To generate greater cash results, most business owners will focus on the technical components of their operation. They’ll hire pricey web developers. They’ll buy the latest tools. And, they’ll consult with the online marketing gurus on how to track and measure.
So, why are they still struggling, working around the clock and seeing only paltry revenue?
The bottom line is, if your words don’t convince your audience to buy, you’re just chasing your tail. If you’ve incorporated all the “bells and whistles” and consulted with all the online marketing charlatans, and still have NOT hit your sales bullseye, it’s time to fix the revenue-pumping heart of your business: your web copy.
If you keep tweaking the technical aspects of your business, but you neglect your copy and content, you’re going to be stuck in a vicious cycle of “just squeaking by” or even borderline bankruptcy. So, what I want to take a hard look at is why you’re still struggling, what isn’t working with your web copy and what you can change, easily and immediately.
Because the simple truth is that many business owners who have drop-dead ugly websites, and NO bells and whistles, are getting obscenely RICH (I should know; I’ve written copy for a lot of these “ugly” websites) — without belaboring the technical minutiae. If you continuously invest in the technical, but don’t see any results, that’s the very definition of insanity.
In my years of working online and writing copy for the small business community, there are a few tactics that remain evergreen, which means they will always work! Let’s explore some of the more vital web copywriting components that many small business owners overlook.
Craft a headline that stops them dead in their tracks
There’s a lot at stake if you mess this up. The headline is your audience’s very first introduction to your sales page. With everything that’s clamoring for your audience’s attention, you need an eye-grabbing headline that’s far from mediocre.
First things first, the headline should NOT look like a sales pitch or an ad. With all of the ads your audience is already inundated with, any headline that looks sales-y will be a huge red flag.
To capture the reader’s attention within seconds and entice them to keep reading, try an “editorial” headline that does one or more of the following:
- Stimulates the imagination by demonstrating what’s possible
- Imagine never having to fear the ticking time bomb known as age-related mental decline…
- Arouses curiosity
- Wedding day just around the corner? If you’re short on time, the real trick to fighting flab and winning is…
- Gives a warning
- Before Your Next Prostate Exam, Find Out the Bone-Chilling Truth About Using Organized Medicine to Treat Prostatic Disease
- Begins with the phrase “How to”
- How to STOP getting fooled by “financial advisors” who FAIL to beat market averages — and start getting REAL stock market results
- Asks a question
- Would you like a rare inside glimpse of how an investing titan rakes in millions on the stock market?
- Provokes an emotion
- Dementia triggers more bone-chilling fear among people than all other health conditions combined — and with this newly discovered super food, it’s entirely preventable
- Agitates a pain or problem
- Brides: Did you wait until the last minute to get in shape and now you’re running out of time?
- Makes a jaw-dropping declaration
- Thanks to these 5 super foods, it’s never been easier to eliminate aggravating joint pain, while dropping stubborn fat
- Reveals a secret
- The secret to a more focused, confident and high-achieving student
- Makes a promise
- Cure Chronic Pain & Make Over Your Body — Naturally, Easily & Permanently — in Just 7 Days
- Points out an irresistible benefit
- Find out the top 5 foods that can pain-proof, fat-proof and even disease-proof your body
If you try too hard to sell, you’ll come off as a slimy, sleazy used car salesman. Instead, speak from the heart, be natural and write like you’re speaking directly to one person.
Let me ask you something: have you ever had a one-on-one conversation with a good friend over a cup of coffee/tea at Starbuck’s or your favorite cafe? THAT is the natural approach you want to bring to your sales copywriting.
Talk to your customers in an up-close-and-personal, conversational way — the same way you would at the cafe when talking to a good friend. Connect with them on an emotional level. This approach will impart a sense of trust and credibility.
Being conversational also means speaking in words your audience can relate to. You don’t need to brainstorm buzz words and phrases, thinking that it will help you by setting you apart in the marketplace. Instead, the practice of using made-up jargon will drive your customers away. If your audience has to pause and ask, “What in the world does that mean anyway?”, then you’ve already lost the sale.
Make them laugh, ask a thought-provoking question, answer a common question honestly, stir their feelings and, above all, use the words that your audience is already using.
Answer “What’s in it for me?”
Sorry to be blunt, but your audience doesn’t care about your product and how great you think it is. They care about one thing and one thing only: “What’s in it for ME?” Answer that question and you’ll have scandalous cash results. To do so, focus less on product features and more on audience benefits and results. Use powerful, direct and specific keywords that your audience can relate to and easily understand, instead of ambiguous metaphors. To invite your reader into the conversation, refrain from using an “I, me, or we” focus, and incorporate a “you/your” focus. For example, here are two different headlines on the same topic. One features a “me” focus and one has a “you” focus:
“MY favorite copywriting tips that are so fun for ME to write and make ME a ton of money”
“Copywriting Crash Course: 5 DIY tips to help YOU get the credit card, steal YOUR competitors’ customers and reap sales while YOU sleep!”
Do you see the difference? The second headline demonstrates reader benefit: how they can make more money, snag more customers and do it all effortlessly. Speak to them about what they want and the credit card will be yours.
To fully answer the “what’s in it for me” question when writing sales copy for any product or service, use this blueprint:
- Start by defining the problem. Don’t ever assume that the audience knows there is a problem. Define it and agitate it, so the reader can quickly relate and take immediate ownership.
- Why does the problem persist? Examine other solutions in the marketplace that have tried and failed to produce desirable results (Example for a life coach: “Other life coaches only provide a “surface-level” fix to deeply-rooted internal problems…”)Here, you want to build anticipation for your solution.
- What’s possible? Give your audience a vision of how much better (for example: simpler, more organized, etc.) their lives will be when they buy your product or service (Example for a life coach: “You CAN do work you love, without sacrificing your personal time, health and happiness…”.)
- What’s different now? Insert your unique selling proposition (USP). This is what sets apart you, your product/service or business from competitors.
- Call to action: ask for the sale. Start with a strong action verb to mobilize your reader to take action and, by all means, tell your reader exactly what to do next. Don’t ever assume that your audience knows what to do!
- Include your secure order assurance script.
- Reinforce/summarize exactly what the customer will receive and how they will receive it.
- Everyone’s buying intervals vary, so include calls to action at various points on the sales page.
- Finally, make the act of buying pathetically easy (Example: Grab your very own copy via instant download — it just takes one simple step!).
Bonus Tip: Graphics
A big part of engagement and conversion has to do with visual communication. Your homepage banner or sales page is prime real estate for seizing your audience’s attention and persuading them to peruse your page further or even click a few product or service links. Although there are exceptions to this rule, the majority of the time, the best way to entice viewers is with a “lifestyle” photo.Focusing on the product and how pretty the packaging is typically doesn’t work. Instead of a product photo, choose a photo that is a better reflection of the results your product delivers. You want to evoke desirable emotions and spark the imagination as to what’s possible WHEN customers buy your products. The exception to this would be businesses in the food niche (such as bakeries, food trucks, catering, etc.). For businesses in that industry, use close-up images of your mouthwatering options.
For lifestyle images, choose graphics that embody the feelings you want your audience to experience: freedom, joy, radiant health, etc. Remember: people don’t buy “products and services” — they’re buying an experience, a solution and resolution of their pain or problem. Remember the insanely successful Proactive ads? The infomercials featured emotional story after story after story AND image after image after image that you could relate to before they ever showed you a picture of product bottles. Then, BAM, before you knew it, you had pulled out your credit card.
Use a photo that your audience can relate to. Try using a photo that features the people your product or service will help. Help your audience see themselves in your ads and sales pages. Later on in the sales page, when you introduce the solution, is the best place to display a product photo.
Are you dead serious about getting cash results in the new year?
In order to run a profitable business, your website copy must close the sale. If every business strategy you’ve applied previously is leaving you frustrated and tapped out (mentally, physically and financially), stop relying on the external and start focusing on the internal: the emotionally charged, psychologically irresistible words on your website.
(If you need a professional copywriter to audit your existing web copy and walk you through exactly what is holding back your business and why your business isn’t prospering, I’m your girl! Let’s do this!)