There’s no question anymore that good copy sells. By sells though, we don’t literally mean that it moves the products off the shelves. The purpose of selling copy all depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
In an online environment, your goal may be to get your user to fill out a form, or to provide you with their email address for direct marketing. Your goal might be as simple as getting the user to read the next page, or to click on a link.
Whatever it is though, chances are that it’ll be the copy on your website, or in your email, that helps convince them to do it in the first place.
The Goals Of Effective Copy
First and foremost, especially in the immediacy of the online marketplace, good copy has to catch the users attention. It’s estimated that when you’re trying to convince somebody online, you have around 10 seconds to convince them to stay on your site. This means that both copy and design need to convey the message that reading on will be worthwhile.
Once you’ve caught their attention, the next goal is to involve the reader. How you do this depends on your product, service or goal, but it usually means making your value proposition. Explain the benefits of your proposition. Most people’s first question is “What do I get out of it?”
So tell them. Effective sales copy is strong on benefits, with less emphasis on the features. At the same time that you’re engaging their interest, you’re trying to encourage their desire for the product or service that you’re promoting.
The Call To Action
Once you’ve caught the users attention, involved them in your product, and encouraged their desire for that product, you need to provoke an action. The type of action depends on your online goals, and can vary from buying a product, to signing up for a newsletter, but the action is always the desired end result of your online purpose.
The call to action can be one of the most difficult aspects of selling copy, since even the most persuasive writing can’t control the behaviour of the user, or the random factors that affect any given decision they make. But careful attention to the goals of effective copy, a good knowledge of your target market, and some simple guidelines can make a world of difference.
Web Copy Guidelines
Wherever possible, keep your web copy short and sweet. People these days are in a rush, and if they have to dig through reams of copy, they won’t want to waste their time.
Write for your target market. Users like copy that they can understand. Avoid jargon whenever possible, unless you know that it’s what your potential customers want.
Tell your audience how they’ll benefit. Lead with value, and not features. Then, finish it off with a call to action. Tell your readers what you want them to do.
Keep these factors in mind, and you’ll already be writing better copy for websites that’s geared toward achieving your objectives.