Let's say your target customer has been hearing about your company for a few weeks now.
Friends have mentioned it in passing, they saw someone share your offer on Facebook, your product made an appearance on their feed, etc. Now they've decided that today's the day! They're finally going to check it out. They head to your website, and then...
Do they discover that your product is what they've been looking for all along and they just haven't been able to articulate their needs into words until now? Do they make a connection with your brand's personality and feel as if they've found their people? Or do they get confused, fiddle around with the menu for five seconds, then leave, frustrated because they've wasted their time yet again?
The difference between these user experiences comes down to two things: design and messaging.
Yes, you need an appealing web design and seamless UX. Your visitors need to know where to go, how to buy, and what's expected of them right out of the gate. But to turn that visitor into a customer, you need to build trust, rapport, and excitement. That's where good copywriting comes in.
Now, the word "copywriter" is a confusing word in and of itself.
It harks back to the days of the Don Draper types on Madison Avenue writing pithy slogans for Cheerios and Lucky Strike cigarettes while day-drinking heavy glasses of scotch. But unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the world Don Draper lived in no longer exists, and copywriting has changed right along with the times.
You need more than just a catchphrase to sell a product - you'll need to create an emotional experience that educates and inspires. That's why "copywriting" today basically means nothing more than persuasive writing, which is what we happen to specialize in.
Of course, you can try to do this on your own.
If you're building your first website, or this is your first MVP in your very first iteration, it may not make sense for your business to invest heavily in copywriting. And if you're currently working with early adopters, you may not know exactly what your brand or your messaging is yet. That's okay.
But when you're ready to "cross the chasm," and start appealing to bigger markets, you've got to take every advantage over your competitors that's available. And in our opinion, there's no better way to go after the big fish than to out-write them online.
Interested in our past work?
We've worked on dozens of sites. Check out a few examples on our Portfolio.
What makes for great web content?
First, you need that human element.
Pretend you're talking about your business to someone at a cocktail party. You're not "friends" per se, but you probably share some common interests since you've ended up in the same room together. Make sure your website content treats them with respect, but is also confident enough to keep it business-casual. (No one wants to hear jargon at a cocktail party.)
Second, you should play to their highest intelligence.
No one likes to be talked down to. No one likes to be 'sold.' And no one's buying your claims that you're "changing the world" or "revolutionizing" something. Subjective claims can cause prospects to become skeptical almost immediately, especially if you're a newer business. Just talk to people on your site like you would a peer or colleague, focus on the benefits your product will provide, and assume that prospects don't need everything spelled out for them. Subtlety builds curiosity.
Finally, great web content shouldn't waste time.
What do visitors need to know? Your instincts might tell you to talk about all of the features and capabilities, but those aren't going to sell someone on your product, because it's difficult to relate to features over benefits. Instead of telling, try to show them a little more.
Give them examples of what their day-to-day would look like once they've started using your product or service. What are the benefits? That's really all people care about. Does it solve a problem I'm experiencing, and what sort of time and energy will I have to expend to use it?
In Short: Stick to the basics, keep it light and fun, and save the feature-heavy educational stuff for other materials like downloadable guides.
A Few Stats to Keep in Mind:
1) 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. (Source: Adobe)
2) Once on a company's homepage, 86% of visitors want to see information about that company's products/services. (Source: HubSpot)
3) More than half (59%) would avoid doing business with a company who made obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. (Source: RealBusiness)
4) On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. (Source: Copyblogger)
5) Mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online. (Source: comScore)
Ready to be understood online?
"Amber and John are incredible to work with. The process of presenting their work and implementing the changes I wanted was flawless. More than anything else, I appreciated their perspective. I didn't quite know it at the time, but I truly needed this. They did their homework in assessing my market and my competition. There are hundreds of photographers out there, so the most valuable service Amber & John provided was setting my brand apart. I cannot recommend them highly enough. You won't regret making them a part of your marketing plan."
- Jason Brown, Founder of J Brown Photography