Writing Web Copy
Being a good copywriter is a true gift. As the marketing world continually evolves that skill set must also evolve. Writing copy for the web won’t mean recreating the wheel, but it will require some thought.
There are lots of presumptions and ideas that we all bring to the table when picturing writing for the web. Below are some good tips to get you started.
1. Speak to one person.
A common misconception about writing copy for the web is that you should write as if you’re speaking to a large audience. After all, you are.
But your copy will have a much greater impact if it’s written as if you’re having a conversation with one person — just you and me. This helps build a deeper relationship between you and the reader because it’s more intimate and personal.
Don’t write as if you’re speaking to just any one person, though.
You must have a thorough understanding of who your target customer is. Speak to him in his language, and use the terminology and style he uses. Focus on the points that matter most to this particular target customer.
2. Focus on benefits, not features.
Your product might have a long list of technical features and functionality, which can be tempting to list out in order.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Before a visitor will convert to a paying customer, he has to care. Your product must have such an impact that he’s willing to open his wallet and pull out his credit card then and there.
How do you get to that point? By focusing on the benefits. How will your customer benefit from using your product? How will her life change for the better if she decides to use your product?
3. Reduce friction.
Whenever you ask for money, or even just a visitor’s contact information, you’ll always meet some natural resistance. People are reluctant to part with their hard-earned dough or risk spam by sharing their email address.
The way to overcome this obstacle is to reduce friction in your copy. Instead of labeling a call-to-action button with the word “Submit,” try using “Sign Up for Free.” Or if it’s a button to complete a purchase, such as a “Buy Now” button, try adding “30 day money-back guarantee” in small text below it.
These give your customer positive reinforcement that his risk is minimal and he’s making a smart decision by clicking.
4. Grab attention and keep it.
The minute a first-time visitor hits your startup’s homepage, it’s a make-or-break moment. She’s immediately wary her time might be wasted, so she’s got her cursor poised over the back button, waiting for an excuse to bounce off your site.
It’s up to your site, and particularly the top headline and sub-headline, to avoid this from happening. Your headline must grab her attention; your sub-headline must keep her attention. The top headline should speak directly to the pain point your target customer has. It should also be a bold statement, almost to the point that it’s not believable. It should catch her off guard and make her want to keep reading.
The sub-headline, or a short first paragraph, should keep attention by establishing relevancy. Here, you can add clarity and be up-front about what it is you’re offering, in a nutshell — just enough to confirm with your visitor that this is in fact something he’s interested in learning more about.
5. Provoke curiosity.
All of the examples above share a common tactic: They provoke curiosity.
The goal of your top headline is to get your visitor to read the second headline. The goal of the second headline is to get him to read the first paragraph. From there, you want him to keep reading all the way to the end and engage your call-to-action.
In order to compel your visitor to stick around and progress through your page, he must continuously be curious to learn more.
Give him a taste, but don’t give away the whole cake. It’s okay to introduce a concept, of course, but remain thin on the details so he craves more information. Fill him in bit-by-bit as your page(s) unfold.