After we learned why you should get to know your customer and how to make sure they find your website we have to talk about the copy on your website. Yes, it’s a painful topic for everyone who wasn’t born as a copywriter but let’s face it: When you finally get your ideal customers to find your website you really want them to read it, love it and buy it.
You can find a lot of books and workshops about copywriting for the web with as many tips and strategies – and most of them are really helpful. But in the end, you can distill everything down to 4 basic principles that help you nail your web copy, whatever your goal, product or target group.
1. The customer is key
A lot of company websites simply describe the services or products they offer and the different ways how you can purchase them or get in touch. So far so good. But if you really want to win people over, you have to focus on them. Ask yourself: What are people looking for when searching online for my services? How can I help them and make their life easier?
Don’t just talk about yourself and your business, tell them what they gain from choosing you! Nothing is more important these days than to focus on the visitors to your website and show them you understand their needs and wants. Answer their questions, solve their problems and your conversion rate will be your best friend.
A simple way to find out if your focus is on your customer or more on your company is to use one of the many free tools out there, e.g. the Customer Focus Calculator. They count how many times you use words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ in comparison to ‘we’, ‘I’ and ‘our’. General rule of thumb is that 70% of your web copy should be about your potential customer, 30% about yourself and your business. So how about yours?
2. It’s all about the benefits
In marketing, we talk about about the features and the benefits of a product. Features are basically a description what your services include or your product can do. If you take a travel alarm clock you could describe its features for example as being small and light, the handles glow in the dark and you can set the alarm at any time you want. Everybody knows what an alarm clock is, what it is supposed to do and how it works. Right? Easy.
But think about the product benefits. Those are the perks that your product has for the buyer, the solutions it provides for your customer’s problems, the answer to their needs. If you see it this way, the alarm clock suddenly becomes your ideal companion when you travel for business or leisure: It doesn’t take up much room in your suitcase and is perfect for people who like to travel light. It is reliable and you can check the time even in the dark – without switching on that blinding light on your bedside cabinet. And last but not least it makes sure you don’t miss any of that amazing breakfast buffet at the hotel or your business meeting with a potential new client.
Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it? Make sure you mention not only your product’s features, but above all point out the benefits. They also make for a perfect headline.
I know it is really tempting to tell the visitors to your website about all your products and services, every little thing you can do for them. And what people you know can do for them on top of that. And nothing is more confusing. So in every respect: Focus! On your core expertise, your best offer and your USP.
More importantly: Stay within your brand, the tone of voice that defines your company and don’t use jargon that your customer doesn’t understand. Be clear, simple and straightforward in what you’re offering and your customers will happily read on.
For me, this is a major deal breaker. I know, I’m a linguist and language snob, but how about you? Do you think a company that doesn’t even spend that little bit of extra time to do a spell check is reliable and has a great eye for detail? Are their priorities aligned with yours?
Better take your time and check your copy before it goes online. Ask a fresh pair of eyes to read through the text. Or else you might end up like this California-based travel agency that lost 80% of their business when they suddenly offered erotic instead of exotic destinations.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Write Compelling Copy in 12 Steps
5 Top Tips to get Your Press Release noticed
Newsletter – A Great Way to Boost Your Business
SEO or : How to make sure Your Website is found by the Right People