The other day, I sat down with a fellow female founder who’s working on launching the second version of her digital platform. It was a chilly September afternoon in Seattle and I had a cup of coffee in one hand and a pen in the other.
“So, what do you think I should say here?” she asked as she pointed to the headline on her homepage. I tapped the end of my pen against my chin, thinking for a minute.
“Well, how would you describe your product?” I responded. “Tell me what makes it stand out from your competition.”
She went on to rattle off a selection of keywords that made it sound as if she searched for synonyms for “easy to use” and “technology” in the thesaurus.
“Okay, so you just told me a bunch of words that sounds like what everyone else is saying. Let’s write those down and dissect how these apply to your business and what this actually means for your customer.
For the next hour, we put our heads down and brainstormed a headline and subheading that should not only captivate her audience’s attention, but also tells them right off the bat what her product is and how it helps them solve their needs.
Did you get that?
Great website copy captures your audience’s attention and immediately tells them if you can solve their problem.
When someone lands on your site, they’re looking to answer a couple of questions:
Does what you have to offer solve their needs?
Why should they buy it from or work with you (versus your competitors)?
Your site must not only answer those questions but do so in a way that keeps their attention and truly creates a connection with them.
So, now you know what your website copy must do, but how do you get to that point?
Show Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
I’m going to ask you the same question I asked my client the other day: what makes you stand out from your competition?
Now, don’t give me a long list of features which include “the best x ever, easy to use, easy to download, cheaper than a penny,” ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. I get it.
Instead, let’s write down your product/service’s features. These are the tangible details of what you have to offer. If you create and sell jewelry, it’s the overall shape, design, and color of your jewelry.
Then, next to each feature, write down at least three benefits.
Here’s an example:
Feature: Easy-to-use platform with no design skills needed
Benefit 1: You don’t have to be (or hire) a specialist
Benefit 2: You save time and money on training
Benefit 3: You can create something that looks good without too much hassle or headaches
These benefits make up a piece of what makes your product or service different.
Once you have all these benefits figured out, it’s time to draft up your concrete value proposition. Here are a few examples and templates from Opt In Monster.
Utilize Your Brand Personality and Unique Perspective
I like to compare About pages to a first date.
You wouldn’t show up to a date and say (in the most monotone voice you can muster), “hi, my name is Ashley Hoffman. I work as a copywriter. I like books. And I can also write.”
If your About page is a first date, your entire website is the digital version of your brand’s relationship with your customer. It should give your audience a good idea of what to expect when buying from or working with you.
So, if you have a boring personality, it’s going to be difficult to convince anyone to turn that first date into a second one.
When creating a brand personality, consider asking yourself:
What do I want to be known for?
How would I describe my personal style (communication, voice, working with others)?
How would others describe me?
As you’re crafting your brand’s personality, consider who your target audience is and what they would resonate with. If you’re targeting millennials, for example, your tone should be a lot different than if you’re addressing baby boomers.
Connect Your Product to an Emotional Experience
Recent data has shown that people are much more likely to make a decision based on emotions rather than logic.
For example, people don’t buy a pair of tennis shoes simply because it makes it easier to run or play a sport - that’s only part of it. They buy them because they want to feel like a badass on the field.
The following ad is one I’ve been wanting to talk about ever since I first saw it a couple of months ago. It makes my heart sing and my skin tingle.
At the time of writing, this ad has over 34 million views. It’s not a Superbowl ad, it’s not highly talked about, but I’m so in love with it.
I grew up playing the piano for over 12 years and I remember the pure joy that came out of sitting down in front of those black and white keys and being able to express how I felt through my fingertips.
Seeing this joy emulated on the faces of complete strangers who were brave enough to step up - in public - and try their hand at playing the piano touched my heart.
It’s one of those few ads that I remember at the top of my head and it’s because of the way it made me feel.
KISS Your Audience
OK, maybe don’t actually kiss them. That’s a little weird.
Instead, Keep It Simple, Silly.
In your website copy, you should stay away from all industry jargon, hyped-up keywords (I’m sorry, your product is not ground-breaking unless it facilitates earthquakes or something), and complex words.
Instead of saying, “we admonish your distinguished vernacular,” say, “we speak your language.”
Many people think that using bigger words makes them sound smarter; actually, it does the opposite.
Then, once you’ve got everything written, comb through it and remove anything that doesn’t add to the story. Take away any excess fluff and keep your copy short and to-the-point.
As you’re writing your website copy, go through these points and make sure you’re doing your best to follow them. This is the best way to come up with a brand voice that shines through your copy and creates those deeper connections with your audience. Beyond that, it’ll also turn that audience into more buying customers!
I mentioned above how your website acts as an indicator of your relationship with your customer. As such, it’s crucial to get it right; to tell a story that makes them want to buy from you (and keep coming back).
If you’re looking for someone to work with on getting your copy ready to make more sales, let’s talk. I offer everything from one-off brainstorming sessions to full website copywriting services. Why not start with a free consultation to see what we can do to get your website on the right track?