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"Web copy that sells" by Mind Map: "Web copy that sells"
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"Web copy that sells"

Words Tell, Emotions Sell

Key emotion words should be used together with formatting techniques to emphasize right parts of the text while keeping the document scannable

Dos and Don’ts of Web Copywriting

Give a compelling promise early in the body copy

Create interest in the beginning by creating expectation

Establish early in the copy who is writing and why the audience should believe in his/her credentials

Write in the first person

Use a drop cap (an oversized letter in the beginning of the copy

Break down your promises in ranges

Call attention to shortfalls and flaws of your product early if you can turn those flaws into benefits

Ask an opening question

Format hyperlinks in an engaging and highly clickable way

Use phrases that take the edge off the act of purchasing and make it look painless

1-The Dynamics of Web Selling

Three Fundamental Rules for Writing Web Copy that Sells

The First Look

What is the most important element of a website? The first screen (or the first eyeful) is the prime selling space of your website, and what you put in it makes or breaks its success. Do not confuse the first screen with the first page, which is often referred to as the home page or the landing page of a website. The first screen is only the part of the page that appears on the screen when you land on a website; it’s the screen you see before your scroll down or sideways. In a print newspaper, its counterpart is the information above the fold, which draws maximum readership. Often, the first screen is the first, last, and only thing people see on a website before they click away. For this reason, don’t make the mistake many companies do of putting a large logo or your company name in gigantic letters on that screen. Some companies do this for branding purposes, but in most cases the company name and logo don’t have to take up half of the first screen. Your logo doesn’t need to be large—it’s not a selling feature. While it may stroke your ego, it won’t increase your sales. An oversized logo wastes valuable selling space. Conversely, a headline must be included in the first screen. It is the most important component of a webpage. Consider how pointless it would be for a newspaper to have no headline. A website without a headline is just as pointless, yet it’s remarkable how many websites fail to put a headline in this prime selling space. In my years of surfing the web, I’ve observed that the majority of commercial websites that do have headlines have weak, uninteresting headlines, and, as a result, they are missing a critical opportunity to attract and retain website visitors. (See Figure 1.4.) On my Web Copywriting University website, I used the headline, “So You Want a Website That Sells?” followed by the subheadline, “Here are surefire strategies no one is telling you about.” This headline calls out to a target audience: those who want a website that sells. A headline that calls out to a specific target audience is one way to capture the attention of the web visitor. Contrariwise, when you call out to everyone, you often call out to no one. I started the body copy with the following question: “Why do some online businesses make money so easily on the web— while you try everything possible and get barely enough customers, sales and profits?” I do this because when you ask a question, the brain is compelled to answer it. Readers are more likely to believe an idea that their brain seems to have come up with on its own than an idea that is presented from outside. Never underestimate the power of your reader’s imagination. Compare the impact of the following two examples (one a question and one a statement): 1. What if there were a way you could convert 15 percent, 25 percent—even 50 percent or more—of your website visitors into customers, how much more money would you earn as a result? 2. Your business can convert 15 percent, 25 percent—even 50 percent or more—of your website visitors into customers and earn a lot of money. Notice that the statement makes a claim that a reader may or may not believe. Contrast that with the question, which introduces the possibility of an ideal scenario and allows the brain to draw its own conclusions and paint its own pictures. I like to use “What if . . .” questions or “Imagine what would happen if . . .” or “Think back . . .” That way, you let your readers envision the scene for themselves. Robert Collier, publisher and author of several books, most notable of which is the Robert Collier Letter Book, which many consider the bible for writing sales letters, said, “The reader colors that mental picture with his own imagination, which is more potent than all the brushes of all the world’s artists.” The things that people imagine about your product or service often exceed reality. Notice that I featured a powerful testimonial very early on the web copy. Why? This puts a blanket of credibility on the rest of the copy. Therefore, everything the visitor reads from that point on is influenced by that glowing testimonial, which makes it more believable.

Web Copy Dos and Donts

Do strive to write in a conversational style—one person talking to another person. The more friendly and approachable, the better. Do use contractions. When people talk, they use many contractions. Using contractions helps you sound like you are just one person talking to another. It’s intimate, and it increases readership. Use “I’ve” instead of “I have,” “it’s” instead of “it is,” “we’ll” instead of “we will.” Do use common colloquialisms. A colloquialism is an informal, often entertaining word or phrase used in everyday conversation. When you use colloquialisms, you draw your reader closer because you appear more familiar, more friendly, more up close and personal instead of distant and at arm’s length. Use colloquialisms that are understandable to most people with a reasonable familiarity with the English language. Some colloquialisms that have found their way to mainstream online communications include: dough money laid-back calm and relaxed make waves cause trouble bent out of shape become upset come up for air take a break cool great defect glitch twenty grand $20,000 keep your cool remain calm blown away greatly impressed megabucks a lot of money blow a fuse lose your temper bummed depressed con deceive has deep pockets has a good source of money glitzy fashionable honcho boss get a kick out of enjoy Avoid using colloquialisms that may cause misunderstandings. Because the Internet is international, some colloquialisms such as “table a proposal” (postpone the discussion) or “the presentation bombed” (the presentation was a complete failure), which are generally understood by Americans, may mean something that’s nearly the opposite to non- Americans. Don’t use corporatespeak. Corporatespeak is jargon commonly used in the business world that often communicates very little to anyone outside a particular industry. I call it corporate babble that businesspeople use to sound important. Consider the following two examples written for a fictitious online business called My Web Store: 1. My Web Store is an e-commerce solutions provider committed to helping people leverage the power of technology to create value-added, win-win cyberspaces that impact global retail markets. 2. My Web Store is a first-of-its-kind form of e-commerce that enables anyone to open a 24/7 online store in as little as 5 minutes—for just $1 a day. Which statement are web visitors more likely understand? The second, of course. The first employs highfalutin corporatespeak instead of clear, straightforward words and phrases that people can understand. Even if you read it several times, you’d still be wondering what it’s trying to say. Corporatespeak such as this is a blatant failure to communicate effectively. Contrast that with example 2, which immediately communicates a clear benefit, singularity, ease, and economy—everything a prospective customer wants to know. In direct-response marketing, lack of communication is death. If no one understands what you’re saying, no one will buy what you’re selling. Therefore, avoid corporatespeak and opt for clear, uncomplicated language. Do use strategically placed testimonials. Testimonials are a powerful sales tool, whether you’re selling online or offline. To apply testimonials successfully when selling online, they need to be positioned strategically throughout the website. An ideal place to position a powerful testimonial is very early on in the webpage, preferably in the first or second screen. In that posi-tion, the testimonial puts a blanket of credibility on the rest of the copy. (See Figure 1.5.) HowStuffWorks.com, one of the most frequently visited sites on the web, uses dynamically generated testimonials on its website header, actually displaying a different testimonial every few seconds. It’s also important to sprinkle testimonials strategically throughout your web copy, particularly in areas where they will reinforce your selling arguments. Testimonials are also particularly useful in your order form, right before you ask for the order (before your call to action), and in your order confirmation e-mail (to reinforce the sale). Don’t try to impress your readers with your fancy vocabulary. Effective copywriting isn’t about making grandiose, highfalutin claims. It is about communicating in a way that people can easily understand. Don’t be pompous (self-important or arrogant). Let the testimonials make you look good. People online don’t like marketese or bragging, boastful language.

Reading on the Web

How do people read on the web? According to Jakob Nielsen, author of Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed and holder of 71 patents relating to making the Internet easier to use, “They don’t.” Yes, you read that correctly. People don’t read online. They scan. Nielsen, together with John Morkes, director of the Human- Computer Interaction Group at Trilogy Software and, like Nielsen, a usability expert, conducted several scientific studies about reading and writing on the web. They discovered that people read web pages very differently than printed pages. The majority (79 percent) skim web pages quickly (stopping only when something interesting catches their eye); only 16 percent read everything word for word. This corroborates the tests conducted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which, using eye-tracking equipment, found that most readers are indeed scanners. This is very important to those of us who write web copy or sell on the web. It means that writing successful web copy means writing scannable web copy. Five Ways to Write Scannable Copy 1. Use bulleted lists to summarize content. 2. Highlight (by using bold or italic fonts or by underlining) selected keywords to help scanners move through your web copy. 3. Write meaningful subheads (as opposed to amusing or clever ones). 4. Present one idea per paragraph. 5. Use the inverted pyramid style of writing; that is, present key points and conclusions first, followed by less important information and background material. Exercise: Using your scroll bar, scan through a website. Is the copy inviting to read? Does it incorporate elements that make it scannable and engaging—or does it have huge blocks of text that discourage you from reading further? How many times does something in your copy catch your eye and cause you to read something of interest? Make your copy more scannable by applying the five suggested techniques. Bonus idea: Use boxes to feature interesting anecdotes, stories, testimonials, case histories, and to further break up your web copy into readable, bite-size chunks. Think about how you read a sales letter that comes in the mail. It’s three-dimensional, and it exists in a spatial realm, whereas a webpage is two- dimensional—it’s in a flat realm. Whether you realize it or not, you write in a manner suitable for the printed page, not the web, because that’s the medium you are accustomed to. There are big differences. Imagine you have a multiple-page sales letter in your hands. You can view an entire page in one glance, you can shuffle through or skim through the pages quickly, you can go straight to the order form or the last page to read the P.S. (That’s why the P.S. is the second-most-read part of a sales letter, because people can get to it in a second.) Now look at a webpage—you see only one screen, which is just a fraction of a page, at a time. You don’t have the luxury of shuffling through the pages. The best you can do is use the scroll bar or a mouse click to go from page to page. Do you see why you can’t simply take offline copywriting principles and apply them to the web?

How to become a great copywriter in 5 hours or less

2-Simple Blueprint for Writing Killer Web Copy

Things to know before starting

Create the blueprint

3-From prospects to purchasers: the psychological motivators

The “Reason Why” Device

THE “REASON WHY” DEVICE ? In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., discussed an experiment conducted by Har- vard social psychologist Ellen Langer in which she demon- strated that people like to have a reason for doing something. Her experiment was simple. People were waiting in line to use a copy machine at a library. Langer’s colleague asked those wait- ing if she could go ahead of them, saying, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” Interestingly, 94 percent of those asked, complied. Note the word because that introduced a reason for the request. The experiment was repeated with a new group. This time Langer’s colleague said, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Only 60 percent agreed, a significant decrease. When the requester did not offer a reason, signifi- cantly fewer people complied. They repeated the experiment a third time, saying, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make some copies?” Although the reason was not a convincing one (everyone in line had to make copies), 93 per- cent of those asked said yes. Just the semblance of a reason introduced by the word becausewas enough to persuade people to comply. In selling a product or service, always tell your readers why they need to do what you’re asking them to do. Something as simple as “You must act now because this offer expires on December 31, after which we can no longer accept orders” is sufficient.

The Zeigarnik Effect

The Cliffhanger

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

The Commitment/Consistency Element of Influence

Cognitive Dissonance

Involvement Devices That Multiply Sales

4-Crafting your copy

Constructing Your Web Copy

Making an Impression: The First Paragraph

The Offer You Can't Refuse

What motivates people to buy

Writing benefits effectively for the web:

Testimonials: It Can Happen to You

Talking About Money: How to Introduce the Price

Keep on Selling: Writing the Order Form

The Money-Back Guarantee: A Deal Maker

The Close: Signing on the Dotted Line

Get a Calling Card: The Opt-In Mechanism

How to Construct a Riveting Headline

Choosing Your Words: Tips, Terms, and Concepts

The Long and Short of It: How Long Should Web Copy Be?

How Well Does Your Website Sell?

5-Email Marketing: the Internet's killer application

Two ways of acquiring website sales

Traffic Conversion: Turning Visitors into Customers

The Frame-of-Mind Marketing Method for Writing E-Mails

The Future of E-Mail Marketing

How to Make Sure Your E-Mail Is Delivered

How to Write E-Mail That’s Read

Put the Competitive Edge into Your E-Mail Marketing

6-Online marketing communications: it's what you do after people visit your website that counts

The Opt-In Offer: Your Most Important Asset

How to Write Irresistible Autoresponder E-Mails

How to Write Free Reports and Promotional Articles

Guidelines for Writing Newsletters and E-Zines

Guidelines for Writing Online Ads, Signature Files,and Banner Copy

7-Last but not least tying it all together

Track It, Fix It: What to Do When Web Copy Is Not Working

Four Steps to Web Copywriting Success

Traffic Generation: Getting the Word Out and the Visitors In