Is your website producing the results you want? Is the recession hitting you? It may be that your ‘DIY’ text isn’t cutting the ice. You are the expert on your business, so your text may well cover all your product facts adequately, but the English may be unpersuasive, unclear, or unprofessional to your customers, without you realising it…
Text has the final say on sales – an often overlooked reality
Graphics are really important for first impressions but text has the final say on the effectiveness of an email or website, as proven by research. Many websites look nice enough, but their professionalism, credibility, and sales appeal are let down by the text. In the technological world of the Internet, the skills and discipline of good writing are often overlooked. Web development companies, though usually well trained in graphic design and programming, may lack skills in content writing and information presentation.
Confusing or tedious language, jargon, or bad spelling and grammar can put people off, along with company facts dumped on websites – “we are…we do…our products”. Viewers can get tired of wading through all this to find something they need, and give up, moving on with one click.
So what is it about website text that will bring sales in for you?
First things first…priorities
It’s important to guide a person’s eye directly to the most vital information first – a general design principle. Many websites, even for some high profile companies, hit us with so much information all over the screen that it’s hard to know where to look first – confusing. Information hierarchy based on relative importance is the answer – text needs to stand out more for important information and be less prominent for mere details. If too many things are highlighted, nothing will get special attention…as they say “too many priorities means no priorities”. So, what are the most vital things you need to get across?…
Talk in terms of customer interests, not just product features
The first thing you need to get across after you clearly show what you’re selling is why viewers should buy from you – what’s in it for them. Many Websites have company facts ‘dumped’ on them like “we are…we do…our products…” and viewers can get tired of wading through all this to find what’s important to answer their needs, fears, dreams, and questions. What car buyer cares about double overhead cams or alloy wheels unless he or she knows that these mean greater fuel efficiency and acceleration? State your unique value propositions and differentiators – the value your company offers customers that others don’t or can’t do so well.
Concise and relevant
Viewers generally browse websites somewhat impatiently, in contrast to printed material where they are happy to relax and take their time. So, to hold attention, website text generally needs to be concise and to the point – relevant to your readers’ interests. This is even more important for email newsletters. In a busy world of information overload, a simple clear presentation is more effective than busy clutter.
Short versus long?
There’s no point in text dragging out longer than necessary to get the main points across clearly and convincingly. In advertising they say “the more you tell the more you sell”. A contradiction? We’re talking about conveying lots of useful and relevant information, concisely written, to assure people of the credibility and value of a company or product. Long-winded waffle that doesn’t actually say much only bores and loses people.
Accurate and realistic claims
Text needs to be truthful and down-to-earth, so any claims you make need to be backed up with facts or figures. Exaggerated hype like “best offer in town” or “unbeatable value” only raises doubts or cynicism, especially for the commonly sceptical Kiwi.
Credentials that build trust – a biggy these days
Trust is becoming more of an issue these days with so many empty claims, hype, and scams out there. What evidence can you show your viewers of your trustworthiness and competence to ‘deliver the goods’? Tell them your qualifications, experience, testimonials, industry association memberships, plus any guarantees you offer.
Scanable – getting the gist at a glance
Meaningful headings and lists are important for viewers to be able to scan quickly to get the gist of your message. Most people don’t want to wade through a sea of text to find what they’re looking for, like the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’. Most people will get impatient and bail out if they can’t see your message quickly.
The personal touch
Text written in a personal one-to-one manner can be effective to make a connection and build trust, versus an impersonal ‘broadcast to the masses’. Encountering real people builds rapport and credibility with a viewer. Remember the old adage…”people do business with people”. This is particularly true for services – more so than for commodity products.
Attracting searchers from Google
Optimisation of web pages to attract search engine traffic relies much on the text, requiring key search words and phrases to be weaved into the body text, headings, links, page titles, and meta data. Lots of articles providing useful information on your site can draw strong search engine traffic, if sprinkled with relevant key words and phrases. Links from other websites, especially using those same key words, will raise your site’s profile too.
Clear call to action
You need to be clear on the intended purpose and desired outcomes for your website – whether to sell products, take bookings, get newsletter subscriptions, etc. To this end, the text needs to persuade and give a clear call to action. Make it simple, easy, and attractive for people to do business with you!
Getting it right to bring in the sales…
Does this all sound common sense and easy? It seems most people struggle to put words together that achieve all the above aims, so finding someone with good web writing skills is important – a friend, business associate, or professional. An objective outsider can often see things that you can’t and write more from your customer’s viewpoint, reaching them more effectively. Good professional copywriting can more than pay for itself through increased sales. See below if you want help.