Expertly crafted website copy can effectively deliver your message, engage your readers and inspire action. Here’s why.
Websites use copy, or words, to guide a visitor to buy, read, subscribe or share. Carefully considered and well-written website copy is vital. Addressing reader issues, establishing authority and using direct response marketing are all tools to help business websites achieve these ends.
What is copy?
Copy is a curious term. It doesn’t mean what it means, if you get my drift. As a noun, copy is something similar or identical to something else. But copywriters don’t copy.
So it seems an odd sum: copy + writer = copywriter, because the irony is that copywriters rely on originality as a tool of the trade.
In marketing lingo, copy means words that sell; words which are crafted to achieve a specific purpose, to spark a particular response in the reader.
That’s why great copy takes into account the reader’s:
- Likely demographic
This information gives an excellent starting point for solid web copy. But it’s not the only part of the puzzle.
Why does good website copy matter?
So words can sell. But what’s the big deal? If a picture tells a thousand words, why not let it do the talking? And why should I give out information on my website? Won’t it overload my visitors? Or cost me business?
These are all common concerns.
But here’s the thing.
There’s a heap of information out there. It’s everywhere. People take to Google to find out answers to anything. Who invented wi-fi? Why do bees sting? If you’ve got the question, the internet’s got the answer.
Because we’re so used to finding information on the internet, we’re also increasingly savvy about researching before committing to a product or service. We expect the information to be there.
And if it’s not?
We move on to the next site. We’ll do it in a flash, without a second thought. And contrary to what many businesses believe, often the more information you give out, the more likely a reader will convert to a client or customer.
I’ve written about this before using the Barefoot Investor as a great example of how giving information and producing accessible website copy generates buzz and wins business.
The upshot is, in this information age, you simply don’t have the luxury of having below-par copy on your website. Your web copy needs to:
- Provide relevant information
- Answer the searcher’s questions
- Solve the searcher’s problems
It must also communicate the information appropriately.
Neither too simple nor too complicated. In other words, reader-friendly copy. There’s an art to getting this just right, and it’s a hallmark of well-executed website copy.
While these offer building blocks for excellent copy, there are also three other equally important elements:
1. Your website’s copy should address the reader’s issues
How do you do this? The answer is simple.
Give the answer.
The answer to the question.
I’m not kidding. Yes, it seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many websites fail to do this.
You’ve got a reader who has taken to a search engine with a specific issue. They’re looking for an answer to their problem or question. They’ve landed on your site. Great. But you can’t solely rely on an attractive-looking site to win the sale or get them to contact you.
Your website copy must address their concerns and answer their questions. It must outline the benefits of your product or service.
For example, consider this search query:
Why should I get a lawyer to draft my will?
Any search result should set out the pros and cons of getting a lawyer to draft a legal will. Perhaps one of the main concerns for the searcher is the cost of getting a lawyer to draft a will. Your copy should address this. Does it cost more? Why? What are the benefits of spending the money on a lawyer?
And so on.
It’s this simple device of question/answer, or problem/solution, which delivers big benefits to websites. And it marks a significant difference between website words that sit there filling up space, and words which successfully encourage the reader to take action, known as the call to action. (More about this in a little bit.)
2. Your website’s copy should establish your business as an authority
Sometimes, excellent website copy doesn’t aim for the sell.
People may visit your site for information only. They’re doing their research, but they aren’t ready to push the buy button.
It’s a brilliant opportunity for you to demonstrate your authority on a subject. It’s a great way to build trust with the reader. And it’s an opportunity to show that you’ve got quality, helpful material on your site.
Informative copy is part of a building process, eventually leading to the sale (or conversion). Often delivered in blog posts, informative copy is part of a longer-term strategy to convert visitors into customers or clients.
3. Your website’s copy should focus on direct response marketing
Direct response marketing is a marketing activity that prompts the reader to take action immediately.
Websites are all about generating a direct response. This is their power.
So the best website copy gets the reader to respond there and then. For example, it may prompt the reader to:
- Buy a product
- Read a related article
- Scroll to the bottom of a page
- Make contact
- Subscribe to a newsletter
- Get a free product
It persuades. Provokes thought. Prompts action.
The effectiveness of the direct response tool depends upon the call to action, which is a suggestion to the reader about the next step to take. The copy needs to be crafted to:
- Guide the reader to that end
- Make it easy to achieve
When done well, the copy integrates beautifully with the website’s design and images. It creates an exceptional user experience, culminating in the call to action. An example of this is Bold Web Design’s streamlined home page, guiding the reader to make contact at the bottom of the page.
The upshot is, the call to action needs to be as carefully considered as the rest of the website copy. It may only consist of a few words, but they can be the most powerful words on the page.
Website copy is one of the most effective sales devices of the digital age. When it’s written well, it addresses the reader’s problems and gives solutions.
The web copy should be crafted with the reader’s needs and intent in mind. And it should promote a direct response through a strong call to action.
Today’s consumers are savvy and well-researched with a low tolerance for poor communication. So it’s crucial that your website copy puts your best foot forward. Do it properly, and there’s a good chance your readers will stop and admire the Louboutins. Or the Manolos. Or even the Jimmy Choos.
Find out more about how my words can help your business. Get in touch today and let’s chat.
Over to you
What is it about a web page that keeps you scrolling to the bottom of the page? What calls to action have you come across that you’ve loved? Feel free to spill the beans!
By Kate Crocker