It’s estimated that by 2021, any business who doesn’t have a website is going to be as good as dead- regardless of whether they can operate as normal or not, per government-mandated regulations.
So now that’s out of the way- while you obviously need a website, you also need copy that actually works. It can’t just be a placeholder- it has to lead your website visitors on to the next step, whatever you intend for that to be:
Do you want them to buy online?
Call you or a member of your sales team?
Place an order?
Join your mailing list?
Because it’s nice to refer people to a professional-looking, modern website, but without the right message you’re missing out on a tonne of potential sales- and who wants to be losing out on that?
So if you’d really (rather than getting someone like me to take care of it for you) prefer to go ahead and write your own copy, fine. But for your sake, make sure you follow these guidelines:
#1- Who’s your audience?
Primarily, your answer should be based upon either:
a) Who comprises 80% of your customers, or
b) Who are the most valuable 20% of your customers
Once you have a clear idea of who they are, then your website copy AND your entire content strategy should be directed at these people and created with them in mind. This is what you need to establish before worrying about any of the other points I’m about to address here…
#2- How are you going to get their attention?
Because the secret is making sure you have an attention-grabbing headline, as I discussed here There’s really no point taking the time to write amazing website copy if you haven’t created a knockout headline where necessary, making it easy for your website visitors to find the information they’re looking for or even read the info they weren’t looking for, simply because the headline caught their attention and on some level made them think “Hey- that’s interesting!”
With the right headline, even your cold-emails get read:
#3- Be careful with the negatives
The emotion of fear is a great seller and if you don’t believe me, just watch the news any given night. Drama, scandal, threats to our daily way of life all presented conveniently in fresh waves each night. The boogeymen and forces of evil might change depending on what news sources you go to, but it’s always that same core emotion they’re tapping into.
But here’s where you’ve got to be different: You’re selling people on your solution, not the problem (see the negative I put in there- ironic, huh?) Primarily, you want people to associate your brand with solutions, good times, relief, pride- think all the positive emotions that come from delivering whatever outcome you deliver to your customers. If you want a textbook example of how to do this, just take a look at any insurance company’s advertising campaign and how they sell to you based upon a solution to your problems:
#4- Remember- it’s all about them
More times than I care to recall, one of the early things I’ve picked up on with a clients’ website is how much of their copy refers to “our customers” or their clients in the third-person. This is perfectly acceptable when you’re relating case studies of past customers, but for the most part your web copy should be aimed directly at the browser- think of words like ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘you’re’ and ‘yours’.
It’s going to make the website audience feel a stronger connection with the message the business is delivering, which in turn improves their response rate and means that new business is all theirs.
Compare that sentence with this one, and see how it feels:
It’s going to make your audience feel a stronger connection with the message you’re delivering, which in turn improves your response rate and means that new business is all yours.
#5- Relate to their experiences/ emotions
While your copy might be technically, factually and grammatically sound, if it doesn’t appeal to the experiences and emotions of your audience, then you’re going to lose them. Remember just two points back where we looked at tapping into their ‘fear’ emotion? Well think about all the other emotions you can tap into as well. How often do you remember exactly what somebody said to you or something you read, as opposed to how it made you feel? I expand on that idea here
What language or use of jargon is going to appeal directly to your audience? Because that’s how you should write your web copy, so they feel as if you’re on the same level as them. A while back I spoke about this. Essentially, this is how you make a great connection with your audience. The trick is to present information in a manner that they’re going to understand (and relate to) best.
Essentially: keep it simple, stupid. Say what needs to be said on your website and use the fewest amount of words you can. Again, you want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to read through and then take action how you want them to (more on that, shortly). But first:
#8- Link Me Up
Be sure to also include hyperlinks in your website copy- this is not only great for your search engine rankings, but it also provides a better user experience for your site visitors. These can either be links to information to do with your business (internal links) or links to information that have to do with a subject that’s relevant to your business (external links). You’ll see I’ve included both examples right here in this very article! Internal links are useful for helping your site visitors to develop a deeper understanding of your business as a whole (and what you can provide for them) while external links are great for helping to establish your credibility. So include links to both!
#9- Clear Call To Action
There’s no point going to the effort of writing all that amazing content on your site if there’s no clear call to action. This means you need to do both of 2 things:
1- Present a clear call to action that persuades your website visitors to do what you wish for them to do in a given section of the website (contact you or your sales team, place an order, subscribe, buy now etc.)
2. Present your CTA so that it’s clear what happens next. Don’t be vague about what the next course of action is. If you have a free download that users can get if they enter their details and join your database, don’t just say ‘Free download here’- say something like ‘Enter your details, join our amazing database and get your complimentary copy of ________’.
Your website should have at least one call to action on every page, even the pages where you aren’t necessarily selling something.
By following these 9 steps you’re well on your way to producing good web copy, whether you’re building a new site or updating an existing one. However, because I’m in a generous mood, here’s a BONUS tip for you:
So you’ve got a website. Great! But what else? What’s next? Do you have an email funnel to back up the free download you’re offering? Do you publish regular blog articles to your website so that one-time visitors want to come back regularly and see if you’ve got anything new for them to read? Depending on how people interact with your site, you want to plan what you’d like to happen next, which itself is dependant on the decision your audience makes:
Subscribe to your database: What happens after that?
Order from you online: What happens after that?
Browse your site then leave: How can you get them to return?
For a truly outstanding website, you need more than words and links on a few pages- you need a plan of action to go with it so you maximise your audience, your leads and your customers.
So I wish you luck with all of this but remember- if you’d like some professional feedback you could always make it easy for yourself and contact me