Let’s be honest. A sexy, professional-looking web site is good for you and your Company.
It makes you feel confident and proud of what you have achieved. And it helps to position your Company as sophisticated and ‘industry-leading’ , or maybe as ‘trendy’ and aspirational. But be honest with yourself – is the following also true? …
Whilst it looks good, it has precious little impact on your sales process. It generates little or no enquiries, even though you know quite a few people are visiting the site. And you’re left with the vain hope that maybe the situation will miraculously improve over the coming year!
You and I both know that to change your results, you need to change the site.
BUT HOW? What’s the missing ingredient or secret? Why isn’t it working when it looks so good?
Well the web site answers you’ve been looking for are right under your nose.
Think for a minute. Over 90% of business users of the net are looking for information. They are doing their homework and searching for answers and potential partners and suppliers.
You know that visitors to your site have not found you by accident. They haven’t just stumbled across your site! So what’s the key?
The key is to get out of your own ego, and get into the ego of the prospects who are visiting your site. Put yourself in their shoes. Get into their mind-set. They’re not interested in you, or your Company, and they’re certainly not going to suddenly make an enquiry just because your site looks the part!
Think about the typical scenarios your prospects find themselves in. What are their frustrations and likely challenges? What are the typical problems they want solving?
Change the focus of your web site and you’ll change the fortunes of your results.
AND THE WAY YOU CHANGE THE FOCUS, IS WITH YOUR WEB SITE HEADLINES AND COPY.
The Marketing ‘Gold Standards’ for compelling, response generating web copy…
Take a look at these 10 proven keys to powerful web copy, and ask yourself how you can apply them to your own site.
1. Connect with readers immediately
What is their mind-set when they arrive on your Home Page? Speak to their concerns. Answer their questions. Value their time.
Key into their thoughts by using a number of benefit-led or question-type headlines. Show them that you understand where they are coming from and you recognise the issues they are facing.
After you write a page, sit back and ask yourself, “ Do my readers really care?” If the answer is “ probably not,” rewrite the headline to make them take notice. Change the content to focus more on their problems. Remember, your readers are bright, impatient, and secretly asking themselves “ What’s in this for ME?”
2. Use proven techniques for good persuasive writing
Perhaps you’ve been given lots of important copy by your technical or product managers. And now you’re trying to wrestle the content into shape? Force yourself to follow these five tenets. Yes, it takes work, but you’ll be surprised at the improvement in your copy.
Capture attention. What’s the most compelling aspect of your message? Put it first.
Hold interest. Reward your readers with meaningful, need-to-know information.
Answer questions. Figure out the questions readers are asking. Answer them!
Anticipate and overcome objections. Be persuasive. Provide full details. Reassure with evidence, case studies and testimonials. You know the objections to whatever it is you’re promoting, selling, explaining. Don’t avoid addressing them.
Compel some form of action. Provide lots of reasons why they should act (soft offers and hard offers), and then tell them precisely what to do.
3. Write in the first or second person
Make it personal. Speak directly to your readers, involve them, as in these examples:
You have training needs. You have limited budgets. How do you get the best results?
What percentage of your installation contracts actually completed on time?
Why I decided to dedicate a whole year to researching your problem customers.
What’s your opinion? Web site? Or website?
And, please, avoid that aloof, disinterested, third-person voice:
At our company, it has always been our guiding philosophy to provide our valued customers…
4. Use the right tone
Your company has a personality. So should your Web site. Capture the essence of your organization in your copy. Use an authentic voice that connects and resonates with your readers. It can be persuasive, humorous, warm, reassuring, controversial, informed, explanatory….
Figure out what’s appropriate—and work hard at communicating it. Your readers will notice, and they’ll stay longer on your site.
5. Use a “greased chute” style
As with a newspaper article, put the most important information first. Once you’ve captured attention, progressively disclose more and more detail. Use questions, links and architecture for secondary depth.
Remember, your readers are skimming, skipping, darting. Catch them with multiple, shorter ideas, then lead them to detailed information as they require.
6. Write in self-contained, clearly labeled blocks
Put important information in headlines, subheads and short bulleted or numbered lists. Then assume this is the only content your readers will read. Can they absorb sufficient reasons from this to take some form of action?
7. Write so readers can scan
Write short sentences. Just like that. And keep paragraphs short without sacrificing depth of content. (Aim for 30-50 words each).
Make every word count! Distil and edit out fluffy phrases. Replace weak verbs and vague nouns. If you don’t really know what you’re trying to say, neither will your readers.
8. Apprehend suspicious sentences
Take personal responsibility for each of your sentences. Don’t just paste in chunks of supplied copy to speed up the process. Strip out the pointless superlatives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, and dependent clauses. Examine your remaining subject and verb. What, exactly, have you communicated?
Our unique systematised reusable content template provides an extensible methodology for communicating key marketing messages consistently and coherently.
Stripped down to the core benefit, this means: Our template speeds up content management …. Don’t let this kind of writing anywhere near your site! Replace vagueness with specifics, and generalisations with examples.
9. Be consistent
Consistency helps readers navigate. And it helps comprehension of your core message. Repetition of key terms is fine. Don’t feel obliged to use unnecessary synonyms because you’re worried about repeating yourself.
If, for instance, you’re discussing principles, don’t later call them rules. If you’re writing about cosmetic surgery, don’t refer to it later as aesthetic surgery. You risk confusing, irritating or stalling readers.
10. Finished? OK – Now read your copy aloud!
Become the voice-over for your copy. Read it with drama and flair. It should have natural, pleasing rhythm.
Did you trip over any words, phrases or sentences? If so, rewrite them or remove them.
Are you adding emphasis where none is actually indicated in the copy? Perhaps then, you’ve buried something important? Rethink the content you are emphasising as you read it aloud. Does it belong in a more prominent position, such as a sidebar, bulleted list or subhead?
Would you agree that involving, interactive copy is easy to read, but often hard to write? But without doubt it’s the single most important and fastest way you can transform the results and ROI you see from your online marketing investment.
P.S. Remember, the business definition of insanity is to carry on marketing the same way but expecting different results.
Why not call me now on 01692 538800, (or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s have a chat about your web site’s effectiveness – it won’t cost you a penny. And together, we may just throw some much-needed light on a route to dramatically improved results from your web site.