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In a previous post, we discussed the need to write for two entities: people and search engines. Today, we are going to look into how to write specifically for people.

The number one rule is to think like a copywriter.

Think of the text on your web site as salesmanship in print. You need to write from the reader’s perspective. The visitor to your web site is not really all that interested in the details of your product or service. The visitor wants to know what your product or service will do for him. There is a difference. Copywriters know how to emphasize features over benefits. You need to do the same thing.

Features are the specifics of your product or service. It is physical attributes like height, width, wattage, and color. It is the description of what you are going to do. Benefits are what the features do for the customer. If a feature of a stereo is that it is surround sound, then the benefit is that it will sound like you’re at a concert. Before going into detail about the features of what you sell, first tell the reader how she will benefit from doing business with you.

The copy should focus on benefits to the prospect. Marketing consultants have preached this for years, yet few businesses do it, and even fewer do it online. This represents a lack of originality on the part of the ad writer. It is much easier to just write a list of features than to actually translate those features into benefits for the customer. But YOU CANNOT EXPECT THE CUSTOMER TO MAKE THIS CONNECTION. You have to do the thinking for them. If you have a web page devoted to a particular product that is a list of features, it is likely going to convert poorly. Instead, it needs to SELL! List features, but later in the copy, after you’ve gotten the prospect’s attention. You can convert features to benefits by asking yourself what each benefit does for the customer. For instance, if you’re selling 21″ computer monitors, 21″ would be a feature, but benefits might be less eyestrain or more work efficiency because of greater screen real estate. So those would be the things you would discuss first, with the technical features coming later.

You should think of your web site as a sales machine. Think of the web copy as words being said by a salesman. Remember that the point of your site is to get your visitors to perform some particular action. If you don’t know what that action is, then you need to step back and decide what you want your visitors to do. Then continue with wri-ting or re-writing your web site copy. And sell, sell, sell.

Two of the most effective words to use in your copy, especially in headlines, are “you” and “free” – for example, “You will get a free widget for joining our newsletter.” People love the word “you” because they are for the most part only interested in themselves. And everybody loves getting something free. Think carefully about the words you use in your web site copy because certain words can have a powerful effect on people.

Testimonials are very effective, if used properly. If you post a testimonial on your site, you need to give as much information as possible to prove that it is a real person. If all you do is list initials, the testimonial will seem suspect and will do more harm than good. You should, at a minimum, list the person’s full name and city. The testimonial should also be as specific as possible. A testimonial that mentions the quality of a specific service of product is much more credible than one that just says what a good job you did, without telling what it is you did.

Don’t concern yourself too much with using some maximum number of words. Not everyone who arrives at your web site is going to buy what you’re selling. The person just may not be a good prospect. But if he is a good prospect with a need, then he will take the time to read about your product or service. So don’t worry about keeping your web site or email copy to some maximum length. Just write however much you need to write to make your case. Having said that, one good device to use to make your writing easier to read on screen is bullet points. Bullet points chop the copy up into small blocks, making it easier for the reader’s eyes to scan the page.

If you would like help writing the copy for your web site, call Work Media at 1-888-299-4837 or email us at info@workmedia.net.