October 23, 2018
As a marketer or business owner, you already know how important it is to have the right messaging for your customers. However, that messaging becomes doubly crucial online, where you are at the mercy of your readers’ split-second browsing impulses.
That’s why it is essential that your business website features copy that directly appeals to your audience.
But let’s face it: writing for the web — and business websites, in particular — is hard.
It’s hard because your audience…they…hmm. How do I put this delicately?
THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU!
Sorry for yelling.
Really, though, your readers have little to no interest in you or your business beyond your ability to answer their question or solve their problem. That’s
where your value proposition comes into play.
Leading with Value
As web users, few among us actually “surf” the web anymore. Instead, we’re almost always driven by a concrete goal when using our favorite search engine Google. Most often, this goal is to either obtain a piece of information or solve a problem.
And as it turns out, web users want to achieve their goals NOW! (Impatient, much?).
Your readers have no reason to scour your landing page for some hidden value to them because they can just as easily bounce back and try the next search result.
Knowing this, you should ALWAYS lead with customer benefits and focus on how your business can help your readers achieve their goals.
Before writing anything, it’s a good idea to answer some questions that can help you identify your readers’ goals, as well as your own value proposition and eventual call to action:
What are your readers trying to achieve?
What might bring them to your landing page?
How can you communicate your value once they arrive on your site?
What action do you want them to take next?
Answering these questions will help you write copy that directly engages your readers in their online quest, driving them to take some type of action on your site that leads to a final purchasing decision.
But to make that happen, you’re going to have to rethink how your word choice can impact your readers.
Don’t be Stupid. Keep It Simple.
Your readers are busy people searching for solutions. They don’t have time to see how well you can wax poetic about your “scalable business practices” or, worse yet, your brand’s “core competencies.” *shudder*
So please, for your own sake, lose the corporate speak. Simplify your writing by eliminating all unnecessary jargon and overlong descriptions about product features and, instead, focus on the value that results from those features!
Perhaps the best advice I can give you here is to observe your own online behavior.
Think about it. What did you focus on the last time you searched the great interwebs for something?
Were you marveling at the splendidly penned prose you came across on every landing page you landed on? Or, do you recall being unable to resist a certain company’s tangled web of technobabble and product descriptions?
The answer to both, I’m sure, is no.
Take a look at the following examples of company descriptions you might find on a business website’s About page. Which one do you find more appealing?
- “As a regional leader in robust technology that incorporates interactivity, Company A is dedicated to bringing an intuitive user design to partnering brands’ creative concepts.”
- “Want to make waves with a new app that will help your business stand out? As experienced app developers, we at Company B can help you every step of the way, from concept to launch.”
Use your own experiences as a web user to influence how you write. In other words, treat your readers how you would like to be treated when you search for a solution!
And lastly, be honest and upfront about what you can really offer your readers. Trust me, your visitors will be quick to bounce once they realize the solution they’re seeking isn’t front and center on your landing page.
The Power of “You”
Value-driven, simple, concise and honest web copy is one thing (or is it four things?). But knowing what voice you should write in is something else entirely.
The good news is that keeping a consistent and appropriate tone throughout your web copy can be quite easy. You just have to remember this one basic truth…
YOUR READERS ARE PEOPLE!
Therefore, you should write to them as such. This means using personal pronouns — particularly, second person voice, such as “you” and “we” — to address your readers directly.
The power of personal address cannot be overstated here. Writing in a way that makes your readers feel at home on your site can do wonders for decreasing bounce rates and keeping your visitors on your pages for longer periods of time (which just so happens to increase your page’s search rank for search engine optimization, or SEO).
Give your readers those warm, fuzzy feelings. Be welcoming and casual. Funny, even.
If it helps, write as if you’re having an invisible conversation with a good friend…who happens to be a stranger on the Internet.
Ah, the thought of virtual friendship. It’s nice, isn’t it?
Remember Your (Audience’s) Goals
Now, I should note that this blog post has exclusively dealt with copywriting voice and messaging. Text placement, page organization and other SEO strategies are also extremely important for engaging your readers. However, those points warrant their own discussion for another post.
For now, you’ll want to remember these five rules for writing copy in a style that engages and converts.
Your copy should be:
Your readers can — and will — tell the difference between a template of marketing mumbo jumbo and an organically written, emotionally grounded value proposition.
And that’s the key here: regardless of the story you’re telling or the voice in which you’re telling it, you should never lose sight of your web copy’s intended purpose. And that is to help your readers achieve their goals by communicating your value and driving them to take action.
There. Not so hard, after all.
Looking for additional resources for sharpening your web copy? Or interested in completely revamping your web presence?
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