Online Copywriting Tips
Web copy should do three things, and avoid doing one very important thing. In this article we'll show you what you need to do to make your copy sing, and your visitors sit up and take notice.
Web copy should:
- Get attention.
- Entice visitors to stay on your site, read the page.
- Make visitors want to buy from you.
What not to do:
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- Aaron Wall
How to Get Attention
Copy writing is the essence of getting more profit from your site or from eBay auctions. Studies have shown that Internet users spend around 10 seconds on a web page before deciding to explore more or to hit the "BACK" button. All you get is 10 seconds to catch attention and entice readers to explore the rest of your site or product pages.
Eye tracking studies performed by Jakob Neilsen showed that people pay attention to the left hand-top side of the web page first, and then read the headline, subheading and finally scan the text.This means that the most important part of your web page is your headline and content directly under your headline. This is where you must make your most crucial points.
Make sure to put product benefits right under the headline, because readers are most likely to see it there. If the benefits are good enough, visitors will be enticed to keep on reading, eventually getting more interested in the product.
The point of the headline is to stop people dead in their tracks. The paragraph right under the headline should trigger the thought: "This is it, that's the stuff."
Another eye opener to the world of web marketing is the fact that people do not read websites. People SCAN WEBSITES.
Here is a great example by David Young of American Small Business:
Here's what it means: People who think that the Internet is just print in a different medium are wrong. (Is your brain rejecting that statement?) Here's my little 'a-ha' demonstration
You are reading a book: read - read - read - backup to re-read a difficult passage - read - read - lick thumb to turn page - read - read - read - and so on.
You are reading a newspaper: scan - scan - read - read - scan - read - turn to page 8 - read - back to page 1 - scan - read - turn page - scan - continue.
I am reading a newspaper: find the comics - scan - skip - read (just the funny ones - why do they call the boring ones 'comics'?)
You are reading engaging a web site designed by someone who believes that web sites are just like print: scan - scan - read - look for navigation link - look some more - click - scan - wrong page click back button -find another navigation link - click - scan - read - click - back to search engine.
You are engaging a web site designed by someone who believes the web is different: scan - read - click - scan - click - scan - read - read - click - scan - click - type - click - type - click - wait for UPS truck to deliver merchandise.
This means that your website and product copy must appeal to the eyes that rush through the page looking for something to focus on. Use of the following techniques will accomplish this.:
- Put your most important benefits and features in bullet format.
- Bullets are easy to scan
- Bullets stop the eyes.
Use 3 - 5 sentences per paragraph. Long paragraphs breathe of "work" and the tedious task of finding something valuable in the long and unformatted block of text. Short paragraphs allow users to quickly jump from one block of text to the next, assisting their eyes in the exploration of something interesting.
Take this post and example. It's written in web format. Once you break your copy into paragraphs, emphasize the most important points. Use bold, italics, bold-italics and various colors to make important points stand out. Once again, this technique stops the eyes that scan down your web page.
Use plenty of headlines. Your headlines within the text can serve as separator that stops the eyes and helps readers preview sections they are about to read.
Online Copywriting Tips - Entice Your Visitors to Stay and Read the Copy
The high caliber weapon at your disposal is your main headline. I mean the one at the top of the page. This is the first thing people look at when they read you page, and it can determine your sales success.
Take these two for example:
Profit Online With Internet Marketing Techniques
Why Most Marketers Overlook the Single Most Important Factor in Making Money Online ...Plus, The ONE SIMPLE THING You Can Do to Grow and Profit Faster than Everyone Else
Which one makes you want to read more, the first one or the second? My guess is the second one.
Yet the first one is the dominant headline throughout the web. This headline can cost you money.
Developing an enticing headline and writing website copy that sells is an industry of its own. It's too big of a topic to fit here, so I intend to point you to some books (listed at the end of this article) so you can start learning and applying copy writing and Internet marketing concepts.
Entice visitors to buy from you with online copy writing
Once you catch attention, and stop scanning eyes, you must convince visitors to buy from you. You must sell your product.
To sell your product you must craft persuasive copy that
- shows the benefits of owning the product,
- answers all the questions, and
- overcomes doubts.
Online Copywriting Tips - Show the Benefits
This is marketing 101. Don't talk about features, talk about benefits. To differentiate between features and benefits ask yourself: "So what"?
This computer has 2.5 GHz of processing power - this is a feature.
Play your games, work on multiple applications at peak performance with 2.5GHz processing power - this is a benefit, since you can use the processing power and directly benefit from it.
Articulating features as benefits is the key to writing persuasive online copy that sells. To find the benefits your product has, simply take product features and convert them. For example, let's look at a digital camera with 5.0 megapixels and a 10 hour battery life.
- 5,0 megapixels
- 30x Zoom
- 10 hour battery life
- Take crystal clear, high definition pictures of yourself and your loved ones, that stay in your memory forever with 5.0 megapixel resolution.
- 30x Zoom lets you peek miles away at moments that must be captured in great detail.
- Take as many pictures as you like, all day long with no need to worry about batteries.
Do you see the difference? Benefits show how a person can use the product. It allows a customer to picture herself using your product on her own terms. You must convert features into benefits if you want to gain a profit greater than your competitors.
Make a list of all the features a specific product has and put them on paper (or a computer screen). Take each feature and convert it into a benefit. Don't worry if it takes a while or if the list gets big. It's your money on the line. Once you have all the benefits you can think of, get down to copy crafting.
Online Copywriting Tips - Crafting Your Copy
Website copy has a specific structure that works best. Several copywriters who made millions in online copy writing devised formulas that present a straightforward, linear flow of the process of writing advertising copy. They follow a reader's natural progression of interest and concern.
In his book, Joseph Sugarman proposed this structure (from Persuasive Online Copywriting):
- Open strongly by eliciting interest and excitement.
- Develop the drama; explain why the product or service is different.
- Explain how to use the product or service.
- Elaborate on the unique benefits.
- Justify the purchase; identify the lasting value.
- Address service concerns.
- Ask for order.
I personally like this approach for business-oriented writing, but you may find a different use.
Another format is proposed by Maria Veloso, author of Web Copy That Sells.
- What's the problem?
- Why hasn't the problem been solved?
- What's possible?
- What is different?
- What should you do now?
Follow those formats or discover your own through research. Try many and use the ones that work best.
Write for One Person
How many visitors do you get to your site? One thousand per day? Where are those visitors located? In an auditorium, reading your website on a large screen all at once?
They are in their underwear, sipping coffee at home with the TV on the background. They do it alone (in most cases), so speak as if you're talking to one person, across the table. This creates a personal touch; instead of blurry crowds, you're now talking to the one and only one person that matters to your visitor - himself.
People are selfish. If you don't recognize them as the king on your site and instead address them with "Welcome Visitors," you'll be speaking into a void. No one hears it.
This was a basic introduction to the world of copy writing. Spend an hour per day reading these books if you intend to sell more of your products.
Must Read Copy Writing Books:
Make Your Words Sell! - by Ken Evoy (FREE)
The Online Copywriter's Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Write Electronic Copy That Sells - Robert W. Bly
Persuasive Online Copywriting - by Jeffrey and Brian Eisenberg, legends of modern marketing.
Web Copy That Sells - Maria Veloso
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