Getting a customer to pay attention to your web content is like meeting a celebrity on the red carpet.
They’re the whole reason you’re in business, and here they are, on your website. How does your copy handle this? Is it cool, calm, personable and persuasive?
Or does it get a little giddy like this UK breakfast TV presenter when meeting Tom Cruise.
Today it was radio day when I pop to BBC Radio Sussex and chat with the lovely Allison Ferns about the day’s news stories. Presenter Susanna Reid from the cup above had got a bit of a bashing from the papers not just because of the slightly cringeworthy ‘selfie’ experience, but because she hadn’t focused on the job of interviewing him. Instead simply offering him a cup of tea from a flask (which he didn’t seem too keen to drink).
So what’s this got to do with your copy?
Well this week I did a free call reviewing web pages where the job was to ‘sell’ the business or service provider. Around 100 URLs were submitted for some really neat businesses. I noticed a lot of the sites suffered from star-struck copy when when it came to the job of telling the visitor what to do next (aka the call-to-action.)
So what does start struck copywriting look like? I found 3 common afflictions:
1. The “say nothing” reaction
If your web content does a great job of outlining your services, but stops short of telling your visitor what to do next, it’s like bumping into Springsteen in Starbucks as he orders his tall vanilla bean frappuchino with caramel. But instead of saying “run away with me” you simply watch open-mouthed as he places his order and walks out of your life forever.
Go to your home page or your services page.
Scroll down to the bottom when you wrap up telling your customer about what you do?
Is there a clear next step? Are you letting them know how to get in touch with you or are you assuming they know where your contact page is? Don’t take a chance. Make sure there is a clear instruction on each page that is designed to sell your services.
2. The “I carried a watermelon…”
Baby is in awe of meeting the hot Patrick Swayze that all she can say when they first meet is that memorable phrase.
The problem with this is that it does nothing. It doesn’t show off her strengths, or make him think she’s cool. It’s just a random, irrelevant muttering.
Now I know that you’re not writing about watermelons on your site (unless you’re selling them), but you can still miss the mark by giving your customer an irrelevant call to action.
Let’s think about your services page. What would be a logical next step? Perhaps to download a brochure. Or get in touch for a consultation. Or look at case studies of past clients.
What you don’t want to do is send them off on a tangent with by linking to ‘watermelon content.’ Content that might seem fun, but doesn’t really serve your purpose.
Click here to connect with me on Linkedin.
Click here to see photos of our latest Christmas party
I have a degree in accounting, find out why this is the language of business [link to an external site]
You don’t want to throw a distraction to your reader. Instead keep them focused on why they are there, which is to find out how you can solve their problem.
3. The ‘spray and pray’ approach
The alternative to saying nothing or throwing your reader off course, is the ‘ask your visitor to do as many things as possible in one go because one of them will have to work.”
A little bit like Susanna Reid’s interview with Tom where she jumps from making small talk about tea, squeezing him, taking a selfie etc.
On a business website this looks like this:
Call me today or download the brochure and don’t forget to sign up to the free event I’m having this weekend. Make sure you opt-in to the newsletter and fill in our online feedback form. Stay in touch!
It’s tempting to give your visitor plenty of options when they reach your site but you can give them too much. Instead of hitting them with every option think about:
- What is my visitor most interested in by looking at this page?
- What would be the most relevant next-step?
- What might the next most relevant alternative?
For example, someone who makes it all the way to the bottom of your services page is interested in the service you offer. Therefore the most relevant next step might be contacting you.
And it’s fine to provide a secondary call-to-action. Perhaps you know that some customers love to hop straight onto the phone while others like to read a little more. In which case you can write:
To find out how you can increase your traffic through content marketing, call me today on [xxxxx] or download a brochure with more details about the content marketing campaigns we can offer.
Take a few minutes to whizz through the calls-to-action on your website. If you find your copy a little star struck, try a couple of the tweaks above and you’ll soon have the composure of David Frost. (Not that you’re looking to grill your visitors like they’re Nixon of course…)