Sometimes you’re in the best position to act as your own copywriter – especially if your company is very technical or if you have penchant for writing. Yet despite your knowing your subject inside and out, writing the perfect products or services page can still be something you slog through, never feeling like you’ve “nailed it”.
That’s because the way people read on the web is very different from reading a book. The title and the first few lines are sometimes all you have to attract your reader before they browse away. Look at what you’ve got written now: does it hook the reader in the first sentence? If not – you’ve probably already lost them. The products or services pages are essential components of your website. Visitors that view the services page are further along in the buying process than those looking at your home page. They’re already interested in what you have to offer. The stakes are higher for “nailing” that perfect web copy on these pages because losing someone here means they’re buying somewhere else.
So how do you take your technical writing and convert it into customer-friendly content?
Know your audience.
What are their personal or professional challenges? What interests your client? Who is your ideal client? Finding out as much as you can about your current clients and your ideal clients can help you to write optimally. If you aren’t in a client-facing role, ask someone who is. If you are in a client-facing role, ask your clients! That may sound a bit obvious, but barely anyone actually does it. Most people will be happy to tell you why they decided to buy your product or service instead of your competitors, especially if they think their feedback will have a positive future effect on others. We are wired to pay it forward like that.
Focus on the benefits, not the features.
Benefits are what the consumer will be able to do, be, or acquire by using your product or service. For example, the benefit of Search Engine Optimization services means the client will get more traffic and be able to convert that traffic into additional customers. Making your benefits clear can help your potential client to understand how their life will be enhanced by doing business with you and to develop a desire for your product or service.
To tease out some benefits ask yourself these four questions about your product or service:
- What problem(s) can your product or service solve? How does your service make things easier/better/faster/more for your clients?
- Why hasn’t the problem already been solved?
- What will things be like for your client after they engage with your product or service? What will they be able to do, be or achieve as a result?
- What differentiates your product or service from your competitors, or substitutes?
Reference: Web Copy that Sells by Maria Veloso (2013)
Forget process & procedures.
Your clients don’t need to know your methodologies or best practices for your services. You can present your methodologies at your first client meeting or write about best practices on your blog. Instead, concentrate on what your client can get out of using your product or signing up for your service.
Include the most important information first.
All of the important information should be clearly visible on the first screen that the client sees, positioned “above the fold”, just like a newspaper. Most people will only scan the first few lines before deciding to navigate away from the screen or drilling down for more info, so it’s important to ensure that your initial web copy anticipates and accepts this tendency.
SEO, SEO, SEO!
This is your chance to get those long-tail, industry keywords on your website. Each product or services pages should be optimized for keywords related to that product or service. The hope is that those pages will pop up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). By completing keyword research you’ll have a better understanding of what people are searching for in relation to your product, as well as what attitudes they have about it by looking at the precise terms they use to describe their need. Through keyword monitoring you’re able to constantly refine and improve your content, always staying a leg up on the competition. Right now more people search “internet marketing” than “content marketing”. Although the industry might consider these terms interchangeable, it tells us that our marketing pages are better off positioned within the world of “internet marketing”.
At the end of each products or services page you want to make sure to include the next step. Do you want them to contact you? Order online? Download an eBook? Tell people what you want them to do. No one is a mind reader and if they’ve stuck with you to the end of your content, they’re ready for the next steps.
After all this research, I’m off to re-write our own services pages, so be sure to share any of your own tips in the comments section!