BestWeb Nashville

Writing Good Website Sales Copy

Nashville Web Content

writing web copy, copywriting - nashville web content

Some people think writing sales copy for the web is exactly the same as writing for print. Many make the simple mistake of copying and pasting their print-based marketing messages onto their websites, and then scratch their heads wondering why their conversion rates are poor.

Executive Summary

You can 'power up' your online sales messages by using different tactics, beginning with the extremely simple, even obvious -- such as structuring your website in a customer-friendly way which allows your products and services to be easily found.

Captive Audience

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing online sales copy is that they write as though they were talking to a captive audience.

If you're stuck in traffic and you're listening to the radio, or at home watching TV, or reading a magazine full of ads, then you've got a fairly captive audience. People can be reached by these advertisements one at a time in isolation.

Let's say someone is sent a piece of direct mail about a digital camera. They can't run down the street and ask the postman if they have another piece of direct mail about a different camera so they can do a comparison.

Online Copy Needs to be Transparent

Online readers are NOT in isolation because they can visit comparison websites and customer review forums at any time to determine whether the manufacturers' claims are actually true. It's this kind of commercial environment which has led to businesses becoming more transparent. In turn, this has had an effect on the ways in which people write sales copy.

It's only during the past five years that businesses have realized that it takes a different skill set to write online.

People were either writing editorial themselves on the website, or they were hiring outside advertising agencies who were saying they could write it for them, and then the agency would write it in the same style as they would a print advertisement.

Customers are in Control

With the transition from print to online, there has also been a shift in control from business to customer: You no longer have control of the brand, or the way in which your services are being talked about; this is the major difference.

But one thing that has not changed is human behavior. If I say in direct mail, radio or TV 'Act now and get this for free,' it elicits a response. I can say the same thing online and elicit the exact same response. Although the medium has changed, the same message results in the same response.

Tried and true techniques such as creating a sense of urgency like 'buy now', or creating a sense of scarcity like 'only 20 tickets left', are the kind of bread and butter techniques created by direct marketers, and they still work online as well as offline.

Engaging Headlines

Another valuable technique recognized in both print and online copy is use of the headline.

People scan web pages using an internal process which seeks to answer one question; am I in the right place? As long as your headlines are sufficiently engaging, people will continue reading the article; however, if you aren't specific, informational, or interesting, then the reader will think it's boring and click away from the web page.

Now or Never: Closing the Sale

In print advertising, the reader will probably have multiple chances to see a given ad; if you read a magazine with an advertizement in it, there's a good chance you will give it attention when leafing through the publication, or when you are reading one of the feature articles. Similarly, if there's a billboard ad between your home and your place of work and you don't notice it today, you probably will notice the billboard tomorrow or maybe the next day or the next week. It's a different ball game when it comes to online, where there are fewer returns to the same page or location. There are not as many chances to make the sale to a given reader.

If I go to a website, it may have thousands of pages; if I leave a page, the chances of me coming across it again, once I've clicked away from the website, is rather small. With a web page, it tends to be now or never. You can easily lose the reader if you haven't told them what your business, product, or service is, or engaged them sufficiently.

That's why online sales messages tend to focus on 'buy now' messages. The seller needs the reader to act immediately, because unlike the billboard or magazine advertisement, when you lose someone from a web ad, you have very likely lost them forever.

It may therefore seem as though it is necessary to be more aggressive with online sales messages to grab the readers' attention, but this is not necessarily so.

You can't be too aggressive; remember, the control online is in the hands of the reader or customer. No one responds very well to overly aggressive marketing. It is definitely a challenge; on one hand you have to make that conversion now, but then again, you can't be too overbearing about the message.

Generating Leads Rather than Sales

Many businesses have noticed the challenges of trying to sell to a customer from one web page, and instead are focused more on generating leads which could end up in a sale further down the line.

That's why you will see things like download this white paper for free, here's a video or here's a free trial. What they're doing there is recognizing that they know it's tough to get people to buy from one page, so they will reduce the size of the barrier and make it really easy for people to take services or products.

It's a change in mindset again where you have to say I'm not going to try and sell the biggest and most expensive product today, but what I will do is offer a useful product for free.

Reduce Perceived Risk

Another great method has been to reduce the perceived risk of purchasing online. Amazon is a good example of a business which has built confidence in its customers by allowing customer reviews to be published. Obviously, there is far more credibility to what a real person will say about a product than the manufacturer's blurb.

Allowing customers to review your product online means the company mindset has to change. You have to be prepared to let go of that control and accept that some people may not like your product or services, and they'll tell people about that.

Endorsement is another means to help reduce fear about making a purchase online. He says it's exactly the same as link building but applied to a different area: you are looking for well-respected, well-established, and well-trusted websites with which to establish a relationship.

In the same way that a backlink is considered by Google to be a vote for your website, endorsements are basically external votes of confidence in your product or service that are credible.

There may be a real lack in terms of the number of people who have the skills to write online sales copy successfully. Use the above techniques and others to write better online sales copy.