What you say, how you say it, and even how you display your copy on your website can mean success or disaster in the results you receive in converting visitors to customers.
The words hold tremendous power.
For better, results-driven copy, here are some copywriting tips you can employ today.
We hope you enjoy this guest post by author Linda Barrett, who is a Clio-award winning copywriter, and is the principal at All the Buzz, a marketing, copywriting, and creative agency located in Fairfax, Virginia. You can view more of her stellar work on her site, www.AlltheBuzz.net.
Tell a Story
Hook your reader in the first paragraph, just as a journalist does. Grab their attention with a “what we have in common” story or problem, then go on to explain how your product or service can help. Use the inverted pyramid style of writing that puts the most important information first.
Determine the Problem
Someone is visiting your website because they have a problem or need. Define what that need is and market towards the solution. Make each problem/solution a separate landing page for optimal search engine results.
Support Your Claims With Data
Once you hook your reader and describe the benefits of your product or service, support your claims with data, reports, studies and case studies. People like to know—and trust—other people’s experiences and value proof, like a guarantee, that the product works.
Good sales copy talks directly to the reader. Use the words “you” and “yours” throughout the copy. Talk about the benefits “you” will receive, as in “When you apply, you will automatically receive our quick-solutions guide to…”
Use Active Voice and Action Verbs
Don’t write passively, use active voice that happens in the “now.” Instead of writing “You can get unparalleled results,” restate it in active voice by saying, “Get unparalleled results.” Use strong action verbs like “get,” “produce,” “create,” or “drive;” words that get your reader excited.
Eliminate industry jargon, buzzwords and acronyms from your copy unless they are really necessary. Use short sentences (fewer than 16 words) and short words in your copy.
Keep Hype to a Minimum
Avoid words or phrases that sound like hype, including “best ever,” “hottest,” “most exciting,” or “can’t lose.” Be factual in your copy without the hype. Also avoid overuse of over-capitalization (all caps) and punctuation. Exclamation points should never be used in web copy.
Web copy should not be long; it should state the problem, the solution, the supporting evidence, and the call to action with about half the words of other writing forms. Your goal is to get the reader to the sale as quickly as possible.
Choose the few keywords that are most important for search engine optimization (SEO) and pepper them throughout your copy. Be sure to include the keywords in your headline, subheads and captions for the most effective SEO results.
Employ Subheads and Bullets
A Nielsen Norman Group study shows that 79% of readers skim, while only 16% read every word of a website. And an eyetracking report shows that 70% of people read lists with bullets. Employ subheads containing your important keywords, and create bulleted lists for easy scanning.
Visual prompts through images and videos receive 94% more views than copy alone. Select images that support your claims, show your product in use, or highlight the features and benefits.
Include Outbound Links
Promoting links to outside websites, studies, videos and experts increases your credibility and increases your SEO rankings. These links, however, can distract your visitor from your intended purposes, so limit them throughout your copy. Don’t make your reader push too many buttons or they’ll tire out before getting to that all-important sales button on your website.
Lead Your Readers to Your Funnel
The goal of any good copy is to incite your reader to take action. Define that action and lead your visitors right to your sales funnel through copy that describes the problem, offers a solution, supports the claims, and invites them to take action.
Give Something Away
If possible, grow your mailing list by offering a free giveaway in exchange for a name and email address. Or give away helpful information in your copy or through a resource listed on your website. This helps establish a trusted relationship from the start.
Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do in your call to action. Use words like “start your free trial,” “get this special report,” or “subscribe to our newsletter.” Pay attention to how you phrase this short copy; it is important too.
Define the reason why your visitor needs to take action NOW. Don’t count on them to return to your site later to press the “buy” button. Use limited-time offers or other incentives to create urgency.
Ask for the Sale
Great copy doesn’t sell by itself, you must, at the end of any good presentation, ask for the sale. Offer direction on what action to take through a call to action.
Web designers often say that getting good copy is the most difficult part of their job.
Clients struggle with how to describe their business and its benefits, and most don’t know how to structure good website copy that gets noticed.
Using a professional copywriter who is experienced in web writing is always a good idea. He or she can expediently gather the information, present your company in its best light, and help you make the sales you need to succeed.