Web Copy That Sells In 2021

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It’s easy to describe how your business helps its customers. Why do so many websites get this first, most essential step wrong? Here’s how to write web copy that sells.
How to write web copy that sells

Communicate with the visitors to your website, or risk losing them.

I specialize in service-based business digital marketing. Most of my daily work focuses on implementing SEO campaigns and fixing technical SEO problems for a variety of businesses. 

But the most common problem I see are business websites that don’t effectively communicate with their visitors. Instead, these websites resort to jargon-filled come-ons, or worse, a photo of an ocean, a bridge to…somewhere, or perhaps a mighty oak.

Huh? What does this business do?

Business writing is no different than business speaking. Your job as a web copywriter is to persuade your visitors to take some physical action such as submitting a form, watching a video, or answering a survey. 

Ultimately, you need to show your visitors you are the perfect solution to their problem. This is the most critical task of web copy that sells.

The good news is, writing effective copy doesn’t require elite writing skills. In fact, it’s very likely that you already know how to speak effectively about your business. 

More Effective Website Copywriting

Solve Your Visitor’s Problem

Your business website is probably not a social media site. People aren’t there to hang out and chat or game with their friends. 

If someone is visiting your business website, it’s because they have a problem, and they think you can help them solve it

Your first task is to describe the problem(s) you solve as quickly as possible. The closer you target your problem-solving description to the exact problem they have, the easier it will be to get a conversion or inquiry. 

How Do Customers Think About Your Service?

So how do you get into the minds of your ideal prospects? Here are a few ideas to help you:

  • Ask your customers – listen for the way they talk about the problem you solve.
  • Conduct surveys – Email or post a survey link on Facebook.
  • Visit Quora, Facebook Groups or Amazon Reviews – Read the comments and look at what people are saying about the problems they have. 
  • Look at “People Also Ask” on Google when searching for terms related to your business.
  • Look at auto-suggest in Google when doing searches on your related business terms.

The Voice of Your Visitors

web copy that sells

Speak to your website’s visitors in their language. Create a statement of understanding around your product or service:

  • We know what you are going through, we can help you. 
  • If you have this problem, then we are your solution. 

Most businesses resort to insider jargon, which they are comfortable with, but their ideal prospects may not know. This problem is most often seen at the largest part of the sales funnel, when the ideal prospect is not searching using terms that would lead them to the typical, jargon-esque website. 

The problem is especially acute when the website copywriter is highly experienced in their field. “The curse of knowledge” makes it hard to get outside your own head and your intimate understanding of your business. 

It may help to think about your product or service this way: 

If a 10-year-old asked you what you do, how would you explain your business to them?

There are even some interesting writing tools out there such as Clearscope.io, which may coach you into writing at a “lower” or “higher” reading level, based on the subject matter and correlated to the highest-ranking pages. 

In short, if you are writing at a 12th grade level, but the best-ranking pages are written at an 8th grade level, you’re probably overshooting the reading level of your ideal prospects. 

Generally, I find that when I write, Clearscope wants me to simplify, sometimes a lot! 

Note that there are exceptions. If you’re trying to attract a highly technical audience to whom you don’t want to condescend, then you will want to use at least some jargon to establish your credentials and create “understanding” that way. 

Include a few terms or acronyms that help reassure your visitor that you understand their business and/or problem. 

For example, financial advisors understand the term “AUM”, which stands for “Assets Under Management”. When I market to financial planners, I always make sure to toss that in a cheerful “AUM” to my otherwise pedantic solicitation, since it quickly establishes that I have some understanding of their goals.

In any event, it’s best not to make “jargon” your entire presentation. Jargon-only marketing is the part that nearly every business gets wrong.

Match the Step of the Buyer’s Journey

Everybody who arrives at your website is on one of four steps in their journey to purchase a product or service that you offer. 

Perhaps the visitor has only a vague idea that they even have a problem. Perhaps they realize they have a problem, and they’re now in “research mode”. 

Or they may be ready to buy right now.

It’s your job to ask for the conversion that matches the stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Buyer’s Journey Stages

  1. Clueless and trying to define their problem.
  2. Mildly aware and researching.
  3. Very aware and comparing.
  4. Ready to buy.

Most visitors to your website will probably be in one of these places. 

That means you need to figure out where your ideal prospect is in the Buying Journey and tailor your content for that visitor. Thereafter, fill in the other pieces of the buying journey to catch the other 20% of visitors. 

Focus your content and pitch on the visitor who will be your best customer, most often.

Buyer’s Journey Example

A business owner who’s looking for a digital marketing company is often an owner who’s worked with a digital marketing company before, wasn’t thrilled, and wants a new one. 

Less likely (and less able to buy) is the business owner who is searching the web to find out what digital marketing is. “Digital marketing is nearly every type of non-traditional media marketing…” – this type of copy is at the wrong spot of the buyer’s journey for the ideal prospect.

If they’re in Information Gathering mode, the easiest conversion is to offer them more information.

Conversion Example

A 10-Day Email Course featuring my best website search engine optimization tips! Each day, you’ll receive a new tip. In 10 days, you’ll know everything you need to know to feel confident in your SEO purchase decision. 

A major side-benefit: You’re getting into their inbox 10 times!!

Stand Out

Pick ten of your competitors — most of the time, they’re all saying variations on the same thing. 

Make your language unique, and you will draw in visitors and help differentiate you from the competition. 

When all of that blends together in the mind of the buyer, you have a prime opportunity to differentiate yourself. You must say something better — something that stands out.

  • Credibility – What makes you most credible in the eyes of a typical buyer? Perhaps you’ve built dozens of websites, reached #1 in Google or ranked in the Map Pack for multiple clients, etc.
  • Be Unique. What particular value do you provide? What kind of things can you build into your offer language to make you stand out? EX: A money-back guarantee: you happily offer to refund the client’s money if they’re not happy with your product or service.”
  • Relevance – What is it that’s most relevant to your buyer at that stage of their journey? 

EX: “SEO Genies” – help to stand out in a sea of similar competition. Brand-able twists like that can help carry the service metaphor all the way through. 

Tell Your Visitors What to Do Next

The most important part of converting visitors is that you need to tell people what to do.

What is your “Call-to-Action” (CTA):

  • Schedule Your Free Consultation.
  • Call me for a Free Quote.
  • Click this button to enroll in this course.

Summary

Surveys vary, but suffice it to say that well over 90% of visitors to your website are not ready to do business the minute they arrive.

Therefore, when writing website copy, care must be taken to present compelling information to potential clients who are at different stages of the Buyer’s Journey. Short, clear and meaningful communication with your ideal audience will result in more closed business deals. Powerful website copy and a clear presentation is the most impactful change you can make to your website today.

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About David Victor​

Since 2003, David and his team have helped SMBs throughout the United States increase the value of their business by improving their online visibility to drive sales.

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