Your bounce rate? Abysmal. Your conversions? Embarrassing. The culprit? Copywriting mistakes. The good news is that all of these mistakes? Completely fixable.
As a small-business owner, your website can be one of your top employees. It should be hustling to generate business, better serve your customers and keep people coming back for more. Today, we’re going to slay three of the top copywriting mistakes that could be keeping your website out of that top employee slot.
Copywriting Mistake #1: You’re missing a brand story.
From the moment someone lands on your site, do they get a clear impression of the type of company you are? Some companies are fun-loving, others trusted partners. People do business with people, not hex colors and fancy logos. It’s time to give your business—and Web copy—a personality.
A distinct brand personality does two important things:
- Polarization: Distinct brand personalities attract like-minded people to your products and services while simultaneously sending those who aren’t your ideal packing.
- Trust: By being open about who you are as a company, you’re instilling a sense of trust in people who already believe what you believe, making every click easier—from “try a demo” to “get yours today.”
How to fix it: Every person, company and brand must have solid answers to the following four critical questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why are you different?
- Why will your ideal customer care?
Once you’ve answered those, think about how your brand talks. What it would order at a bar. What it likes and dislikes. Use the four answers to those questions along with these humanizing details to lift your Web copy out of Blahsville and into a clear personality that can tell one heck of a story to just the right customer.
Examples of sites with brand personality:
- Fancy Hands: Fancy Hands uses U.S.-based virtual assistants to take care of those tasks that annoy you or you just don’t have time to get done. Check out their FAQ page.
- Woot: This purveyor of daily deals sports quirky product descriptions that get shared, I’ll guess, more than the products it sells.
- Atlassian: One look at this company’s team bios page and values page lets you know this isn’t your typical tech company.
Copywriting Mistake #2: You’re not giving visitors a reason to stay.
What good is a brand personality without a clear message? The first thing we all ask when we land on a Web page is, “What’s in it for me?” If your page doesn’t have a clear message telling your site visitor what it’s about and why it’s his lucky day for having landed there, you know what's going to happen? Bounce, bounce, bounce.
How to fix it: Every page of your website should have a single, concise message. Fix the bouncy-bounce by creating a list of pages on your website and establishing a clear message for each one. I do this by asking my clients: “If a Web visitor only had seven seconds on this page before he had to decide what to do next, what’s the one thing you’d want him to remember?”
Now, you have a message. Let’s make sure you use that message to create action.
Examples of sites with clear, concise on-page messaging:
- Get Satisfaction: Create an amazing customer community to differentiate your company, delight your customers and generate new inbound interest.
- QuoteRoller: Create polished, professional proposals in minutes.
- Redfin: Sell your home or buy a home—smarter.
Copywriting Mistake #3: You’re not telling visitors what to do.
It’s not about being bossy. Telling your site visitors how to get what they want is just good customer service. Are you telling your site visitors what to do next? Every page of your site needs a clear and highly visible call to action (CTA). It’s frustrating when you land somewhere that looks interesting and you can’t figure out how to learn more or how to get your hands on some of the magic.
How to fix it: I have a simple exercise I do with every copywriting client. I ask:
- What is the main message this Web page must convey?
- What are the three most desirable actions for a site visitor to take on this page? List in order of priority.
Now, you have a clear and concise message with calls to action, which will enable you to craft copy that leads visitors to take the desired action. Smart use of buttons and graphics can make taking that action easy as pie.
Examples of sites with powerful calls-to-action:
- Zendesk: Desired actions: request a demo or start a free trial.
- ThinkTraffic: Desired action: share your email address to get a free Traffic Toolkit.
- Upworthy: Desired actions: like them on Facebook, share your email address, follow them on Twitter.
If you’re ready to spruce up your Web copy but need more of a helping hand, you’re in luck. Here are two resources that might help you get rid of these all-too-common copywriting mistakes and set you on the way to a website and copy that’s vying for that top employee slot.
- Brandgasm: Check out this 7-week do-it-yourself online course designed help you create personality-filled copy that converts and sells. Added bonus: design how-tos for the non-designer.
- Copyblogger: Trade your email address for access to Copyblogger’s collection of completely free e-books on copywriting for the Web. There are more than 14 downloadable guides on copywriting alone.
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