Like all other aspects of your marketing strategy, copywriting is something that requires careful consideration and detailed planning. You shouldn’t just sit down at your keyboard to bang out some filler text for your website, thinking “This will do.”
It won’t do.
Effective copy connects with and motivates your audience. It’s not something they simply browse over; it’s words that communicate with them and tell them what they need to hear.
That’s why you need to ask yourself the following questions before writing your website copy. Once you have these answers, you’ll have the groundwork needed to write truly memorable copy.
- Who is my target audience? If you run a business, you should already know the answer to this question. Unfortunately, many businesses fail because they don’t connect with their target audience. It’s not enough to say “My target audience is 18-24 year old males who like sports.” You have to know what that actually means. What’s their psyche? What do they like? How do they communicate? That’s why I’m such a big advocate for social media. It allows you to gain a deeper, more personal understanding of your demographic.
- What is their biggest problem? People buy products or services to solve a problem. What problem do they have when they come looking for your products? Once you identify that, you can create copy targeted directly at those needs. This is the kind of copy that connects with and motivates your website visitors.
- How can I solve their problem? Without writing self-aggrandizing copy, you need to tell your readers how you’re going to solve their problems. How you’re going to eliminate their pain. The trick is to avoid the “me me me” talk in favor of “you you you” talk. By clearly explaining how your readers will benefit, you’ll have copy that converts visitors into paying customers.
- What do I offer that my competitors don’t? Please, don’t answer this question by saying something generic like “we value our customers” or “We’re experts!” You’re wasting your breath. You need to identify your unique selling point that really separates your from the competition. Think about it—Burger King and McDonalds both sell burgers. But they’re both successful. Burger King separates itself from McDonalds by saying their burgers are flame broiled.
- What evidence do I have to support my claims? The simple truth is consumers who don’t know you don’t trust you. It’s your job to build trust through your copy. Empty claims can’t do this. That’s why you need to incorporate statistics, case studies, and testimonials into your website copy. These give potential customers the information they need to rationalize their emotional inclination to buy.
- What precise action do I want visitors to take? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “My website visitors aren’t doing anything when they get to my page.” Inevitably, I review the website, and find the reason people aren’t taking action is because the copy doesn’t ask them to. You need to identify what action you want your visitors to take, and then, you have to clearly encourage them to take the action. Eliminating any confusion will boost your conversion rate.
- Should I include a special offer? Depending on the action you want your visitors to take, you might want to motivate them by including a special offer. Limited time offers add a sense of urgency to the call to action, and they can sweeten the deal enough to elicit the desired response.
- Which keywords should I target? There’s a reason I put this question at the bottom of my list; it’s the least important part of copywriting. Sure, you want your website to rank well, and the copy should be optimized. However, you should focus on writing conversion-driven copy first and foremost. Only then can you start to worry about satisfying the search engines.
Which questions would you add to this list? Tell me about them in the comments!