(209) 622-0654 or (510) 207-5667 info@webdesignjustforyou.com

the secret to writing compelling web copy

Is the content on your website helping or hurting you?

Just launching a website isn’t enough. The content you have on your website should have one objective, to inform your visitors. That means that the material should be engaging, entertaining and compelling. 

With recent statistics showing that 55% of site visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your page, capturing interest is key. The secret?

There isn’t one.

Writing clear, simple and engaging web copy is at the heart of attracting attention for all the right reasons.

Below are 5 tips on how to write quality web copy that speaks to your site visitors, catches their attention, and pushes them towards a conversion.

#1 – Utilize Customer Surveys

It may sound simple, but many writers start creating content without understanding who their audience really is.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Who is my audience?
  • Where will they consume this content?
  • What problems do they have?

Answering these questions will frame your content and allow you to write in the tone required, to speak to the audience you have defined.

A simple way to identify these vital points is to invest in customer surveys so that you can discover the values people associated with your business. The surveys are a form of market research to collect the data you need for your content. 

For example, you could work on questionnaires that will help you learn how your prospects view your business regarding brand values. 

It is not uncommon for there to be a disconnect between how business owners perceive their audience to behave and how they actually behave. Similarly, there may be a disparity between the brand values you believe your company projects and how people see your company.

Utilizing customer surveys, you will have web copy that reflects the brand values of your customers and is created to solve the problems they have.

#2 – Use the ‘Voice of the Customer’ (VOC)

How do you speak to your site visitors?

The style and tone of your web copy are crucial factor because they define the voice of your business and brand. They also have a significant role in maintaining editorial consistency in your web copy. As such, your language should persuade your prospects about why they need you. You can do this by using the ‘Voice of the Customer’ (VOC).

Your VOC is a strategy used in marketing research

VOC is essentially researching how your customers speak about your business to visualize the gap between their expectations and your deliverables. It focuses on the needs of the target audience or prospects and then prioritizing on these to create a hierarchical structure based on the level of:

  • Satisfaction
  • Importance
  • Suitable alternatives

With the VOC technique, you will describe your customer’s experiences using their expectation of the products or services you offer them. And you will do this in their language. These research techniques may include – customer interviews, onsite surveys, social media, live chat and focus groups.

Why is this important? With the cost of acquiring new customers between 5 to 25 x higher than the costs of retaining an existing customer, finding out what your customers expect of you can ensure you retain your existing audience – and save considerably in the process.

To get it right, you need to identify common strong points in the consumer research data you collect. Also, factor in the frustrations that plague your industry. They can be things such as:

  • unclear pricing structures
  • hidden fees
  • ineffective customer service helplines (often automated)
  • lack of consistent competition

Based on these findings, you need to pick the things that your customers want in their products or services. Once you compile the data and review it, you’ll know what to write. Ensure that the material addresses each of the essential elements in order of significance. 

Every page, from the Home Page, About Us Page and even the Product Descriptions should address one of the chief points you identified in your market research. 

Overall, this will help show your prospects that you speak their language. This is increasingly valuable, notes the team from Max Iron Capital, as corporate messages can get lost in jargon and actually drive people away. They explain “you should strive to engage with your audience on their level to show you understand their problems and offer suitable solutions. Whether you work in finance and need to dilute technical concepts, or any other industry, getting your VOC right is the foundation of your success.”

BONUS TIP: The way you write is just as important as what you are saying. Consider the following web copy best practices to ensure your message is easy to digest:

  • Use short, sharp sentences
  • Use active voice
  • Remove jargon
  • Use power words and avoid using generic words (for example ‘very’, ‘really’, ‘best’)
  • Cut your paragraphs into 2-5 lines to make it easy for scanners to read

editing web copy with red pen

#3 – Emphasize Benefits Over Features

Features tell. Benefits sell.

In marketing, this is one the most important copywriting rules to follow. In as much as you should talk about your achievements, this should not be your primary focus in your content. 

Talking about the distinctions, accomplishments and success of your organization that make it a great entity, this is not the reason you have visitors streaming into your site. 

According to SEO copywriter Jordan Zhou, it’s important to separate your own perception of your writing from the way others see it. He explains “it might come as a shock…but most people don’t care about your company. Their primary concern is how it can offer a solution to their problems. Therefore, you need to create content that shows visitors what you are offering and how it will improve their lives. Find their pain points, agitate them, then soothe them. This is a rule of content writing that will always help you deliver results.”

For example, if you sell fridges, then you might want to talk about all the features of your latest model – it’s core temperature, the longevity of the motor, and the clean design.

But those features won’t sell the same way the benefits do. Consider this simple translation below…

Features

  • Stays consistently cold
  • Reliable motor
  • Clean & smooth design

Benefits

  • Ice cold drinks anytime you want
  • Won’t stop working before your next big party
  • Great for showing off to friends

Looking to learn more about how to create a UX experience people will love? Read about the 6 Golden Rules of UX design here.

woman writing web copy on notepad

#4 – Incorporate Social Proof & Testimonials

The power of web copy isn’t just down to what you say.

But what others say about you.

You can leverage positive reviews, testimonials and feedback to elevate the effectiveness of your own copy. After all, if everyone else thinks so highly of you, surely your words must carry more weight, right?

Social proof – in the form of reviews, testimonials and awards – will help you create relevant information instead of giving assumptions. 

With 84% of people trusting reviews as much as they do personal recommendations, adding this form of social proof can take your web copy to the next level. This way, your content will resonate with your target audience. Such quotes are effective in helping content to be persuasive. And they do so by strengthening the points you make in your copy. 

It’s one thing to make an assertion about an organization and another entirely to back such statements with facts. 

This tactic is used by the team from Domain Roofing who add ‘before and after’ photos as a form of social proof. They explain “if your business operates in a niche where the results are social proof, then don’t be afraid to show them off. If your services make a difference, illustrating that can add power to the way you talk about yourself. Remember, people won’t know if you don’t show them.”

Make sure you invest in honest reviews so people don’t feel tricked and your readers will start to view you as an authority worth reading.

#5 – A/B Test Copy On High-Value Pages

If you can’t test it, you can’t improve it.

You will attract and retain your most valued customers if you thoroughly know and understand them. 

However, this should not drive you to make decisions based on how you think they behave. 

You should A/B test the web copy on your highest-value pages regularly just like you would test the crucial elements on your landing pages. 

Some of the primary features you should look to split test include:

✅ Headline length

✅ Language (word choices)

✅ How this improves your website copy

✅ Questions versus statements in headlines

✅ Points of view (such as first-person versus third-person)

✅ Long-form versus short-form copy

By constantly testing what works and what doesn’t you’ll be refining your copy until it’s razor sharp.

The truth is, while there are many tips and hints to help you write more effective web copy, every business and every audience is different.

So by A/B testing what works and what doesn’t you’ll work towards finding the perfect approach for you.

Looking for help creating a winning website? Chat to the experts at Web Design Just For You today!

Author Bio:

Luke Kurtz is a freelance writer based in Sydney. Luke is passionate about creating content that helps people learn, understand and grow. He is motivated to make complex topics simple, and loves reading in his spare time.

Content Disclaimer: This article was authored by the writer/author indicated above in his/her personal capacity.  The opinions and views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view or opinions of Web Design Just for You, or Eileen Forte.