As part of my role at AK Designs I am responsible for all the copy on the "home sites" as well as the copy on many client websites. In this role with clients I often face issues (and from some staff who think the same way) ... One of the biggest issues that occurs on a regular basis is simply that the website owners or the company investors seem to turn around with ideas of what the copy should be, and I have always found (so far) that all they want to do is convince the end user. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes this fits the site and the audience you are trying to get to understand something, but most the time it isn't.
The battle generally means I turn around and compromise, I mention AB testing of the copy to see what will produce the best results. They agree to the testing and 95% of the tests end to come back in my favour. So to help everyone get to grips with this idea I've created 5 directives of writing compelling copy.
5 Directives to Write Compelling Copy
Know Your Audience Think of each page or email newsletter as being read by a single person, a person from your target audience. Give him or her a name, an age, a relationship status & maybe a background story. Now write you copy for this person alone, you are not wanting to convince her of anything but rather to feel compelled to visit again, tell a friend or even better to follow your call to action... if your audience feel preached too or spoken down too then they will switch off... where as if you can engage on a one-2-one basis then you will get some real business.
Use a present tense and Positive subject line Imagine reading "10 websites were developed" ... sounds boring and doesn't attract your attention really, you don't feel compelled to click and read it... now think about the line "We developed 10 New websites" notice it draws your attention it was us (we) the company and they are "new" so this implies a sense of importance, improvement and excitement. Other good words include "exciting", "exclusive" and "introducing".
Avoid sitting on the fence - it gets you no where If your wanting to sell something, wanting to compel them to take an a particular action, be definitive. you are the "expert" otherwise they wouldn't be visiting your site! So don't use words such as "should", "could", "maybe" or "possibly" they have negative implications on most audiences, they make them question you and your product or site.
Be Concise Don't ramble on endlessly, get to your point quickly and clearly. Cut the rubbish and the jargon, no one wants to hear it or see it ... it confuses the average person which is why there are so many sites claiming to be jargon busters or having jargon busters built in... save you and your customer sometime.
Connect Connecting with your audience will never be easy, it will never be 100% successful even if you've got everything right on your site. What you need to think is that your customers will have something else on their mind, maybe someone is in hospital, maybe someone just knocked on the door or maybe they are hungry... a tiny little thing can distract and you will loose a sale (or however you call to action is built). So connect, make the user think positive thoughts, so even if they are distracted they will feel compelled to return.
I know these tips will help many of the website owners I know, and I know it will help your site be a success.
This article has been republished at boagworld.com