Website Copywriting: Our 7 Top Tips
“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.” SHIRLEY POLYKOFF
Copywriting, as Don Draper would likely tell you, is an art that can make you a lot of money if it doesn’t drive you to drink. (Well, if Mad Men is any indication, it can do both.) There’s a lot riding on that copy because if it fails, your entire marketing effort fails, and whatever it cost you is wasted.
So whether you’re doing your own copywriting for your small business or you need to evaluate a copywriter, it’s smart to learn the ins and outs of this art. There are lots of great books about copywriting and you can get an idea of what works and what doesn’t by analyzing the copy in ads, direct mail, and online. In addition, here are our top 7 tips for making your copy stand out and capture attention.
1Establish your goal. Your website is sending out a communication. What do you want the receiver to do? You need to know this at the beginning so that the copy guides the reader to take the desired action from start to finish.
2Identify the main messages. What are the most important things you want your visitor to learn? These are the messages that will allow you to achieve the goal of your communication. If you’ve already uncovered your business’s brand, you will already have many of these messages.
3Use words that reflect your business’s brand. Again, if you have created a brand document, you might already have these. If not, think about your business’s unique personality and compile a list of words that reflect it.
4Focus on the reader. Write about what you can do for potential clients, and always write as if you were writing to just one person. Talking directly to the reader by using “you” is pretty much a must in copywriting. It’s not a rule that can’t be broken in the right situation, but it’s usually a good one to follow. It also helps to imagine what you would like to read if you received this communication.
5Leave the future out of it. You often see “we can” when talking about how a business can help someone. It’s more powerful to speak to the readers as if you have already agreed to help them by using “we will.” This might not work in every case but use it when possible. You will be able to tell if it works when you read through the content.
6Edit, edit, edit. Make sure each word is absolutely necessary to getting your message across. The widespread idea that content needs to be short because people don’t read is a myth, but they truly don’t read if you bore them. Be ruthless and willing to cut the best line if it isn’t exactly what this piece of copy needs.
7Have fun with it! Copywriting can be scary because it can make or break your website. Forget about that. Writing is an art and art is play, so get in there and throw those words around. What happens if you make the headline edgy? How can you say that in a way that’s never been said before? If you take a playful approach, you’re much more likely to generate that creative spark that will ignite your copy and get you the results you want.