writing for the web
language is the new corporate identity
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
so e-brands need to talk!
With the new electronic age the way we communicate is really changing. The internet is making us all look again at the way we speak, write and do business.
This is because we are in the middle of the most fabulous global conversation there has ever been.
language is the central element of the web
That language must feel right for the audience in its tone, modulation and approach.
Internet communication, whether it’s e-mail or someone visiting a website, is truly one-to-one. This relationship shifts the control to the individual. The site doesn’t approach them; they approach it, and they can work through it in any order they like and leave at the click of a button.
Beware: the on-line customer is tough, impatient and gone in a click.
Some strong advice for businesses wanting to create really effective copy for their website: leave your ego at the door.
change the way you think
There are a whole host of reasons why having great copy on your website can drive brilliant results for your business, but the bottom line is this: you only have a matter of seconds to grab and hold the attention of potential customers. While the design and look of your website is very important, great copy is absolutely fundamental to getting good results from your site. Copy must engage the reader immediately, speaking directly to their problems.
This sounds straightforward enough in theory, but most digital media experts agree, most professionals need to change the way they think about writing for the web. Creating genuinely effective website copy requires a fundamental shift in perspective for most writers.
The single biggest mistake people make, is to focus on themselves, on their products and services. Most companies when they set out to create an online marketing initiative are way too egotistical. Their websites are organised around what their products and services do. All about features… not benefits! Well no one cares that much about your products and services! What they really care about are their own problems and how you can help them to solve them.
know your audience
What marketers need to do instead, is to think very carefully about who their potential customers are, and what they need. Do this simple exercise. Make a list of the various categories of customer who will be coming to your site. These are your ‘buyer profiles’. Now, flesh out these buyer profiles. Build a story around them, to help identify what their needs and problems are and how your business will solve them better than any of your competitors.
Take a small hotel, for example. In this case, some buyer profiles might include an independent business person, the travel department of a large corporate with headquarters nearby, a young couple looking for a venue for their wedding reception and a family on holiday. We recommend you don’t create information about your hotel online until you can identify what are the specific buyer profiles of the people who are coming to it. Once you know who your target buyers are, you need to ‘interview’ those buyer personas. Find out, in their words, who they are and what problems they have that your organisation’s products and services can solve.
help them - not yourself
This shift in perspective is incredibly effective at boosting the effectiveness of your web copy and will drive more business through your website. The old approach to copywriting fails because it assumes that the audience is already interested in your product. In fact, what they are interested in is finding solutions to their own problems. The big step, is forgetting about your own ego, forgetting about your own product, and thinking instead about what the problems are that you are going to help solve.
If you can understand what motivates a person to be interested in your product and what their problems are, then you are not just rattling off what’s great about what you do. Understanding the buyer will help you to be a much better salesperson.
The great news is that you probably already know a great deal about your customers. By applying that knowledge to the rewriting of your web copy, you could revolutionise the effectiveness of your site.