I know, I know, good sales copy on a website, this is un-heard of. People don’t read on the Internet, they are simply looking for the next bug-eyed groundhog – right?
This is a common misconception, the fact is that people are looking for whatever it is you are offering. They want to find you quickly, be assured that you do what you say and that you do it well. The difference is that people “read” very differently when they are at a computer or mobile device. You typically have a matter of seconds to get your message across rather than the slightly longer attention span you get if your customer is reading a brochure. All the more reason to invest time in crafting your message into a concise 4 points that you need to get Mr. Customer to understand before clicking on the next search result.
These are the 4 principals that Michael Masterson supports for any sales copy, but they become especially important for standing out among the crowd of competitors online.
There is very little point in driving traffic to a website with poor design or message, and there is no point in having a terrific website design if no one finds it.
Design | Marketing | SEO – VisionFriendly.com
OK, this is not my original content, but the concepts presented are part and parcel to the discovery phase questions that we try to go through with every client to ensure that their website is created with the correct voice to the message presented to the right audience.
This came through my SitePro News email subscription which is generally pretty basic information, but every once-in-a-while they strike gold:
What Do You Know About Your Clients and Prospects State of Mind?
When visitors land on your website, they have very little time to read what you say. They have a need for information or a product and don’t want to listen or read verbose descriptions and comments. You have about 8 seconds to engage them and get them to take action.
Do most visitors land on your website wanting:
2) A “quick fix”,
3) A bargain,
4) A large selection,
5) Or a telephone call, etc.?
It is imperative to know the answers to these and many other questions BEFORE you design the pages within your website.
Do You Make Website Visitors Feel You Can Satisfy Their Wants and Needs?
Landing on any page within your website [especially the Homepage] must make the visitor know that you understand their needs, business, wants, and desires. The more you put yourself into the “mindset” of the website visitor, the better chance you have of converting their visit into something you want to happen i.e. buy, complete a contact us form, bookmark the page, pick up the phone and call you or any other method of measurable conversion.
What Approach Do You Take When Developing Pages Within Your Website?
What do you think you would want from your website if you were the prospective visitor or client? Assume you don’t know as much information as you want in order to make an informed decision. Talk to these visitors in a language they will understand. If visitors want more insight or information, tell them to click on the more info link or give you a call. They will follow your direction ONLY if you have built some level of trust or understanding.
What are You “Selling” to the Website Visitor?
Are you focused on telling them about your product or ervice or are you making them understand that choosing your firm will deliver that special feeling they are seeking by making the purchase? Are you sure that you made the visitor know that you understand their needs, wants, problems, etc.? What techniques did you implement to get your points across?
How are You Going to Get the Visitor to Stop and Think About Your Service or Product?
Remember… they are ready to pass by your website in a blink of an eye. What are you going to do to engage them? The answer you come up with will be critical to the success you have in gaining their confidence enough to buy or call you. Make sure what you say is NOT the same old thing they are used to seeing or reading on other websites. Be boring and you lose! Address the issues that appeal to the visitor and they WILL STOP! This is hard work… but worth the effort.
What Kind of “Call to Action” Statements are You Placing on Your Website?
Turning a visitor into a prospect or client is one of the most critical actions of your website. How will you engage them? Once they know that you understand their needs and wants, they are more inclined to follow your CTA direction. Call to Action statements are critical to the success of any website’s conversion. Guide them in a manner that is more telling, rather than selling. Don’t be afraid to be assertive.
How Does Your Website Address the “Who Are We” Issue?
Again, it is about making the website visitor feel confident that they are choosing a reputable firm or organization with which to do business. They need to read about your success. This can be done by exhibiting your affiliation with associations, awards won, satisfied client statements, client success stories, examples of your work, etc. Show them you are a “player” in your industry.
Are You Prepared to Answer: “What Makes You Different”?
What have clients and prospects said about you and your company? Have they applauded you for your approach to doing business? Did they say you made them feel like you understood their needs and wants? Think back to the reasons clients buy from you. How did you meet their needs and wants? Give your prospective clients reasons to do business with your firm.
A final thought…
Make it your primary goal to understand the potential client. Look at your website through that client’s perspective. Who are they? What makes them different? What do they individually want and need? Be informative… do more telling than selling. They will “get it” and appreciate that you have made them an educated buyer. Finally, tell them what you want them to do next. Get them to take the first step and be ready to deliver on the expectations you have set throughout your website!
Finally, be sure to hire Internet marketing professionals to do the job if you don’t have the capabilities in-house. Too much is at stake to leave this part of your business to chance! We are pleased to provide you the insightful comments contained herein.
(By: Internet Consulting And Coaching, Inc.)
So, in conclusion; no matter who you have create your website, be sure that these concepts are being addressed at your initial discovery meeting. because it defeats the purpose to have a great website design that doesn’t cause people to act on the information you are providing. Just like having a site that gets the message across without presenting it in a professional and exciting way. Good website design needs both the sophisticated design and thought process to seperate you from the millions of other distractions online.
One of the hardest task, I imagine for any design company is getting copy from their clients. The project starts out of the gate at a full sprint as logos, color schemes and button styles all get created revised and approved then the site has it’s empty shell and it is time to fill in the blanks with relevant blocks of copy that are tailored for both the human visitor and for the search engine spider. Suddenly the project will grind to a screeching halt.
One of the methods that we’ve found useful for helping our customers understand what needs to be written without presenting it as an overwhelming mountain of work for them is that we will break it up into bite sized chunks’ that we sometimes even ask for one at a time. This keeps some momentum and keeps from the customer feeling like we’ve left them adrift.
Here are some samples of the outlines we give for the more common pages that we find difficulty generating content for:
This page should give an overview of who you are, what you do, why you do it and how you do it better. Generally the best way to get your message across on the home page is with short sentences and bullets that support the graphics on the page that really tell the story of what you do. Visitors have a very short attention span especially on the first page of a site and so these quick ideas should be the only text on the home page outside of the call to action telling them to “Buy today” or “Call Us Now!”
This page should really be more of a quick list than anything especially if you offer a large variety of services. People click this page because they want to be sure that you do X, Y, or Z and so you should confirm that for them without adding a lot of excess info. A brief sentence or two about each service is good enough and then if you want to describe each one we should add detail pages further inside the website (these detail pages can then be added later if time is a factor).
This page should have 3-4 paragraphs that talk about your business’s unique identity. Maybe start with a paragraph talking about your company history, a little info about the staff, work environment or general information about what you do. Then move on to talking about what makes your business different than the next guy, things like the quality of your work, quickness of response, lowest prices, philosophy, or anything else that your competition can’t match – you should point out to the visitor. Then wrap it all up by simply asking your customer to call or fill out the form or whatever it is you want them to do at the end of the day to make the next step in building a relationship with your company.
This page usually can be copied and then modified from pseudo-standards out there which cover the basics of how you handle the information that customers submit to your site. In some cases it can get rather involved and legal assistance may be required, but for most businesses a basic overview of the fact that you aren’t going to sell them up the river is sufficient.
Website content flow will, of course, vary for each company but the above guidelines do apply for a majority of the sites out there and when you see websites that don’t write their copy in this fashion it shows by a muddled message that leaves no brand impact for the visitor leaving the site. Your website is not doing it’s job if your visitors walk away not knowing what your message is.
More to come on this one in future posts…