It is almost impossible to do business in the 21st century without some form of online presence. In most cases, this presence comes in the form of a website. But all too often, business websites are poorly constructed and stuffed with inferior content.
All successful business websites rely on a great copywriter – whether that person is outsourced or not.
But copy is worthless unless it drives conversions. What’s the point of paying a copywriter a small fortune if what they’re writing isn’t persuading visitors to buy your goods or services?
To ensure that your business website increases sales and grows your business, follow these 10, relatively straightforward tips.
1. Keep things easy to read
Unless you’re selling something very complex to business customers who are highly knowledgeable about the industry, keep things simple and to the point.
Avoid jargon at all costs, and give readers real value as quickly as possible. Break up content with lots of sub-headings and lists – so readers can skim read and find what they’re looking quickly.
2. Give benefits priority
Don’t bore your readers with technical details and sales spiel before they have fully understood the benefits of what you’re selling.
Get straight to the point. How can your product make the life of the reader easier or more fulfilling. What real-world advantages are there in investing in your product? What makes your product better than the competition?
I like to include all of the benefits ‘above the fold’ so readers are presented with them from the moment they land on the page. I also like to write in a way that puts each benefit to the left of the page – as research shows readers skim read based on the first few words of each sentence.
3. Get emotional
The old, car salesman method of selling stuff just doesn’t wash anymore. If you really want to strike a chord with potential customers, appeal to their emotional side.
Think about the old Yellow Pages advert, starring J.R. Hartley, or any Werther’s Original advert ever made. If you can create an emotional tie to a product or service you’re writing about, conversions should quickly follow.
4. Solve the problems of your readers
Why are visitors looking for services or products like yours? What problem or issue do they need solving. Identify these issues, and you can explain exactly how you’re going to solve them.
Create a little empathy with your reader’s problems, stir up emotions and then hit them in the face with a great solution.
Imagine you’re writing about ovens. What’s the obvious issue here? Well, it’s obviously to cook food.
But what’s the real issue? Your readers may be looking for ways to cook for a large family. Your readers may be looking for an oven that is perfect for cooking cakes and pastries. Or maybe space is the issue. Identify the problem – and then solve it.
5. Talk directly to your customers
It’s important to know who your customers are. Only then will you be able to write copy that talks directly to them.
Use everyday language wherever possible – but make sure it’s relevant to your target customer.
Imagine you’re sitting in front of that customer. How would you describe what you’re selling? How would you convey its quality, usefulness and benefits?
Sit in a virtual pub with your reader over a pint or a glass of mineral water, and talk to them about your product.
6. Don’t make mistakes
I know, I bet you’ve noticed dozens of mistakes in this article alone. But do as I say; not as I do.
Once you’ve written your marketing copy, give it a day to rest. Then once you come back to it, you can proof-read it with a fresh perspective.
It should go without saying that your copy needs to be free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. But also check that your copy possesses the right tone.
Read it out loud; read it to someone else – then read it again.
7. Write with authority – and be trustworthy
Whatever you’re writing, it has to be authoritative without coming over as forceful, ‘salesy’ or insincere. Great content persuades the reader without them realising it.
Give your readers value. Tell them something they don’t know. If you can educate visitors to your website with carefully crafted copy, they will trust you… and keep coming back for more.
8. Write with your website’s design in mind
Whether or not you already have a website or not, you should be writing with its design in mind. You might write 1,000 words of killer content, but it will look silly on a homepage designed for 300 words.
My advice to all of my clients is to keep things concise and to the point on a home page. Stick to the main benefits, and flesh out the details on other static pages.
Will you be using infographics, logos and illustrations to accompany your text? Part of a web copywriter’s job is to write text that fits exactly into specific areas of a website. What makes us so useful to businesses is that fact that we can do this without losing or diluting the main message.
9. Get to grips with why people buy stuff
What makes a customer say ‘yes’ to a proposition that demands they fork out hard cash? Well, if I knew that, I’d be sailing around the Mediterranean on a private yacht right now. But there are several issues copywriters consider when creating content that sells.
As a copywriter, I like to be optimistic and positive when describing the benefits of a service or product. I certainly won’t draw comparisons to the competition. I don’t insist that my product is better than the alternatives, as the positive tone of my copy makes this obvious.
Copywriters help readers to solve problems through the creation of optimistic, positive and engaging copy. We understand that trust and empathy are key buying factors amongst most consumers – and we create content that reflects these attributes.
10. Create your own ideal customer
So, the next time you write content for your website, the first thing you should do is create your ideal customer. And yes, I mean give him or her a name, face and back story.
What makes this person tick? What sort of language does he or she use? What are this person’s life goals and ambitions? How much money does this person earn every year, and are they motivated primarily by money or quality?
Once you have created your customer – let’s call him Bob – you can talk directly to him.