Starting a business can be a roller-coaster of feeling excited, terrified, and overwhelmed. While it’s easy to understand the benefits of outsourcing to a specialist, not many startups have the cash to splash. I know I didn’t. So we dig in and skill up, doing many things ourselves.
We’re the sales person, accounts manager and bookkeeper. We’re the website developer, marketing co-ordinator and copywriter.
It can be a great learning experience, but the startup phase is also the time when we need to get clients in through the door, so we can’t really afford to get it wrong for too long.
This is my start-up’s guide to website copywriting that puts you ahead of the game.
Keep it conversational
It’s hard to build a connection with a potential client when you’re not there. That’s one of the big challenges of online marketing: building a connection that takes the relationship to the next step. It’s important that your website copywriting is a conversation, albeit a conversation you’re not actually there for. To do that, your tone and writing style needs to be conversational. That means writing the way you talk (only better). If you’re worried about diminishing your professional image with informal language, don’t. Imagine you’re talking to a client in your office. If you wouldn’t use a lot of slang then you shouldn’t in your website copywriting but you should keep it friendly, personal and relaxed.
Use more You words than We words
There are few things worse than listening to someone bang on about themselves. On and on with the me me me. Your website copywriting does need to communicate what you do but when you write in a way that involves your reader, you make it about them. That means talking about what your client gets out of what you do. Using more instances of you than we will also help make your website copywriting more conversational.
So rather than saying, “We offer after-hours appointments”, focus on the flip side: “If you need to schedule appointments after hours, don’t worry. We understand and have regular appointments in the evenings and on the weekend.” Do you see the difference?
Stay on message
There’s no point having a great speaking voice or fancy presentation slides if you’ve got nothing to say and it’s much the same for your marketing. In fact, part of the skill of effective copywriting is making sure you have a strong message. Once you’ve done some prep work and you understand the unique benefit you offer your customers, it’s important to stay on message. Don’t dilute your awesomeness with lots and lots and lots of website copywriting. Drowning your online readers in words is almost as bad as a poorly designed website. I advise my clients that a great length for a page of website copywriting is 200 – 400 words, depending on the type of page. If you need to convey more information, we need more words but we should be careful of straying over 500 words. If you do have a topic that needs a lot of explanation, looks for ways to break it into multiple pages or consider putting together a free downloadable PDF.
And before you go…
Remember, your website copywriting doesn’t have to explain every little detail about everything you do but 60% of the decision to buy is usually made before someone even contacts you. The role of your website copywriting is to give people enough information to decide you are worth talking to!