Your website is the first thing a potential client sees. It’s the first introduction to who you are, what you do, and how well you might be able to help that potential client, which means you’ll want to impress them in every possible way as quickly as possible. You only have seven seconds to grab their attention and keep it. Therefore, you need to put your best foot forward and really sell yourself and your services. And how do you do that? Create compelling, persuasive content for your website that’s both visually stimulating and well-written. Here are 10 tips for creating persuasive web content that converts website visitors to sales.
1. Do some keyword research.
Before writing anything, do some keyword research to determine which keywords would rank you highest on search engines. Find out what your potential clients are searching for and use those keywords sparingly throughout your posts. Organic traffic is always the best way to lead potential customers to the sale. If you’re not sure where to start, The Content Marketing Institute has a great article called A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research to help guide you along the way. Once you know which keywords work best for your business, you can use them on web pages and blog posts, but be sure to avoid keyword stuffing (trying to insert too many keywords onto one page, making for a terrible reading experience–and turning your potential clients off).
2. Discuss benefits, not features.
Your website content should discuss the benefits of buying your product or service. A feature is simply a description of what the product or service is. A benefit should communicate to the reader what it will do for them. What does your customer gain from using your product or service? For example, say you’re selling a coffee thermos and you’re telling the customer how many new colors you have (feature), instead of how much longer it will keep their beverage or soup warm (benefit). Try to focus on how your product or service can improve their lives, or make it easier in some way.
3. Tell Them Why They Need You.
Oftentimes, a client won’t really know that they need your product or service until you let them know they do. All useful products solve a problem or fill a need. Lamps light up dark rooms. Heaters keep you from freezing in the winter. Scotchgard prevents fabric stains. Find out what your customers need and show them how your product will fill that need.
4. Use “false logic.”
How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff illustrates how easy it is to present information in a way that persuades the reader into thinking that your product or service is actually more unique, special, rare, or incredible than it really is. Using false logic is like lying without lying. Companies use this tactic all the time to get you to buy products. You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “nine out of ten dentists recommend so and so’s toothpaste…” repeatedly over the course of your lifetime if you’ve ever seen a toothpaste commercial and you live in the United States. Use this tactic sparingly and not overly so or you could lose the trust of your customers and the public–something that’s hard to get back.
5. Know Your USP and Use it.
Knowing your USP (unique selling proposition) will undoubtedly give you an advantage when writing your web copy. Your USP is the major advantage your product has over the competition. The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) defines a USP as “a statement that describes how your product or company is different (and hopefully better) than the competition. The best USPs take a unique quality and explain how that quality will benefit your customers, all in a few memorable words.” You need to figure out what makes your product different (and better) than your direct competitors and use that to persuade readers to buy from you instead of them. Oftentimes, a company’s slogan is tied in with their USP. For example, FedEx’s slogan/USP is “Where it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
6. Know Your Audience/Demographic.
Knowing your audience requires a little bit of brainstorming on your part. In order to truly know your audience, you have to get to know them on all three levels–emotional, personal, and intellectual. Robert Bly suggests asking yourself what their beliefs, feelings, and desires are. From there, you can determine what your customers need in relation to what you provide. In other words, you’ll know just how to approach them.
7. Find Out What Motivates Them.
Once you know your ideal audience and have created a unique USP, you need to know what drives your audience in order to craft a compelling marketing campaign. Taking from the information you’ve already collected, find out what would drive your ideal customer to make the sale. Is it to be happy? To save time? Out of fear? To save money? To make money? Whatever the motivation, find out and use it to your advantage in your marketing campaign.
8. Make Big Promises…and Deliver.
Making big promises and then actually delivering on those promises allows you to stand out and gives customers a reason to continue doing business with you in the future. Promise them that you can make their lives happier, healthier, or better in some way that the competition can’t. When people believe that their quality of life will improve somehow, it makes them open up their wallets a lot more easily. Find out what your customers want, and promise it to them if they buy/use your product or service.
9. Avoid Big, Fancy Words.
Don’t try to sound like you’re smarter than the customer. Never talk at them, and instead talk to them. Have a conversation with them. After all, “copy” is supposed to be conversational in tone. Pretend you’re talking to your best friend about your business and use the same tone. Don’t use big words–that’ll only overwhelm and annoy them (in some cases). People don’t want to feel belittled or patronized. Don’t be condescending. Instead, include them in the conversation by using words like “you,” “we,” and “us”. Make them feel like you’re a friend, looking out for their best interest and you’ll not only gain their trust but their business as well. In other words, speak in a language they can understand.
10. Write for Busy People.
Busy people often don’t have time to read entire ads or fully pay attention. Oftentimes, you’re competing for their attention, which is why it’s essential that you do the following: use short sentences and paragraphs, avoid jargon, use concision, and avoid repetition. By following these guidelines, you ensure that readers get at least a partial picture of what you’re saying–enough to make a decision with as little information as possible. Write snippets of information. Break up paragraphs. In fact, use one-line paragraphs. Go crazy. But make your content readable. As readable as possible. Include colorful images, infographics, videos–anything that will get them engaged and closer to the sale.
If you still don’t feel sure about how to go about things on your own, contact me to see how I can help you spice up your web content using these proven marketing tactics.
Bly, Robert. The Copywriter’s Handbook. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.