Make Sure Your Website is Right Before You AdvertiseKevin Nunley
June 24, 2009 — 1,212 views
Recently a customer spent a pretty hefty sum of money to promote his web site. I knew something was wrong when he contacted me three weeks later saying he hadn't sold a single product.
His site looked good. A professional designer had given it a great look with slick graphics. Unfortunately, when I went in search of the product he was advertising, it took five or six clicks to find it.
Here is what happened to prospects and why the site wasn't selling anything:
- The prospect sees the ad.
- She clicks to the site.
- She is greeted with a doorway page.
- When she finds the link at the bottom of the doorway page she is taken to a home page with very little information on it.
- If she clicks on the "home" link she gets the doorway page again.
- If she clicks on the "about us" link she gets the home page she is already on.
- One more click and she might find the product page with the item she came looking for.
How many customers will look through page after page to find the product or service you advertised? Not many. Click rates go down dramatically after the first page. Hardly anyone will click three levels deep.
Moral of the story: have your opening web page clearly promote whatever you are advertising. Otherwise, your ad dollars may be wasted.
In today's rocky economy, people aren't willing to throw money at a product/service they know nothing about. Many online shoppers spend hours looking for the item that is exactly what they want. Your product/service could be exactly what they're looking for, but with scant, uninformative copy, how are they going to know?
So it's time to make a few changes, nothing too painful. You don't have to throw out your old copy and start from scratch. With some minor alterations, your copy can inform, motivate and charge prospects to take action and buy.
Here are a few changes you can make to improve the way your copy sells:
Give the Most Important Info First -- Don't force people to wade through two pages of copy before they can discover what you're all about. Get to the point right up front, in the headline, subheading, and first few paragraphs. If you have too much filler copy in the beginning and don't start getting to the point until later, all that copy your visitors read will be lost on them. It will have been out of context because you didn't provide them with a context.
First Things First -- Ever heard of "Inverted Pyramid Style" writing? It means starting with the most important sentence and following with lesser sentences. But not too many. Keep your paragraphs short so they don't overwhelm the reader.
Cut Words -- Web copy should use about half the word count or less than conventional writing, so keep it short and to the point. This isn't the great American novel. Your goal is to make sure your audience can understand every word you say while reading quickly. If they have to stop to get a dictionary because you used too many cryptic words or jargon, you'll lose their interest.
No Sub Par Subheadings -- Use only meaningful subheadings. Your subheadings should serve as an outline for your copy, making it easier for the reader to remember important points and gain and accurate overview of the products or services. If your subheadings are well-placed and meaningful, no one should have to read your copy twice.
One Idea Per Paragraph -- Don't load your paragraphs with ideas. Avoid confusing the reader by separating each idea into its own paragraph. This will also help you keep paragraphs shorter. Limiting paragraphs to one idea helps readers digest information a little at a time, promoting comprehension and recall.
Use Bullets -- When presenting information, it is helpful to separate the text with bullet points. Bulleted lists are easier to read than entire paragraphs, and the differentiation shows readers that they should pay special attention to bulleted points. In fact, readers are known for skipping over paragraphs and going straight for the bulleted text, so make whatever information is in bullets essential to motivating the sale.
Highlight Keywords -- You're going to get a lot of "scanners" visiting your site. These are people who don't read word for word, but glance over text looking or important information. Highlight keywords so they will know where to find this information.
Use Hype Where Hype is Needed -- Hype is like opera. People either love it or loathe it. So be careful where you use it. With certain products, hype has been known to reduce credibility, but with others, it increases excitement and motivates purchases. But if you want to add that punch here and there in your copy, use hype like paprika; just a pinch to tweak the flavor. An exclamation point here, a phrase in caps there, and you've got just enough to satisfy any palate.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and professional copywriting. See his affordable deals on web site copy, sales letters, and autoresponder messages at DrNunley.com/copywriting.htm
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