Connect, Convince, Convert: 3 Steps To Write Web Articles
How does writing online copy for websites and blogs differ from writing for offline materials such as brochures? While there are many similarities, there are also some major differences. Get it right and you’re well on your way to engaging with and converting your visitors into customers.
One of the questions I get asked a lot at courses and seminars is: “How does writing online copy for websites or blogs etc, differ from writing copy for offline materials such as brochures and flyers?” And the honest answer is that there are certainly differences… but not as many as you would expect. For example, whatever you’re writing the purpose remains the same. You want to bring someone’s attention to something.
So you’ll need to start with a headline or opening sentence that’s really going to get them to sit up and take notice. You probably want to persuade them to follow your train of thought for a little longer before getting them to actually do something. In other words, you’ll want to encourage them to connect before you convince and convert them to your way of thinking. Sounds blunt when you put it like that doesn’t it? But that’s fundamentally the purpose of marketing. And along with good spelling and grammar, it’s the same whether you’re writing online or offline materials.
There is one major difference though and it’s the reason why just bunging your brochure text online is really not going to work. Whereas the job of a glossy brochure is to attract someone’s attention while they’re busy doing something else, when most people come to your website they are likely to already have pre-formed questions in their minds about what they’re looking for. So your job is to get inside their heads and work out what those questions might be in advance… and then answer them. To do that most effectively, there are a few things you need to know. Who your customer is, what motivates them, what demotivates them and how your competitors are responding to their needs. Phew. That’s a lot of detective work right there upfront. I hope you brought a spade.
Imagine understanding exactly what someone’s biggest headache is and what they may have tried to relieve it with in the past, and knowing that you have a specially formulated pill crafted just for them that will take away their headache in minutes. What a sense of relief you’re going to be able to bring to them! And that’s exactly how you connect with people. By identifying what their problem or pain is and presenting them with a tailored solution.
Your copy should feature three times more ‘you’s’ than ‘I’s or ‘we’s’ We all want to feel that we’re being spoken to directly, that the message we’re reading was written especially for us so your copy should feature three times more ‘you’s’ than ‘I’s or ‘we’s’. Why? Because we all like to feel special, unique. I’m sure at some point you’ve received a piece of direct mail or a letter that starts with ‘Dear Customer’. How does that make you feel? Like one of the crowd probably. Unless they’re offering you something you’ve been desperate for, you are very unlikely to read any further. So keep that in mind when you write your copy. For you to be able to market effectively to your ideal customer, you have to write a script specifically for that one person. And that means getting inside their heads. Who are they? What interests them? What do they want to know? What kind of questions and objections are they likely to have? How can you make their life better? Who do you most want to serve? What reasons are you going to give them to tell all their friends about you?
Convince Them You’re The Real Deal
If you look at some of the most successful brands, they often use stories to hook us in. For those of you who were around in the UK during the 1980s, you might remember the Nescafe Gold Blend adverts on TV which centred around a couple on the edge of an affair. The whole script revolved around whether or not their relationship would go beyond a cup of coffee! It was every bit as compelling as a soap opera storyline.
Stories create an experience that connects with our hearts, not just our intellect. They weave an invisible but very strong thread between a brand and its customers. So let’s take a look at how you can use stories to bring your message alive and convince your customers to follow wherever you lead.
How did your brand originate? What’s your unique story? Perhaps, like my dad, you started out in your garden shed. His lifelong ambition was to create something practical that people would feel comfortable sharing their homes with so he designed a range of home office furniture with a real wood veneer. He would travel around the high-end furniture stores with a prototype in the back of his car and whenever we holidayed anywhere it invariably involved visiting several furniture shops on the way. Twenty years later he runs a very successful business supplying some of the biggest retailers in the UK.
If your brand can tell an interesting story that people can identify with, which is backed up by a solid demonstration of the founder’s original values, you’ll deliver a very strong and authentic customer experience. And because people trust stories more than they trust general information, those customers will follow you anywhere. They’re also much more likely to tell their friends about you.
Convert Lookers To Bookers
So by now you’ll know what you’re passionate about, why that matters to your reader and exactly who that reader is. You’ll also understand the problem you solve and what makes your product or service stand out.
But what are the missing ingredients that are going to give your reader the final nudge they need to commit to you and make a purchase or sign up to your list or rave about you to their friends on Facebook?
You need to address and overcome any objections your customer is likely to have by answering questions directly Social proof. In the form of testimonials, statistics and any positive PR or press coverage you’ve received. This is also the part of your copy where you need to address and overcome any objections your customer is likely to have by answering questions directly and providing reassurance.
Finally there’s the Call to Action – where you tell them to buy now, with urgency. And it’s where most web articles fall flat on their face. I’m amazed at the number of times I’ve read a really compelling piece of copy, only to have it kind of wimp out at the end.
This is where the energy needs to be ramped up! Sometimes it helps to write this piece of your content first. What do you want them to do as a result of engaging with your content? People expect to be reminded of the benefits and be told exactly what to do next.
So there you have it – 3 steps to compelling web copy. One extra tip to finish: offer a money back guarantee and you’ll improve your conversion rates dramatically without increasing the number of people who abuse your generosity. Read more here
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