Your website can be a powerful tool for turning visitors into prospects and customers. But the way people behave online means you have to design user experiences in a very specific way.
Three shocking trends of today's typical website visitors:
of users will read the headline
will read the whole page
is the average attention span
What does this mean for you?
With today's fractured attention spans, more than half of your visitors will simply scan the page quickly. If they don't find what they're looking for, they'll click away - never to return.
So your copy needs to communicate in a way that speaks to both the readers AND the scanners.
Here's the formula I use:
- The right message: before writing a word, research and testing needs to be done to understand your audience. Once clear on what they want, we can develop the right message that speaks to their needs. That message will connect with their inner dialog (the conversation already going on in their mind), it will grab their attention and compel them to take action.
- Expressed clearly: make it easy for your visitors to understand the message. In the digital world you're just a click away from losing your prospect. So you can't afford to use anything but the clearest and easiest language to comprehend. This is why puns, riddles, sayings and other creativity should be left to fiction writing.
Our goal is to make it easy for your visitor to comprehend your message (who you are, what you do, and how you can make their lives better).
Here's my 5-step process for writing compelling website copy, Starting with your goal in mind:
- 1. Set a goal for each page: what you want visitors to do once they've read the page. Is it to click to the next page? To make an enquiry? Only through setting goals can you measure the success of a webpage
- 2. Understand the audience: the most important step to writing is getting inside the mind of the audience (their issues, problems, goals, worries, etc.). Then write messages that speak to their heart.
- 3. Know the sales cycle: to write effectively I need to know how much the audience knows and where they're at in the sales funnel. This leads what to say (which message), and how to say it (how much information).
- 4: Don't forget search engines: even the most compelling copy needs to be SEO optimised to help you rank in Google.
- 5: Track results: use Google Analytics to set up events and goals to track success.
Landing page / lead capture page copy
Landing pages have become fundamental elements of online marketing.
Why? Because landing pages let you focus on one specific message. A focussed, specific message is good for two reasons:
- 1. For your audience: they get message consistency. Visitors from advertising, email or social media will be expecting certain information you've promised them. If you're getting a high bounce rate, it's probably because users didn't find what they were expecting, and left.
- 2. For you: a landing page gives your audience only two options; they can can complete your desired action (i.e. sign-up to your newsletter), or they can leave. This approach has been proven to increase conversion rates.
Successful landing pages have straight to the point copy.
Clear copy that converts does three things:
- 1. Speaks to the audience: lets them know the page (and offer) was designed specifically for them.
- 2. Expresses the benefits: in a small amount of copy it clearly articulates what's in it for the reader, and why they should take action.
- 3. Provides proof: it instills a feeling of trust in the reader, and addresses any objections to taking action.
Sales page / product page copy
Have you ever read a sales page that just made you cringe?
The first thing the average copywriter learns is the power of promise. And for some, it's the only thing they learn.
So their extent of thinking is limited to dreaming up the most ludicrous claims.
While it's true that without a strong promise your sales page won't get the response it deserves, what's missing on these over-hyped sales pages is proof.
Every claim you make needs to be proven
We live in a sceptical, cynical world.
We've all been burnt. That's why you can bet your prospect has their scam-o-meter turned on and up.
That means we have to use a special approach to selling online (because after all, you can't reach across to your prospect to shake his hand and close the deal).
Here's my secret weapon for sales page copy, 'the 2 P's of persuasion':
- Promise: make an offer so irresistible to the person reading the page that they're compelled to take action
- Proof: give them all the reasons to believe your promise, so they have no excuses left to avoid taking action
Blog post copy
Keeping an up to date blog is essential in today's world.
It's easy to see why when you consider today's consumer. Where is the first place they go to discover, research and vet new companies?
They go online.
They hit a search engine.
And hopefully they land on your site.
Now that they're on your site, it's your job to give them the information they are looking for.
Here's 4 reasons you need a well optimised blog on your website:
- You're the expert: providing visitors with lots of high quality information positions your business as a thought leader and expert. Think what that does to price resistance.
- Builds trust: make your content genuinely helpful, and your prospects will reward you with trust. More trust makes selling a whole lot easier.
- Overcome objections: think of your blog as the ultimate tool to answer every one of your customer's questions. Even before they talk with you. If you can do this, it will dramatically shorten your sales cycle.
- Traffic: search engines reward websites that have regularly updated, high-quality, and keyword-targeted content with much more traffic.