might enjoy reading about?
- Do they do any volunteer or charity work that demonstrates a desire to give back to the community?
- Have they been recognized by your company or industry in some special way that’s worth mentioning?
- What products/services do you provide?
- Are you selling any products or services that your competitors are not?
- Why should someone buy your product/service? (What is your Unique Selling Position; what makes it better than your competitors?)
- Describe your products/services in detail, including prices if appropriate.
- How do your products/services specifically solve the problems of your target market/audience? What pain does it alleviate or what pleasure does it provide?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What are the most common questions your customers repeatedly ask?
- Ask whoever interacts with them regularly to start keeping track, if they aren’t already, and make a list.
- Write up a page of FAQs from this content that you can refer customers to and make sure to keep this content fresh as patterns change over time.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of pages your site may require, but it’s a good starting point and should help you get the ball rolling. Happy writing!