This section takes you through the content creation phase and outlines what you need to know to create powerful, highly persuasive content.
Websites are about information. Websites present information - your information - to the outside world. You control the content on your website and it is powerful – so use it wisely!
If you create content that is persuasive and motivating to your readers and you have a great product or service then you will achieve results! There is no two ways about it.
If your content is poor – your results will be poor.
Before preparing your content, read through the information contained in this module very carefully.
Your websites content must ‘grab’ your reader’s attention with quality information, because if they perceive the content is intended for them and it appears ‘worth their while’, it will be a successful experience. They are just a click-away from leaving your site at all times, so choose your information carefully or your website results will suffer.
The ‘words’ (or ‘copy’ as writers call it), are one of the most important parts of the information you present online. A prospect wants information. The information presented on a website needs to use a tone that appeals to them and in a ‘language’ they understand.
Many people write poorly, so they should leave this specialist skill to an expert. But even if you write competently, writing convincing sales copy is a specialist area. It takes real skill to convince a prospect that they need what you have … and to return to you for it again and again!
If you are writing your site’s copy yourself, be prepared to factor-in an Internet copywriting professional to edit it. In some cases they’ll only need to ‘tweak it’, but at other times, you’ll be glad you enlisted their services as they’ll make your copy ‘shine’.
Long Copy Outsells Short Copy!
For decades, many direct marketing and advertising greats, such as David Ogilvy, Jay Abraham, Victor Schwab, and Claude Hopkins, just to name a few, have used long copy to achieve incredible results for their clients.
Website sales copy was originally thought to work best if it was broken up into chunks and presented using individual screens or pages on a website. That proved to be a big mistake because every time visitors clicked the ‘link’ to the new ‘screen’ to get that information, a percentage of them were “lost”. That’s because the ‘flow’ or ‘sales process’ was interrupted. They lost interest, focus… whatever, they were gone.
In order to make a buying decision, buyers need information… and lots of it! Would you limit your salesperson to the number of words that he or she could use when talking to a potential customer about your product or service? Not in a million years!
You would want your salesperson to be as comprehensive as possible providing your potential customer with as much information as they needed, to make an informed buying decision.
Your website should be representative of the best sales ‘person’ in your business, providing all your customers with the same quality, consistent message every time, no matter what.
When communicating with your customers, using your voice, you can utilise (and vary) the following elements to make your speech interesting:
Volume (how loudly or softly you speak)
Speed (how quickly or slowly you speak)
Vocabulary (the words that you use)
Pronunciation (speaking the words correctly)
Personality (the emotions you convey using your voice).
When communicating with the written word, you can also utilise a number of elements that will help make your writing more interesting:
Fonts - Make sure you use a black font on a white background– anything else is difficult to read. Do not use a fancy font. Generally, Serif fonts are used for print and Sans-serif fonts are used for computer screens. The most common Serif font is Times New Roman. Common Sans-serif fonts are Arial and Verdana.
Emphasis - Use bold, italics, underlines and font colours for emphasis, but use them sparingly. You can also use different font sizes for headers. Tables and borders can be used to frame specific sections of text that you want to emphasise. Always use emphasis to drive-home your critical points.
Lots of White space - Use lots of white space – this makes everything easier to read and is generally more attractive to view.
Vary Paragraph Lengths - Vary the length of your paragraphs as well – this helps keep things interesting.
Don’t Justify - Don’t justify text – it makes it harder to read.
Graphics - Only include a graphic or illustration if it is relevant and supports what you are talking about. Graphics for the sake of graphics are a waste of time as they make the page take longer to load. Your prospect might get tired of waiting and exit.
The HTML or rich text editor built-into the Zeald E-business Suite is a powerful tool that will allow you to incorporate the different elements discussed above, into your sales copy.
Review & Re-write– Always!
Always review your copy and re-write. Sharpen it up! Your copy will be significantly improved by just taking some extra time and care with it.
Many people put little effort into developing their copy, and therefore finish with a mediocre result. Good copywriting is 90% hard work. Ask yourself, “could it be sharper and punchier?” If “yes”, rework it. Edit your copy – if you hesitate when reading a phrase, or if you have to read something twice, re-write it.
The Home Page
The home page is the most important page of a website. It is the one page that all your visitors will view. A poor home page can destroy any chance of achieving your website objectives within a few seconds. A good home page is the blueprint for every successful website. Your homepage should set-up the key elements necessary to close a sale, or generate an enquiry (depending on what your primary and secondary objectives are).
If your website is focused on a single product/service, then launch straight into your main sales copy on the home page. Whereas, if your website contains a number of products or services, then you need to write some copy for your home page that encourages your visitors to click into your products or services pages.
Before we get started on this let’s review once again the steps to visitor conversion.
Do I trust you?
Do I believe you?
Do you understand my needs?
What’s in it for me?
What do you want from me?
Is it worth it?
Whenever you structure a home page for a website that has multiple products or services you need to be aware of the following key items…
Establish Your Trust & Credibility
Establish your trust and credibility using the highlight section of the screen (the right-hand column)– click here to review if you don’t know what this is.
Key items for establishing trust are:
Partners & Affiliates (borrowed credibility)
Evidence of a physical presence
Privacy and other legal policies
Professional design and error-free content (more credibility).
Pick one or two items and feature them in the right-hand column.
Have a Great Headline
Write a great headline that grabs the visitor and draws them into your site. On multiple products or services sites we have found that headlines that focus on the USP are best. Hit them right up-front with the biggest and best benefit that you have – your USP!
You may also want to include an opening hook to support your headline and to ensure that you have really ‘hooked’ the visitor into your site. The same principles for headlines and opening hooks apply here as with long sales copy.
Use your home page to hit your visitors between the eyes with a sharp special. Include up-to two more really sharp specials, should that be appropriate. Remember, the first order is always the hardest, and ditto with the first item in the shopping cart. If you can get one of your really sharp specials into the shopping cart then chances are the same customer will buy a number of other products (especially if you have strong cross-sells and up-sells).
Don’t forget to write the copy for your products or services that are ‘on special’. This is one of the most overlooked ‘basics’ with a website that features multiple products or services. There will be more on this in the next two sections.