Copywriting website content that sells is very difficult…but it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve been writing website content for companies, agencies and clients my entire career. Actually, I kind of stumbled into it.
Early in my career, people began complimenting me on my writing style and asking me to help write their content. Which is kind of ironic, because I majored in computer science and minored in mathematics. Nevertheless, I enjoyed writing and decided to explore it further.
I began reading and studying professional copywriting. I learned B2B and B2C, direct response and SEO, public relations and conversational copywriting techniques.
I thought I was pretty good at writing website content, until I had an epiphany.
A Copywriting Bad Experience and Epiphany
A few months ago, I collaborated on a web development project with an agency. The agency hired me in the 11th hour to provide SEO support.
The agency was working on a beautifully designed website for their client. The development team was working in their silo and the account manager was sending over content in dribs and drabs for the developers to copy/paste into the web pages.
The agency was responsible for the design/development and the client was responsible for the content of the website. This is a typical arrangement between web development agencies and their clients.
My SEO job did not begin until the content had been pasted into the website. When I began reading the website, I found myself confused by the content. I wanted to learn more about the products and services, but the content did not provide the answers. The design and the content did not correlate. All of a sudden, the shiny new client website was not so beautiful to me anymore.
When I communicated my concern to the agency, they dismissed it. They gave me the, “content is not our responsibility” look. My hands were tied, but the content disconnection still bothered me.
The project went on to launch and the client was initially happy. However, three months went by without the client generating subscribers, leads or sales from their new website. Last week, I checked the client’s website and noticed some significant updates. Their website is now more customer-centric and the design/content had a better correlation.
At moment, I had an epiphany.
The agency responsibility (web design/development) and client responsibility (content creation) process is flawed and out-of-touch with online business today. At first glance, a website can look good…but once you explore a website as a potential customer, you can find gaping holes in the content and unanswered questions.
This epiphany lead me to brainstorm and research a more effective process for writing website content that sells.
10 Step Process for Copywriting Website Content That Sells
The online business environment has changed…it’s now customer-centric. It lends to a pull marketing strategy, rather than a push marketing strategy…inbound marketing tactics, rather than outbound marketing tactics.
If businesses don’t know their customers’ preferences, then they can’t satisfy their customers’ needs. What’s more, if businesses don’t create content that alleviate customer objections, then customers have a choice set of competitor websites that are a few clicks away.
With this in mind, I began testing the following 10 step process to write website content that sells. I’ve been very happy with the results thus far. So much so, that I’ve decided to share it in this blog post.
Admittedly, the process requires more work and expertise on the front-end. However, if the process saves a client three months (or more) of losses and produces quicker wins, then it’s probably worth the extra homework.
Below is the 10-step process:
- Put on your customer hat. Become a customer of your website. Purchase your products or sign up for your services yourself. Would you subscribe to your mailing list, why or why not? Write notes about your customer experience.
- Interview your customer-facing sales people. Ask your sales people what are the “frequently asked questions”, that customers typically ask about your company, products or services. Ask them how do they sell your products or services face-to-face. Audio record the interviews.
- Solicit website user feedback. Put feedback surveys on your web pages and ask your website visitors open-ended questions such as, “What’s wrong with this web page?” or “How can we improve this web page?”. You’ll be surprised at how much actionable data you’ll receive.
- Research relevant keywords. Conduct keyword research to determine frequently searched terms relevant to your products and services. Study your website analytics to reveal further insights.
- Hire usability testers. Your website copy is the “words on the page” and “layout of the page”. The testers should become customers of your website and provide feedback about their experience. Optionally, ask the testers to visit your competitors’ websites and provide feedback as well. The perspective of a “fresh pair of eyes” is very valuable to the writing process.
- Counter the objections. Create a list of your product and/or service objections and write counter objections. Gather proof to support your product and/or service claims. Your website content should aim to eliminate potential objections and soft sell people to action.
- Start writing. Write your company, product and service content based on the actionable feedback, data and insights from the pervious steps. Your content should have a conversational-tone with the people reading the web page.
- Be bold. Spend time writing bold headlines and sub-headings. Educate, engage and entertain. The headlines and sub-headings are what entice people to read and continue to read.
- Use the inverted pyramid. Journalists use the inverted pyramid model to prioritize content structure. Website content should follow the same model. Read your copy out loud. In fact, have other people read your copy out loud while you listen intently to them. Is your content boring, educational, engaging, entertaining, serious? What’s the tone and structure?
- Test your content. When you launch your website content, always A/B test various headlines, subheadings, body content and layouts until you achieve a satisfactory conversion rate. Copywriting is not an exact science. There is no copywriter on the planet that can write a winning combination of content that sells, without testing different variations of that content to determine which combination sells the best.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this blog post and copywriting process. Do you have a copywriting process that works for you? Please leave your comments below or send me an email.
All the best,