First impressions are everything.
Yet it’s difficult to keep that in mind with your online presence.
Take a look at your website for a moment. What does it have to say? What’s the message coming through loud and clear? Is there a clearly defined action step no matter where a prospect enters your site?
Even if you felt pretty good about your online presence as you answered those questions, we’re betting there are ways to make it even better. But you probably can’t do it alone.
It takes a writer to write clear and concise copy that draws people in and gives them what they want. And unless you write for a living, chances are you haven’t written your message in the best way possible.
What does it take to write better copy for your site? Glad you asked.
Writing copy isn’t as easy as it looks. If you’re putting together a website for your business, you can’t throw a few sentences up and hope people come to your site and stay. It doesn’t work that way.
So how do you do it?
Here’s what writers know.
People are online scanners
Think about your own reading habits. If you pick up a novel, you’re looking for a great story. You get comfortable, you crack open the book, and you settle in to immerse yourself in words. A two, three, or even four hundred page book doesn’t scare you. In fact, it motivates you. Ever sat up past your bedtime because you couldn’t put the book down?
That’s not how people approach reading online. People want information and they want it fast. They Google. They find a result that sounds interesting. They click. And then they start scanning.
Their eyes bounce all over the page, assessing the looks. They pick up titles, they look for soundbites, they glance at the graphics. Is it aesthetically pleasing? Do they see anything of interest? In seconds, they make their decision: stay or back away.
And if they stay, they still don’t settle in to read. Not yet. They may start with the title, read through the first paragraph. But their mind is looking for critical points to make them want to stay.
When you write better copy for your site, you understand this process. You give people quick action items. You give them things to ponder. You also provide them with plenty of white space, so the site doesn’t seem like a daunting, overwhelming space to be,
People don’t go online to be marketed to
In most cases, people head online with a question. They have a need. They have a desire.
So they search. They ask Google how to do something. They find something to learn a bit more about a subject matter. They grow their knowledge base to understand a situation a little deeper.
And if they really like what they’re reading, they keep reading. They click. They go deeper. And only then are they willing to move to the next level. Maybe they’ll give you an email for a free report. Or fill out a form for more information. Or even give you a call, starting the process of learning more about what you can do to solve their problem.
Is all of that marketing? You bet.
But it’s different from the offline, in your face marketing you might be used to with traditional resources.
Your first step is understanding your reader, really understanding what your prospects are looking for. Once you do this, you can give them exactly what they need.
You have to capture attention first
If you’re in the marketing world, you know that headlines are everything. In fact, magazines like Cosmopolitan spend more time creating perfect titles than they do worrying about what copy is in the story.
That’s because you have to grab a reader’s attention before you pull them in to take the next step. They’ll never read the first paragraph, or make it all the way through the story if they at first aren’t captivated by the title.
In order to write better copy, you have to learn from the best. Good writers study what other writers do. They create swipe files filled with content they can use for motivation.
They study structure. They look for motivation. They learn from what works in other industries, and then apply it to their own.
The goal is to connect with your readers. And the only way to do that is to find out what interests them, what they’re seeing elsewhere in the world.
An authentic voice is best
Let’s face it; nobody is an expert at everything. And even your business model is built around specifics. You’re not a jack of all trades.
If you’re in the car business, you’re limited to one area. You fix cars. You paint cars. You sell cars. Maybe it’s a specific car – Toyota or Mercedes.
If you try to provide expertise on everything, you’ll only fail in the end. Talk about what you know. Admit to what you don’t understand. Talk about what’s happening, how you’re changing, what motivates you to do better.
Never, ever talk down to people. They are more likely to stick around when they can engage with your content, share it because it makes them laugh, or gives them tiny insights as to moving forward in a small way.
Remove the jargon
The example I love to use is from the plastic surgery niche. Ask a plastic surgeon about what he does, and you’ll hear all about rhinoplasty. Yet if you look at what people search Google for, you’ll find they search for “nose jobs” on equal standing.
You know your industry well. Your customers have a different perspective.
No matter how much you like to talk on a professional level, sometimes your customer just doesn’t care. They think the way they do, and they aren’t going to change.
Using industry jargon can help you build credibility. But you can lose an entire segment of your population if they consider your writing to be dry and dull.
To write better copy, writers know they must speak to a reader in their own language. You can communicate your point in many ways. Your customer is looking for someone to do it in a way they can resonate with. They want someone who “gets” them.
The easiest way to write better copy
Unless you’re a writer, the best way to speak to your prospects and customers is by hiring a writer to help you out.
If you need great web copy, trust an expert. We can help.