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How to Win Customers with Better Copy
By Robert Reeve, Mar 07, 2014
You can have a beautifully designed website and get all the technical aspects of SEO nailed. However, very few customers ever made a solid purchase decision based on how great a website looks. Naturally, if a website looks bad, it is probably going to turn people away and be a deal breaker, but a great looking site isn’t always a definite dealmaker.
You have two main tools in your arsenal for getting customers to convert through your website: an eye-catching call to action and the quality of your copy. By an eye-catching call to action, we’re talking an enquiry box or something similar on every page of the site. Simple enough to do, you just need to decide where you’re going to place it for maximum exposure and leads. You can write a call to action within your copy, too, as part of the process we’re going to explore now.
The Use of Sales Copy
A call to action is just one part of your copy, so it is important to look at the bigger picture of sales copy and at how you can use it to influence and persuade customers.
One of the most important things to get your head around is what we mean by sales copy. We’re not talking about presenting every page of your website like a “get rich quick” site that has things like this after every paragraph:
DOWNLOAD NOW AND GET STARTED MAKING MONEY TODAY! 100% GUARANTEED TO WORK!
Although that is a piece of sales copy, most reasonable people aren’t massive fans of the hard sell, and are likely to be turned away instantly. Sales copy is simply something that is designed to create an action. A headline is a piece of sales copy, for example, because it is designed to get someone to click on it.
In terms of the body of a piece of copy, you might find yourself writing a blog for a website, copy for a commercial page on your site, or a press release. The biggest mistake many people make when writing copy is that they turn something that should persuade into a glorified sales pitch that achieves the exact opposite.
What are the hallmarks of a great piece of sales copy?
If a piece of copy isn’t engaging, then no one is going to read it. You can take this point back to the example of the headline we used earlier. If the headline and even the page description, snippet, or introductory paragraph doesn’t engage the reader, then the 1,000 words that follow won’t be read.
Every “how to write copy” advisory blog talks about copy being engaging, but what exactly is engaging copy?
Within sales copy, it is defined as something that highlights the benefits to the user of buying your product or service. A typical piece of sales copy (if there is such a thing) would usually follow a process of setting out a problem and then saying what you can do about it, without being too pushy.
Easy to Read
Many people mistake readability for engaging, but they are two different things.
Readability is a key component of sales copy, particularly if you’re targeting customers or clients at a very early state of the buying cycle. The last thing you want to be doing to these readers is confusing them. Try to keep any industry specific jargon and technical details about your product or service to a minimum. If you need them in there, make sure you have linked out to a page where this is explained in full or you have an adequate explanation on the page you have written.
The biggest mistake many businesses make is that they try and dazzle people by using complex language and jargon, but it often just turns people off. You can be more technical in what you write on pages designed to convert people who know your industry and are at the point where they’re deciding what to buy.
Concise and Direct
Forget about anything you’ve read that says you’ll only get brownie points from Google if your copy is in excess of a certain word limit. People or businesses typically like to be able to make their decisions with ease, so why make them read 1,000 words when you could have said the same thing in 400 and moved them to a conversion in half the time.
Cut the fat, get to the point, and your copy will be more effective as a result.
You can call this persuasion, inspiration, or give it any tag you want. The point is that the best sales copy will get someone taking an action after reading it. Remember this won’t always be making a purchase or submitting an enquiry, so you should think about the other ways people might convert, such as downloading a white paper on your website or following you on social media.
These additional conversions should still keep the customer on the pathway to a sale, however, and it is important you keep this bigger picture in mind at all times.
Does your on-site copy work and help you achieve your objectives? If not, then take a look at how you can improve it and start seeing the benefits of having stronger copy on your pages today.
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