Your average visitor will take between 3 – 5 seconds to decide whether to stay on your site and explore further.
If they do stay, most will spend LESS than 3 minutes total on your site.
Your website text must be crafted to accommodate the above facts by making a great first impression and getting your important message across – fast.
How do you do that?
Well my first suggestion is always that people hire a pro writer. But that simply isn’t in the budget for everyone. If you are already pretty handy at writing, just knowing a bit about writing sales copy for web – and keywording – can allow you to do a good job on your own.
Here are 6 steps to crafting effective web pages.
1. Know your audience and address their “pain”.
Picture a typical user of your services. They arrived at your site for a reason. What is their need or desire? Do they have a problem they want you to solve? Do they have a question you can answer? Speak to that need and grab their attention!
It’s critical to grasp the fact that your website visitors really aren’t interested in you so much as in how you can make their life better. If you speak to your audience about what you can do for them, you have them hooked. As Andy Maslen, author of “Write to Sell” said; people are always tuned to radio WIFM – “What’s In it For Me?” Never lose sight of that fact.
Compelling web copy is more effective if written as if you are speaking directly to one person. Asking questions is a good tactic to speak to your audience and help engage interest. Just like meeting people in person, people like to be asked about themselves!
So keep your focus on your visitor. Example:
Typical website text: Dapper dogs offers private training for busy people.
Better: Need to train your dog but can’t fit classes into your busy schedule? We offer private dog training in your home, while you work or play!
The one time to feel free to talk about you is in your “about us” page. Then go ahead and tell them exactly why you are a great Dog Pro!
2. Keep your content short, focused and engaging.
Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
People do not read a website like a book. They want the short version, or “gist”. They most likely will not read any of your pages entirely. They may jump around and skim. Keeping it simple allows them to fully *get* your message.
- Know your message for your visitors and stick to it
- Offer all text in easy to read, bits, bites and bullet points
- Headlines and sub headlines should make skimming the page easy. Paragraphs should be short
- Use engaging graphics and appropriate photos to illustrate points and draw attention where you most want it
3. Studies show people buy based on benefits, not features.
Not sure of the difference between a feature and a benefit? You might say features create benefits, so make sure you focus not only on what you offer, but on the results that come from what you offer.
Positive training methods
Open Enrollment classes
State of the art facility
A better trained and happier dog
Convenient, no lost class fees
Comfort for client, safety for their pooch
Always ask yourself, “What do I do for my client that sets me apart? When choosing between you and your competition, they will choose the services that appear to benefit them, and their pet, the most.
4. Help them decide.
So maybe your services sound great, but your site visitor is still unsure. How does someone know you are legit? Why should they pick Happy Hound over Dapper Dog? Client testimonials, awards, and/or recommendations (e.g. “Veterinarian Recommended”) are great ways to gain trust and assure visitors they are making a good decision. Short quotes from testimonials can be integrated into every page giving a positive endorsement that backs up your message for that page. Your full testimonials can then be placed on their own page for those that want to read the full versions.
5. Remove risk.
A free initial chat (make it short, just so they can get to know you, don’t give away your valuable services) or other little inducement like a tour of your facility can be the tipping factor between you and a competitor. People hate buying blind and your willingness to meet them halfway builds trust. Once they’ve met you, or talked to you on the phone, they will feel more comfortable choosing you, and you’ve gained an advantage over your competitors.
6. Call to Action.
Every good bit of sales copy has a call to action. Studies show people respond to instructions so tell them what you want them to do! Examples: “Call today – 555 •1212!” or “Email us to sign up <with email link>”.
7. Use Keywords
Always use words and phrases on your pages that people might use to search for you. Use your visitor’s way of speaking. Keep industry specific language to a minimum unless you are selling to someone in your industry or profession. Use geographic info to target your area – state, county, city, neighborhood, or a combination.
Putting it all together.
Below is a super quick example of the above points, put into action. In one headline, and four super short paragraphs it:
- Addresses the need or problem (in this example, puppy problems)
- Shows benefits (ending up with a well behaved, fun puppy; convenience, no fuss training for busy people that don’t have time for classes.)
- Shows why trust (vet recommended, highly reviewed, testimonials from happy clients)
- Removes risk and gives the call to action (free initial call or visit, call today)
- SEO friendly
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Give us a call today for a FREE 15 minute initial chat, or schedule a free tour of our comfortable and puppy friendly board and train facility. We look forward to answering any questions you have! #555-1212.
Keep in mind that your site is primarily to gain new clients. You do not need to tell them every little thing about what will happen after they become your client. You can save form filling and all the tiny details for your initial interaction, or other appropriate times. While you can use your site to disseminate info, or educate readers, make sure that you keep that in a secondary position, like a hidden area for clients only, or articles in a blog. Do not overwhelm your visitor with too much, too soon. Simple is best.
Lastly, always have a grammar savvy person read and edit your text. Even writing pros miss mistakes in their own writing. A second pair of eyes will help you catch mistakes and may also net you some great suggestions. Don’t be shy or defensive. Constructive criticism is a GOOD thing. Embrace it.