When was the last time you landed on a website and got sucked into reading? The messages resonated. The copy seemed laser targeted to overcoming a particular problem. It didn’t take a PhD to figure out how the solution would make your life a lot better.
If you can’t remember, don’t feel bad. Most marketing copy falls short. Jargon-riddled, feature-laden, and lifeless. Here are three ways you can make your website copy more engaging and actionable:
1. Understand Your Customer’s Why
It’s important to know not only what your customers expect when they land on your website but also the kinds of words they use when they think about your product or service and what sort of challenge they hope to overcome with your help.
Let’s do a little exercise. Imagine trying to decide between grabbing a meal at two different burger joints operating side by side with only thirty seconds to make a decision. To make things more interesting, you’re a vegetarian. Eating organic is important to you, as well as steering clear of processed foods.
You quickly glance at the menus for both restaurants and find a veggie burger option on each one. Phew! You think to yourself. At least I’ll have something to eat. With a few seconds left to make your decision, you notice a sign above the menu on one of the restaurant’s windows that says, “We only use organic ingredients harvested from sustainable farms and ranches.”
The words organic, harvested, and sustainable leap out at you. These are words you actively seek out when shopping at the grocery store. As if by magic, they have appeared in precisely the right spot at the right time to catch your attention. Decision made. You walk into the restaurant without so much as a second thought.
2. Know Your Prospects’ Awareness Level
The closer your prospects are to being “most aware,” the less selling you need to do. They are more inclined to be nudged and take action. Consider the music streaming service, Spotify, at the top of the awareness scale.
When you land on their homepage, you’re greeted by the following headline and sub-headline:
Listening is Everything
Millions of songs and podcasts. No credit card needed.
Below these three sentences is a call to action button that says, “Get Spotify Free.” That’s it. There’s no selling, no laundry list of benefits.
Why? Because Spotify has become a household name on par with its top competitor, Apple. They’re banking on the fact that the visitors coming to their website not only are highly aware of their brand but ready to sign up.
On the other end of the spectrum, the “completely unaware” segment of prospects needs a deeper explanation of your service and how it can solve their pain points.
Take the delivered fresh dog food products on the market as an example. As a dog owner, you may be struggling to find a brand of food to help with your dog’s allergies. You know there are more “natural” options; but, you have no idea what those options are or which one might be the best for your pooch.
Landing on a homepage like Spotify isn’t going to help you out in your decision-making process. You need pains addressed, benefits laid out, and features explained along with solid reasons why this pile of food is light years better than the kibble sitting in your pantry.
3. Tie Together Your Features and Benefits
When people go to write copy, nothing seems to confuse them more than the difference between features and benefits.
Features are the items that make up your product or service. You can think of them as the facts behind your offer. For an organic dog shampoo, this would be a feature:
Made with organic tea tree oil
This statement tells us about the “what” of the product. It’s all fact without the “why.”
While knowing what you’re getting from your purchase is essential, rarely do features sell on their own. It’s the benefits that do the heavy lifting in your copy.
Benefits are the why behind your features. They give your customers an emotional, intangible reason to buy your product or service. In a nutshell, the benefits help answer that critical question people ask when they move through your site: Why should I care?
Here’s an example of a benefit of using organic dog shampoo:
Keep your dog safe from fleas and ticks without worrying about nasty chemicals.
Worry about diseases and fear of exposing myself and my pet to scary pesticides taps into two upsetting emotions. Telling that this product can make that worry and anxiety go away is compelling. It’s a lot more convincing than being shown there’s tea tree oil in the shampoo. Knowing you can keep your dog safe makes your life better—a huge selling point.