Writing Effective Copy For Your Website

 

Speaking To Your Customers In A Language They Understand

 

If customers visit your website or read an advertisement and they don't know exactly what you do and the unique value you offer them, in 8 seconds or less, you have lost them. That's quick.

 

Now you understand the importance of clearly understanding your company's objectives, goals and what you offer your customers, that sets you apart from the competition, as discussed in the first article.

 

In the second article, we discussed how to identify who your customers are, define the benefits versus features, and determine the message that will capture the attention of your customers.

 

In this last of three articles, I will give you tips on writing effective copy.

 

Copy needs to inform, have relevance to the customer, create trust and a sense of security, honour privacy, describe your unique value to them, and motivate them to take an action and come back. It needs to relate to each customer in a language they understand.

 

First you need to capture their attention. Once they see you offer information they're looking for and can meet their need, they will read further.

 

Outlined below are 10 helpful tips in writing effective copy:

 

  1. Write as if you are speaking to each individual. People want to know you are speaking directly to them. That your product will help them out, not Mrs. Harris down the street.
  2. Sales is a transfer of confidence. People need to feel confident before making a decision. If they don't, they will walk out the door and find someone else who understands them. If you feel they are lacking confidence, rather than pushing features and statistics at them, ask them what they're looking for and confirm you understand. If they are still on the fence, you are most likely missing a piece of information that is important to their decision.
  3. Don't promise more than you can give - People have been exposed to everything these days. Nothing shocks or surprises them anymore. They are used to hearing the regular 'big sale today' catch phrases and are tired of it. People want to hear the truth and straight facts.
  4. Give the information, no flashy stuff - People visit web sites for information. Flash, big pictures and moving items take time to download and prohibit people from finding the information they're looking for. Unless you own a video game company where people expect to find cool features, they are simply looking for information.
  5. Don't assume they know anything - Make sure you provide the information for all types of people. There will be people who know about your product already and there will be others who don't know a thing because it's their first time at purchasing your product. Give all the information. That's the great thing about web sites - there is plenty of space to provide as much information as is necessary.
  6. Always keep them moving forward - In a web site, and in the purchase process, you want to ensure you answer your customers' needs and questions satisfactorily at each point so they continue to move forward in the purchase process. You don't want them stepping backward to re-consider what was already discussed. On your web site, provide a link to the next step, the next piece of information you know they are looking for. Don't just leave them hanging expecting they'll know where to go next.
  7. Make important information stand out - As mentioned above, put the important information you want people to notice in bold, so they see it in 8 seconds or less on each page. Surprise them with catchy headlines and phrases to peak their interest so they will want to read further.
  8. Show the most popular information first - If you offer 40 products but 5-10 are your top sellers, shows those products first. There is a reason those sell best to your customers. Of course your other products are still available to browse through, or offer a search tool, for the people that want to do more research until they feel confident about their decision or for those who are looking for something different.
  9. Build trust and credibility - With spam and other privacy issues that are prevalent today, people want to know you can be trusted, especially if you ask them to share information. If you have a contact form or people are required to provide personal information when conducting an online purchase, assure them, each step of the way, that you respect their privacy (give a link to your privacy policy), that you will not share their information with anyone else, and that your web site is secure. Then ensure you are credible in what you tell them. Don't give their information to other companies. Always back up your policies. People see right through companies that don't withhold their promises. You don't want that kind of word-of-mouth advertising. Word travels very quickly these days through email, blogs and chat rooms.
  10. Write simple - The average reading level is grade six. This also corresponds with number 5 above. Don't assume they know your industry jargon because it will confuse them.

 

Lastly, test everything. Measure the success of your advertising campaigns, the effectiveness of your sales team and review your web site statistics to see if customers are converting online or leaving the site. Ask your customers how you are doing, what you can improve on, or what else they would like to know. There will always be changes to be made unless you are converting 100% of people that walk through your door or who visit your web site.

 

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