Archive for March, 2013

How to Make Your Website Copy Memorable

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The hardest part of writing website copy is figuring out how to make it memorable and stand out from the competition.  Sure, each business has their own flavor of who they work with and how they do what they do but let’s face it, most of us are in industries with fairly standard problems and solutions. As a result, it’s easy to fall into using the same language and making the same points as your competition.

When you don’t take the time to dig deep and write copy that really connects with your reader, your website winds up bland. It doesn’t make a lasting impression and you waste all that work you did to get visitors to your website. So, how do you cover the same ground as your competition and make it unique?

Understand the Heart and Soul of Your Audience

There are no easy rules to writing fresh copy. One thing I can say definitely is that if you’re going to have a chance of writing fresh copy, you have to REALLY get into the heart and soul of your target markets and understand the problem from their perspective.

You can go a long way to getting inside your target market’s head by understanding three things about them:

Who are they geographically?

If your business is location-specific, get clear on where your target markets live, work and play and where they might need your services. If you have an internet based business like I do, you still need to ask yourself “Where does my target market hang
out?” Find out what websites they visit, what search phrases they use and what newsletters and blogs they read.

Who are they demographically?

What industries do they work in? How old are they? Are they male or female? Do they have children? How much money do they make? What kind of car do they drive? The questions can go on and on. The more questions you can answer about them, the better able you will be to speak to their specific needs.

Who are they psychographically?

This is where the rubber really hits the road! When you understand the psychographics of your target markets, you are inside their head. You understand how they perceive what they need, how they do business, what they are looking for and their hopes and dreams. You understand what words they use to describe the problems you can solve which is key to speaking their language and making a lasting impression.

Keep in mind that you probably have more than one target market. If that’s the case, break them down into separate groups. Get as specific as possible!

If You Try to Appeal to Everyone, You’ll Appeal to No One

Often when I challenge clients to more specifically describe the problems of their clients, they worry they will exclude someone and turn away business. I promise, you won’t be turning away business because your website is too specific. You are much more
likely to be turning away business because your website is too general.

The problem with trying to be all-inclusive is that your website copy becomes generic and doesn’t leave an impression at all. You become one of the pack and run the risk of being seen as a commodity. When people buy a commodity, they make their decision primarily on price. To earn more than the minimum, you have to stand out from the pack.

When you thoroughly understand your target markets and speak to their unique situation, your website copy leaves a lasting impression. The people you want to work with come away from your website thinking “Wow! They really understand what I need and have a solution for me.” Some website visitors won’t have that reaction. And you know what? That’s okay. They’re probably not your target market anyway.

You Are the Only One Who Cares About Your Process

When asked “What do you do?” most of us make the mistake of answering with details about the systems, theories and processes we use to help our clients. I know it sounds harsh but it’s true: only you care about how you do what you do. Very few of your prospects care about the systems and processes you use to get your clients from point A to point B. They want to know that you understand their problem, that you have a solution to their problem and that they will get good results. Don’t make this mistake when writing your website.

When writing your service pages and your home page, the structure should be:

Problem —› Solution —› Results & Benefits

Define the Problem

When you’ve done the work of getting inside the head of your target markets, you become very clear on what their problems are. If you are still struggling to define specific problems, reflect back on clients you enjoyed working with and clients you were able to
get results.

Be sure to define the problem as your prospects see it not as you see it. There are times when you know that the presenting problem is different than the real-underlying problem. It’s okay to talk about the underlying problem but first you must discuss the problem as your prospects see it so they know you understand.

Describe the Solution

This is the only place you should go into any detail about how you do what you do. In the first draft, go for it. Write about how you do what you do to your heart’s content. Get it out of your system. Then go back and cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary to linking the problem to the results and benefits.

Stay away from technical jargon and write in plain English. This does not mean you are talking down to your reader; you are meeting them at their level. Include answers to questions you are typically asked such as how long the process takes, who needs to participate and what will be asked of them.

Go into Detail about Results & Benefits

I saw Alan Weiss of Million Dollar Consulting fame speak a few months ago and he made the point that when you talk about what you do in terms of results and benefits, you can set your price. Ultimately, your clients are buying results so be able to talk in detail about the results they will realize from working with you.

I recommend that you practice answering the question “What do you do?” with your version of “I get results for my clients.” When you describe a result or benefit they want, it will intrigue them to move the conversation forward. This is true in face-to-face networking and on your website.

Start with Case Studies

Most people start with their home page which is a top-down approach. Instead, I suggest a bottom-up approach by starting with case studies. First, it’s a much easier and less daunting way to get started. Second, people are much more likely to remember stories than they are claims of greatness. Keep in mind the old writing advice, “Show. Don’t tell.”  What this means is, instead of saying “I’m a creative problem solver.” Tell a story about a time when you did some creative problem solving.

I recommend start by writing about specific clients you liked working with, clients you got great results for and clients who represent more of the types of clients you want to attract. If your business is new or you’re changing directions, create a composite case study or write about a situation you’d like to have.  Just make sure it’s true in spirit if not entirely in fact.  I would never advocate lying about what you can do but a bit of creative license is okay.

Writing case studies will help you identify specific details about your target markets. It will make writing about problem/solution/results and benefits much easier. Ultimately, it will help you make website text stand out from the competition.

When you REALLY get inside the head of your target markets; write about problems, solutions, results and benefits; and start by telling stories; you will create memorable copy that stands our from the competition.

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