Write Better Web Copy by Understanding Your Customers (and Giving Them What They Want)

Write Better Web Copy by Understanding Your Customers (and Giving Them What They Want)

Whether you’re a copywriter by trade or you’ve only marketed your own freelance writing business, chances are you have faced (or will soon face) a website writing project.

At first glance, writing a website or a landing page seems easy — especially if you’re a seasoned writer. But writing a website that produces results by generating leads and converting sales? Well, that takes more than an awesome headline.

After all, you’ve got to consider your audience, satisfy the demands of the business you’re writing for, and of course, sprinkle in the right number of keywords for those pesky search engines.

So, how do you create a website that sells?

Start with a messaging strategy

A message is a statement about the company’s market position, or the position of the product or service that you are selling. In general, a message must answer three important questions about the company and its solutions:

1.     What does the company do for customers?

2.     How is that different from what the competition offers?

3.     What are the benefits that the customer will experience as a result of doing business?

Answering these questions is a good start to defining a messaging strategy, but it’s not enough. If you want to craft a digital message that sells, you’ll have to focus on the customer. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Tailor a message for each customer group

A message is the strongest when it speaks directly to the unique situation of each customer that visits your website. And yes, I mean each customer. But unless you have very sophisticated software, sending a tailored message to every visitor to your website isn’t realistic.

Instead, segment your audience into customer groups based on shared similar characteristics. Think about who would be interested in your service and what they have in common, such as age, gender, location, hobbies, or life experience. By considering their unique needs and situations, you can send a tailored message to each customer group.

Rather than the three generic questions, your message should become a bit more personal:

1.     What does the company do specifically for [Customer Group]?

2.     How is that different from what [Customer Group] can get elsewhere?

3.     What types of benefits will [Customer Group] receive as a result of doing business?

For more on this strategy, download a free chapter of my book.

Step 2: Find a solution to a pain point

When crafting a digital message, remember why a customer group needs solution in the first place: because they have a problem that needs to be solved. Something is causing them technical, financial or emotional pain.

Typically, a customer will visit a website to solve a technical or financial pain point, like, “my car is dirty” or “cheapest car wash in town.” They end up doing business, however, because the website solves a deeper emotional or personal need, like “I feel like a slob” or “my girlfriend refuses to ride in my car.”

Connect with your customer group by leveraging their emotional needs in your message — what they’re really looking for. Consider the emotions of your customer group:

1.     What emotional pain does the company solve for [Customer Group]?

2.     What emotional pain will the [Customer Group] still experience if they go elsewhere?

3.     How will [Customer Group] feel after they do business?

Step 3: Focus on action

Image: Sales funnel

If you’re writing a website whose goal is to sell something (and it should be), your message must include a clear path toward the buying process by including a call to action (CTA) that tells the customer group how to solve their pain. A CTA prompts a visitor to click on a banner, button or link to complete the next step in the sales process; for example, “Explore Our Services,” “Make a Reservation” or “Buy Now.”

Think about where each page fits within the company’s sales process. Is it the first step, somewhere in the middle, or the last step before doing business?

The CTA you choose should invite the visitor to take the immediate next step. It helps to visualize the sales process as a funnel. Think about how to move each customer group from one page to another until they complete the entire conversion funnel to become a lead or sale.

Crafting a digital message that sells

A website should be more than just a hub of information about a company, its products and services; it should be the number one lead source for a business. To achieve those results, however, you’ve got to create a message that targets a specific customer group, leverages an emotional pain point and calls the visitor to take action. That’s the key to writing a website that sells.

 What strategies have you used to write a website or landing page that connects with readers?

Filed Under: Marketing
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5 comments

  • Regina says:

    This is a great post for anyone writing web copy. Step 3 is so important yet often the most overlooked step (by moi, included). Thank you for putting this post together.

    Also, thanks to Shanna for including a link to my customer survey to help people define their “customer groups.” I appreciate that.

  • Shanna Kurpe says:

    Hi Regina,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I agree! Making sure that your message includes a call to action is super important. A message isn’t about your company, products and services – it’s about your customer, their pain and a solution.

    But you can’t just talk about all of those things without actually telling your customer how to get the solution. That would be too mean, not to mention ineffective at growing your business.

  • Lynn Silva says:

    Hi Shanna! : )

    I’m admitting to an ignorant mistake here. I’ve made individual landing pages for the guest posts I’ve done. But all I change is the top where it says, “Thank you for reading (insert name of guest post site) readers!” It hadn’t occurred to me to cater the landing page content to that specific audience! Duh! I will follow this advice on future landing pages. Thanks so much!

    • Shanna Kurpe says:

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Although this advice can certainly be applied to landing pages, there is definitely additional strategy that is involved when it comes to creating lead capture forms for specific campaigns.

      But you are right! Creating separate landing pages based on the audience you are targeting is more realistic that trying to create a new landing page for every post you do (although I’m sure this would deliver better results, but probably require a team of people). And it’s much better than sending them to a generic homepage.

      For example, right now I have a landing page for guest blog posts like this one to promote my 12-day training course:
      http://howtowriteawebsite.com/grow-your-business-online

      But I’m actually going to duplicate that page and modify copy for very specific audience types:

      1 for marketing professionals
      1 for copywriters
      1 for small/mid-size business owners and entrepreneurs

      But, I don’t want to create a landing page just for the heck of it. I only want a landing page if I can drive traffic to it – and that requires another strategy in itself. : )

      Best of luck. Let me know how that goes for you!

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