When small business owners approach me to help them figure out why they are struggling to find customers, often I find the problem is in their website copy.
Most owners are sensitive about being too pushy or “salesy.” The answer to this challenge is to write benefit-oriented website copy that promises a solution to a prospect’s problem or desire, followed by a clear call-to-action.
Why do you need persuasive, compelling website copy in the first place?
You often only have ONE chance to make something happen with your prospect. It’s a statistical fact that the vast majority of your prospective customers will only visit your website once, never to return. Therefore, you must get them to take an action while you have their attention or risk losing them forever.
How do you write effective website copy?
Effective marketing copy follows several rules:
1) Start with a compelling, benefit-oriented headline.
A common marketing error is to focus only on “features,” or worse, the business itself and how great it is. Remember, prospects care about the results you can produce for them, not how many bells and whistles your product has. Therefore, your headline must clearly state the benefit you are offering to your customer.
If you are new to writing headlines, a good way to start is with the phrase “How to…” followed by the benefit or result you offer, minus the pain or frustration they are feeling.
Read the headline to this article again and you’ll see this formula in action.
2) In the lead paragraph, show the prospect that you understand his or her problem.
The next step is to frame the problem or desire your prospects are experiencing in a way that demonstrates you understand them.
When you are having difficulty writing a powerful lead, try the “If, then…” approach. Here is an example of a lead from a sales training program:
“If you’re a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant or anyone using a presentation-style sales approach, you’ve probably been giving your ‘heart and soul’ to provide amazing value to your audience. But if you’re frustrated because no matter what you try, you still can’t convert more than 10% of your prospects into customers, then you are going to love the secrets I’m about to share with you today.”
3) List the benefits you offer in bullet format.
A powerful way to demonstrate the value you offer is to list the benefits of your product or service in bullet format. Create at least a dozen bullets that focus on solutions to problems, specific benefits and results.
Here’s an example of a bullet from a productivity training program:
*Learn three techniques for clearing off your “mental desk” and consciously letting go of things outside your control – things that are robbing you of energy and mental focus.
4) Close with a call-to-action.
For many businesses, the ideal action is for your prospect to buy from you. For those of us who have slightly longer sales cycles, the action should be something that allows us to engage our prospects. For example, you might collect the prospect’s name and e-mail address in exchange for a free informational report that helps them solve a problem.
Whatever the action may be, it must establish a communication channel between your business and your prospect so that you can “nurture” them until they are ready to buy.
However, never assume your prospect knows what you want them to do. Spell it out for them and give clear directions to “click the buy button” or “fill out your name and e-mail address.”
Right now, take a moment to go through the copy on your website to see if it includes these four principles. Then reword it or seek the expertise of a trained copywriter to make your marketing work for you!