Lisa Merriam

Web Copy Writing that Sells

Web copy writing that sells requires you to have an out-of-body experience. You have to get out of your own world and put yourself in the place of your customer. Many companies are so concerned with what they want to say about their products that they never consider what their customers want to hear. Here are some tips for web copy writing with the customer’s perspective, needs, and experience in mind:

Take the point of view of your customer

If your customer is going to buy your product, they have a particular need to address or problem to solve. This is your starting perspective point. Start with describing a problem first, and then talk about how your product addresses it. End with your credentials. Don’t make the mistake of reversing the order. Don’t start saying you are the most effective exterminator in town and that your service features organic compounds—and only at the end talking about eliminating termites.

Use words your customers use

Many companies communicate internally with jargon that can confuse and alienate customers. Take the time to listen to how customers talk about their problems and how they describe their ideal solutions. You might think your business is “managed services” while your customer says “someone to help me keep my software current”.

Rich copy replaces long copy in selling effectiveness

It was once the axiom of the direct response business that “long copy sells”. What works in print doesn’t work online. Readers engage with your content in successive dives. First they’ll do a quick scan to see if what you have to say is worth their time. Make sure your copy scans well and engages readers. Then they’ll come back and read in more detail. If they are really interested, they will want to do a deep dive. Accommodate interest by making access to rich copy easy. Provide white papers, definitions, detailed specs, demos, videos, maps and charts—whatever is relevant to slacking the thirst of a truly interested prospect.

Be findable: Write to optimize search

You can’t sell if no one can find you. We are constantly shocked that many companies don’t do the basics for optimizing their Web sites and web copy writing for search. Do you know what your company looks like on a search engine results page? Does each and every page, image, download and link on your site have its own relevant title, description and keywords? Are you using formatting to boost the effectiveness of your copy? Search engine optimization is a complex and constantly changing art and science—but don’t let complexity keep you from getting the basics right. (see this post on writing the most basic elements for search engine optimization)

Have a call to action

Writing to sell is writing to convince the reader to want to do something. No piece of sales writing is complete without giving the reader at least one specific action to take and a reason for taking it. Your call to action can be as simple and direct as asking for an order, as in “Buy It Now”. It could be more complex, like “Call for a free consultation and get a copy of our ‘Guide to Air Condition Options’, a $30 dollar value”. Just make sure your call to action is clear, specific, prominent and compelling.

Check out this Marketing Sherpa interview on how good web copy writing and basic SEO increased  traffic 308%