If you had a shop, what would be the first thing you said to people as they walked in? It’s a tough call, but usually it would be somewhere between “Hello, how can I help you” or “Hi, is there anything in particular that you are looking for?”. There is a lot of debate on this point, but the key is that you would try to engage with them in a meaningful way. However, there is one thing for sure – you would not greet them as follows:
“Hello, welcome to my shop”.
That would just sound robotic & well, a bit strange. So why do many businesses insist on using the word “welcome” prominently on their home page. Examples would be:
“Welcome to our website”
“Welcome to ABC Accountants”
The point is that when people visit your website you aren’t actually physically present to greet them (unless you use a Live Chat facility) so it is really vital that your online copywriting takes a few things into account. First of all you must use that all important space at the top of your website to good effect. The reason for this is simple. When people visit a website they take a few seconds to decide whether you have what they need or not. They have not arrived by accident. They are there because they want something.
So you need to choose words that will catch people’s attention & make them stay & look around for a while. Firstly, positioning is vital. The expression ‘above the fold’ just means the space at the top of your website & this is the most important part of your home page. When people arrive at your website they need to see some text there that appeals to them.
Next we need to focus on a ‘Headline’. This is where many businesses will use the “welcome to our website” text. It is just too bland. We need to appeal to people’s emotions and your online copywriting needs to answer just one question: “What’s in it for me?”. That is all they are interested in. They are not interested in any of the following at this stage:
How long you have been in business
What products or services you offer
What qualifications you or your management team have
Profiles of yourself or your team
You can deal with these elsewhere, but for now, on your home page what they are interest in is a promise – a promise of what you can help them achieve or a promise of what problem you can help them overcome or a promise of what you can make them become.
For example, recently I was discussing a customer’s website. He makes beautiful bespoke, handmade pens. But the website just said “Welcome to our website”. After chatting to him it was clear to me that he wasn’t focusing enough attention on the unique & individual nature of the product. We settled on a headline that reflected this perfectly: “Unique Gifts for Unique People”. OK, maybe not perfect, but it starts to identify a promise.
Now that you have their attention you can then back up your headline with a few bullet points to reinforce your headline. Here the vital point is to focus on benefits, not on features. Features are cold whereas benefits are warm & they appeal to our emotions. This is what online copywriting is all about.
That is not to say that features are not important – they are, but everything in its place. Some people find creating benefits difficult but it is actually quite easy. Just write down a list of all the features that you offer on the left hand side of a piece of paper. Next, in the middle right the words ‘results in’ & then on the right hand side of the page right the benefits. What you have done here is to convert cold features into a positive result. For example a machine that has a ‘lightweight titanium frame’ (feature) results in ‘40% lower fuel costs’ (benefit).
So, have a go at it. Create a compelling headline & then back it up with some great benefits.
If you would like to find out more about how to improve your website, why not grab a FREE copy of my book “The Lazy Website Syndrome” at the following link: http://www.pickaweb.co.uk/lazywebsitesyndrome/book-request.html – we explain how to get more traffic, how to use online copywriting to convert traffic into customers & how to grow your business over the long term.
You’ll have access to the very best cutting edge OMS software, Mintsoft, for no extra cost at all! Unlike any logistical service, you’ll be able to see your orders being fulfilled from multiple shopping carts right from the comfort of your own computer, smartphone or tablet.