To write good website copy, I’m going to teach you the following:
- The basic selling equations
- The trickiest mistake to avoid in writing copy from a business owner perspective
- How many words will help you get 100% reader attention
- Why you might be skipping a step in rushing to sell your offer
- How to avoid asking bad questions
- Why you could be a “Me Monster”
How to Write Website Copy That Sells (Really)
The whole journey of your business’ message to your customer, or even from your business to another business, consists of variables that are really geared to completing the following equations.
Here are the basic selling equations for products and services at their most basic:
Your zone of genius + someone’s weak point = value exchange
Your product + someone else’s need/inefficiency/demand = value exchange
When you create content it has to (at least) be equal parts of the initial factors to result in the final sum.
When you write a copy for a website (or even if you have someone write the copy for you) you need to consider both ends of the transaction that you are in charge of leading.
It’s about what you serve, as much as it is based on what the other person wants.
When it comes to copywriting for a website, it should be focused on the customer or client that you are gearing to speak to AND it must inspire.
This is why you need to develop a buyer persona to speak to them.
If you haven’t created your buyer persona yet, you can learn how to do so here. I lay out buyer persona examples and tips to bear in mind to craft an ideal buyer persona from scratch.
Here’s How to Write Copy For Your Website
When it comes to writing web content, you need to write to what your consumer needs and what serves your business best.
You can do this easily by keeping these “don’ts” in mind to do the right and perfect things.
These common “things to avoid” apply regardless of whether you’re a business owner writing your own website copy, a business owner hiring a copywriter, or you’re a budding copywriter trying to learn how to write stellar website copy here.
Don’t get too “close” to your product or service.
This is the trickiest mistake for business owners – and one I see a lot.
As the business owner, you are the developer and all-knowing wizard when it comes to what your product does and its features.
You will always be the expert on the service or offer you provide.
What’s wrong with that, you ask?
The truth is that when you get too close to the product or service you provide and then try to create content for it, it 100% becomes about the product and the journey of building it.
You often end up spilling a lot of industry jargon on your website and various pages.
You also wax on about features, but not about what makes your product special to the customer compared to other options and alternatives out there.
You don’t really “prove” why a consumer should have interest and desire in what you provide.
You know why it’s valuable, but you bypass giving that valuable insight to your customer. You almost forget they don’t know what you know.
You just keep nailing them with facts and figures about your microfiber thickness and thread count in your pullover sweater when you really should be marketing the benefit they’re looking for.
Thread count is important – but maybe not the exact reason on why they click “Buy Now”.
You hear crickets as a result because your customer sees a lot of what the product does AND does well, but NOT what the benefit for them is based on where and what they know NOW.
When you create content, you speak to people like YOU, versus people like your ideal audience.
You get scientific, information-specific and end up getting very vague about your product.
You ALREADY know what it does, but this is the exercise you need to apply as a business owner.
Really start giving your content the once-over and challenge yourself to read it in the eyes of the true beholder – your customer.
Don’t go overboard on copy.
It’s easier said than done.
But here’s a point that I read somewhere that helps you keep this in perspective.
If you write 3 words – 100% of people will read them.
If you write 1000 words, it will be far less than 100% of people reading them. (Very specific percentages here, I know.)
Make the minimum word count – truly count.
Write website copy with intention behind it so that each word can carry its weight.
This applies beyond your website to your landing pages as well.
Really anywhere you can think to put words on a web page – less is generally more as people have limited time and limited attention spans and generally skim.
You might be skimming this now…oho!
It’s all about engaging with the minimum word count that you can get away with keeping the next point in mind…which requires more copy.
Don’t aim to sell straight away, if education is the first natural step.
I encounter business owners in a lot of different niches, with a lot of different offers.
Some can sell their product from the second a user hits their homepage – others need a different strategy.
It’s all based on the level of novelty and innovation behind your product and where that meets your audience’s knowledge.
For example, if I sell candles – it’s pretty straightforward, right?
I’m not reinventing the wheel and people know what to expect when they buy. They know how it works and they know the benefit comes from their home smelling ah-mazing.
They just need a “Buy Now” button in comparison to this next person.
This person is building an app for a real estate industry-changing feature for a home that allows the windows to open and close on their own, on a set schedule.
As someone landing on their page, I probably have a lot of questions. I’ve never seen this in the marketplace – so I’m not certain how this works or even if this is something I even NEED.
I’m not sure I have a problem where this product is a solution. I am problem-unaware.
So any content I see? It needs to educate me concisely from the start.
- What is the product?
- What problem does it solve?
- Do I have the problem this is solving?
- Why should I trust the company?
- What’s the deal and what’s in it for me?
See the difference in the two above scenarios with windows and candles?
Consider whether you need to start with education and how much to give.
(Again, no long copy if you can help it.)
Don’t ask bad questions.
This isn’t the type of advice that encourages you to not ask questions.
It’s just about asking questions in your web copy in such a way that customers aren’t getting turned off.
It’s enticing to ask questions to start the marketing and sales conversation along the following lines:
It almost sounds like a cliche infomercial.
“Do you ever wish your soufflé would just stop collapsing in the oven?”
“Have you ever wanted X to be easier in your life?”
“Have you ever considered Y for Z to happen?”
A question can be a great way to pique interest, but if done incorrectly in your web copy it drives people away.
Using the souffle question as an example – if I’ve never run into the issue of my souffle collapsing in the oven then I really can’t connect with your message.
Plain and simple. I move on.
If you’re asking a question that your customer will not care about or relate to, then you’ve lost them in a matter of seconds.
Oftentimes, I encourage business owners to do away with questions and instead work with certainty-rich statements when writing their own copy.
These are statements that aren’t even questions. You present what would previously be a question into a confident statement directed to your customer based on what you know about them.
You can’t make these statements unless you understand your buyer. If you don’t know your buyer, here’s the exact post to learn how to carve out their profile from scratch.
When you know your buyer pain points, at that point you can get a little cocky and really start stating what you know FOR A FACT about the challenges they are facing.
You can tell them directly that your product helps them overcome their souffle falling in the oven in X number of ways. Or whatever is “falling” in their oven.
You start embedding their challenges into your solution, and you do it with certainty.
Still want to ask questions?
Start by asking questions based on where you know your buyer or client is currently.
Don’t focus on questions about the buyer’s future self on using your service or product until you have the result copy to back up asking those questions from the buyer’s testimonials of your product.
A better way to describe the above concept:
It’s like asking:
“Have you ever wanted to attain the highest version of yourself?”
A tech example:
“Do you ever wish your phone was a key?”
These questions are future product use and results-focused. Essentially your customer might not KNOW the answers or be able to picture the answer because the questions are based on success with your product or service.
They just want to be heard in what they are experiencing NOW.
And here you are asking them “future” questions for their “present” self.
Direct your questions to that customer reading your webpage now who is struggling and needs to learn about your solution first that fixes their pressing problem.
Don’t create your content around your “journey and success story”.
You have an About page for sharing about you (it’s good for search engine optimization too), and you can easily silo your team information on it’s own dedicated page section or separate page on your site.
Regardless of how you choose to go about sharing about you and your team, keep it contained to those areas of your site that make sense.
Keep your homepage and site clear of being all about you and the journey to build your product.
Your product is honestly not about your journey.
Your customers don’t care – because the product you offer should be focused on their buyer journey.
It doesn’t matter how much of a saint you are in your company. You might have saved the world 10 times over, but your website would still be about the product or service you provide – if you have one at that point, Superman.
If your customer is searching for a product and your website pops up, don’t give them extra information about you that will distract them from the Buy Now button.
Don’t become a “Me Monster” and add “noise” to your customer’s buyer journey on your website.
(Also if you know what the “Me Monster” reference is from – comment below.)
How to Write For a Website – The Summary
Overall, when you write for your website – you write for your customer at the stage they are in their buyer journey.
You write for the ideal client that you know inside and out.
Hands down, your customer is there to see clear, concise benefits for a product or service that adds to their life.
There is no value exchange – a customer trading their money for your product or service – until you offer the golden solution to their problem while inspiring and fully capturing their attention along the way.
Have at it and start writing your website copy to sell like mad and comment your questions and thoughts below.
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