From time to time as Smallbizlady, I conduct interviews with small business experts that could benefit my audience. This is excerpted from my #smallbizchat interview with Monica Day @monicaaday about writing web copy that sells.
Monica Day is a full-time direct mail copywriter. She primarily writes for clients who have information products in the financial, travel, and self-improvement industries. Monica began CopyProtÃ©gÃ©.com in April 2006. She writes a weekly issue of the e-letter for beginning copywriters, and works with individuals and small groups in the Copy ProtÃ©gÃ© Mentoring Program. For more copywriting tips contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
They say unless your website is generate leads or sales it’s just a billboard, so how do you add value to your website. The questions here quickly cover the basics of writing effective web copy.
SmallBizlady: What’s the #1 mistake people make when they build their website?
Day: They believe the old adage “If you build it, they will come” and get disappointed when they don’t get traffic. This isn’t an effective strategy on the web. Good copy and readable layouts generate more sales and leads than fancy design and flash. You get 5 seconds or less to grab attention. Your copy and layout should be compelling yet simple.
SmallBizlady: What is the most overlooked writing tool on a website?
Day: The tagline. Most website software allows for a prominent tagline. Make the most of it. Be direct, not cute. A copywriter once changed this “Plaid: So easy, so simple, so Plaid” to “Plaid: We sell craft supplies.” Sales skyrocketed. Say this mantra when you are creating your site: Cute copy doesn’t sell, direct copy does.
SmallBizlady: How can copywriting get a site higher on a Google search?
Day: Use a technique called SEO Copywriting. Search engine optimized copy combines the keywords your potential customers are looking for with compelling sales copy. This way, you attract the right people, and effectively make the sale when they land on your site.
SmallBizlady: Is it true that online copy needs to be shorter than offline copy?
Day: A good rule of thumb: start with fewer words, close with many. Clear and direct copy that tells a visitor what you can do for them invites them in. Enough copy to feel comfortable whipping out their wallet or picking up the phone closes the deal. The #1 myth of web writing is that long copy doesn’t work. One DRC industry leader has proven this theory wrong to the tune of $250 million/yr in sales.
SmallBizlady: Is there a different tone you need to use when writing for the web?
Day: Yes. The web is a more personal medium than radio or television. Talk to your prospect as if you are sitting in the room with them. A more personal, engaging tone works better than impersonal drone-tone.
SmallBizlady: What is Direct Response Copywriting (DRC), and how can it improve websites?
Day: DRC is designed to make a sale, not an impression. People need multiple impressions to make a purchase — that’s why TV ads repeat so many times. DRC is designed to make the sale with one compelling call to action. Good copy and readable layouts generate more sales and leads than fancy design and flash. You get 5 seconds or less to grab attention. DRC allows you to use it wisely.
SmallBizlady: What is a call to action?
Day:The best online copy follows compelling points with a direct statement that tells the reader what to do next. Subscribe, buy, try, click here, call now. The same techniques that work in sales, work in DRC. Ask for the sale. Close the deal. Do it with words when you write for the web. Make it easy for them to say yes.
SmallBizlady: What is more important generating traffic or converting traffic to sales?
Day: Conversion, by a long shot. Your website should generate meaningful results. Hits aren’t cash unless you convert them, and only $ goes in the bank. Good DRC will dramatically increase your conversion rate. Even if your product or service can’t be purchased online, you can offer a special report that educates them on your topic, sell related books, refer them to affiliated products they can use. You will not only make money, you will convert visitors into customers.
SmallBizlady: How can you use writing to get people to return to a site again and again, not just visit once and never come back?
Day: Content is king. Over-deliver free content that is useful and relevant to your target prospect, and they will come back. Use good writing to build a relationship with your visitors. Make an offer that captures their email address, and then write to them regularly. When they trust you they will buy from you.
SmallBizlady: Any final advice?
Day: Use your copy as a call to action. If you don’t tell people what to do, how do you expect them to know? Give them free content, direct copy, and easy navigation. Go the extra mile and build a list that you talk to often. Done well, DRC techniques can turn visitors into customers faster than you imagine.
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