|December 21, 2005||Volume 4 Number 51 Issue 86|
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We have all heard that “it’s not what you say, it's how you say it”. Well, the same applies to website content. In this article we will discuss the importance of web copy and how to turn your visitors into customers.
Your website content should convince visitors that your service is either unique or superior to that of your competitors in terms of quality or is competitively priced. It should show your potential clients that you can provide the solution that they are seeking. Your product or service will solve their problems, answer a dream, enrich their lives, and/or improve their businesses. You are the dependable expert that they want and need!
Your website copy plays a major role in establishing and growing your customer base. Web site copy creates the “voice” of a company, just as the look and feel of a site put a “face” on the company and on otherwise intangible products and services. On an e-commerce site, the copy plays a key role in closing sales as well as in up-selling and cross-selling products and services. Good copy delights first-time visitors, encourages return visits and propels both customer acquisition and retention.
People read a Web page differently than they do a brochure or a newspaper. They scan, scroll, click, hit the back button, and hit the forward button. “Reading” is about moving around and being in control. You have one chance to make a first impression – to quickly convey the benefit of staying on your Web site. I can’t overstate the importance of first impressions, which in Web-time are measured in milliseconds. The layout, functionality, message and overall look and feel of your web page determine who stays – and who clicks away.
Your story should be clear and to the point. The goal of any web page should be to get the visitor to DO something: to move on to the next step in a purchase sequence or to click for more information about a product or service. Without readable, compelling copy and clearly organized hypertext links, visitors are much less likely to complete a transaction – and return to your site again.
Writing for your Web page should always start from your visitor's perspective. What is your Web site visitor looking for? Why is he/she here? How can you make his/her visit as quick and efficient and positive as possible? You should take the time to clarify the goal of each page before starting to write. If the page is part of a transaction sequence, identify what may be hindering the buying process. Be sure instructions are clear and easy to read.
If you are selling a service on your website, your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is your service’s most powerful benefit, in combination with a strong, unique feature of your business. It answers that most difficult question:
Why should potential customers hire your service company?
Tell your customers what service you are selling and explain what your service provides. What is the key benefit(s) to your customers? What pain does it cure, what solution does it provide? Compare your service with that of your competitors and highlight what makes you stand out from the competition? Keep working on this until you can clearly separate yourself from the field. As stated earlier there must be a convincing reason for doing business with you, instead of your competitor.
Summarize the above into one tight, powerful, motivating phrase that will persuade your customer to do business with you and to trade their money for the benefits delivered by your service.
As you start to work through the above four steps, you may find this to be a lot harder than it looks. Don’t blow it off and give up! You must have a USP. If it was easy, everyone would have a great USP! Come up with a tight, sharp USP that sells your service to your customer.
Write tight, get right to the point, be keenly aware of the audience for the page, and don’t use a three-syllable word when a one or two-syllable word will do. Use call-to-action language and be interesting. The page should be so clearly organized that, in seconds, visitors can understand and get convinced to buy your product and be able to anticipate where a hypertext link – or a “Continue” button – will take them. Studies show that “ease of use” is the winning factor on an e-commerce site.
If you're going to promote your service and expand your customer base using your website, potential clients have to be able to trust you. Their confidence in you and your products has to be boosted. Endorsements on your website from a valued friend or colleague, or a referral from a strategic partner are the types of “leads” that boost your credibility. You and your service must be perceived as being trust-worthy before your visitor will be confident enough to contact you or even buy your product.
Show prospects that you have their best interests at heart and that you can adapt or customize your service to meet their individual needs. Foster an ongoing relationship that steadily increases their trust levels and cements a view that you are an “authority” in your field.
Another important aspect of convincing prospective customers is to keep abreast of recent developments in your field. Check on what your competitors are writing about, and watch for new trends. This will keep your website current, razor-sharp and unique. By keeping your eyes open, you will be able to grab an angle or niche that hasn't been well covered yet by your competitors. Portray this angle or niche on your website.
Finally, be wary of broadening the theme of your site too much. Try not to dilute your product or service's targeted niche simply to expand your base of merchant partners. Remember; focus on your selling your service. That’s where the “meat and potatoes” of your business will come from.
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