Captivate, connect, convert
Now that New Zealand has reached level one, we’re all well and truly done with distancing – in person and online. This is especially true in the market place. Kiwi businesses (for obvious reasons) are keener than ever to get in front of customers and hook them in.
Well-executed web copy plays a huge part in gaining audience attention. It not only captivates visitors loitering on doorsteps but ushers them inside for a good look around. That’s the power of great copy – it’s a natural and intuitive host.
If you’re keen to convert web traffic into new business opportunities, it’s time to take a closer look at what your website’s serving up. Is it hearty and nutritious? Is it true to the nature of your company? We’ve put together a few copywriting tips to help improve reader experience and guide those crucial new customers through the door.
1: Look at your hook.
How are you drawing people in? How attractive is the lure? Do you have a clever introduction that creatively describes what you do? Kiwis love a little ingenuity, so craft an opening that will capture peoples’ imaginations and showcase your originality. Your unique selling point is a good place to start. What can you offer that other businesses don’t? Weave that message in there succinctly, right at the top.
2: Just say it.
If you’re struggling to formulate your sentences, chances are your readers will be struggling to understand them. Keep the body copy simple and try not to agonise over the details. How would you verbally summarise what you’re trying to say to a friend? Just write that down for starters. In Becoming a Writer, author Dorothea Brande explains that it’s important not to let your analytical consciousness edit your work before your sub-consciousness has put it on paper. Let the ideas flow first. Then you can allow your internal editor to step in.
3: Tune in to your tone. Business websites don’t need to be formal. Aim for a warm, friendly, relatable and upbeat feel. Humour is almost always welcome, as long as it comes naturally. Be aware that your tone of voice needs to be in sync with the tone of the page. What’s the overall aesthetic experience like? Is the design complementary to the copy? They need to talk to each other and back each other up. Group your ideas into manageable bites or paragraphs and give each section a header so the layout is clean and simple and easy for the eye to navigate.
4: Be generous. As a host, it’s only polite to feed your visitors’ curiosity. Be open-handed with your expertise and give away some tips for free. It’s in your interest to up their interest. Let them taste enough of your company that they’ll naturally want to return for more.
5: Pop in a vox pop. In television, a vox pop is a short, informal comment from a member of the public which sums up the story and typically gives it a little boost. In magazines, pull quotes are used for a similar purpose. They’re those enlarged snippets of text that double as design features, drawing readers’ eyes to the article’s key points or ideas. On a web page, you can use a short customer review in the same way. Happy customers tend to have a wonderful way with words. An external voice adds authenticity and provides reassurance that ‘it does what it says on the box’.
6: Sieve it. Be thorough with your proofreading. Print out your copy and read it aloud to help filter out the typos. Scan for superfluous words and cut the copy back where you can. (Aim for efficiency, but not brutal efficiency, as you still need a little padding for warmth and flow.) Look out for the passive voice (eg, the changes were made by the manager) and flip it so it’s active (eg, the manager made the changes). Write numbers up to nine in word form, and numbers 10 and above in numerals. And be careful not to overcapitalise – unnecessary capital letters can cheapen your website by making it look like an advertisement.
7: Recruit a fresh pair of eyes. Often you simply need someone else to look over your work because when you’re too close to the subject matter you can struggle to see the forest for the trees. Often your brain can trick you into missing typos so a fresh pair of eyes always comes in handy.
8: Add a call to action. Give your readers clear direction about what they need to do next. What’s the deal and how do they seal it? Where can they find more information? Who do you want them to contact? Why should they follow this through? This simple call to action should be on your home page, or easily locatable through a tab. For example:
Reach out to us for captivating copy.
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