Every piece of content you write for your website should accomplish a predetermined set of goals; otherwise, what’s the point of having it on your site?
To make your content really work for you (that is, score you leads and conversions), have a checklist handy that lists out these 7 qualities your content must have in order to be effective.
- Benefit (or promise) in the headline
- Copy contains all necessary info to make a decision
- The text talks benefits, not features
- Tells a story
- Talks to the skeptic
- Well-written and engaging
Let’s look at each of these elements in greater depth.
The Headline Contains a Promise
Imagine yourself as your target audience. Does the headline compel you to keep reading?
In so many words, your headline should communicate a clear and direct promise, whether that promise is a solution to a problem or for more information on an exclusive promotion. The point is making sure the headline contains an unambiguous benefit to the reader.
Copy Has All Pertinent Information
To write effective sales copy, you need to step into the shoes of your target audience, imagining the questions they would ask about your product, service, or offer. If you’ve done that, your copy should contain all the necessary information that your prospective client should need to convert, or take the desired action: request an ebook, subscribe to your newsletter, sign up for a free quote or consultation, or complete an order.
Text Talks Benefits, Not Features
There is a place and time to focus on features, but that place is not in your sales copy and it’s not during your prospective customer’s first introduction to your product or service. At this stage in the sale, your customer only wants to know how your offering is going to:
- save them time and money
- make them look good to their peers
- make them feel good physically, emotionally, or spiritually
- protect their interests
- alleviate their pain (frustrations and inefficiencies)
Make your text talk benefits, and your readers will be that much closer to converting into customers.
Tells a Story
This element may not always be applicable, depending on the nature, length, and purpose of your copy, but remember that people love stories. Keep in mind that a “story” simply means conveying the necessary information about your product through examples, scenarios, or actual narratives (this last one is more aptly accomplished through white papers and case studies).
Talks to the Skeptics
In addition to anticipating questions about your offering, you should also anticipate objections. Address these potential concerns with trust symbols (that is, testimonials, logos of current customers, security badges, etc.). Including proofs (or positive examples of your offering in action) packs a powerful punch in squashing the concerns of your more dubious prospects. At the very least, your prospects will reach out for more information or to address any lingering concerns.
Contains a Single, Clear Call-to-Action
Your sales copy should have a specific objective in mind. That objective is your call-to-action. What action do you want your prospects to take after reading your text?
Your page should have a single, clear call-to-action, whether that’s filling out a form or clicking a link, so that it’s not confused in a jumble of other actions. The more you disperse your visitors’ options on a page, the less likely you are to convert a single one.
Is Well-Written and Engaging
How readable is your copy? For this element, read your piece out loud, ask for your colleagues’/coworkers’ feedback, and be prepared to make revisions. In addition to wording, you also need to consider format and scannability for online readers. Your online readers will mostly be daunted by unbroken blocks of text, so without bullet points and direct headings your content runs the risk of being unread. And if they don’t read it, they won’t convert.
Have we left anything out? What else does web copy need to be effective? Let us know in the comments!
Slaunwhite, Steve. “7-Point Checklist for Improving Your Website Copy.” http://internationalfreelancersacademy.com/improving-your-website-copy/. (January 27, 2015.)