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Write Website Copy That Sells - Try a Little Flesh with Your Flash

Aug 17, 2007
Your website looks great: solid words, easy navigation, graphics just so, and maybe even a bit of flash with some multimedia.

But customers are not buying.

You wonder if it's the writing. How can that be? You remembered the two key mantras for website content - "write for the search engines" and "write for the medium." You used appropriate keywords to help search engines find you and traffic is up. Surely, customers enjoy reading your content because you laid it out with the internet in mind using short sentences, brief paragraphs, and bullets to list your key points. Customers might be reading, but they still are not buying.

Chances are your site copy has been optimized for technology not people.

Even on the internet, selling is still about connecting to people. So how do you press the flesh across broadband? Start where brick and mortar relationships do - trust. Why not become the trusted provider in your marketspace? You can use words to raise your credibility in at least 25 different ways.

Here are two of them:

1) write the way customers speak and
2) replace your pitch with a theme.

People instinctively trust strangers who speak like them. If you find this article useful, how would you tell someone? Are you really going to say, "I read an unusually amazing article that fundamentally increased my sagging sales"? Not likely. Weak copywriters, not people, use too many modifiers. "Amazing," "fundamentally," and "sagging" weaken trust. How's your site for modifiers?

Give it the finger test.

You might not want fingerprints on your screen, so I suggest printing a copy of your homepage content. Now, put your baby finger on the first modifier you can find. Put your ring finger on the next adjective or adverb. Repeat until you run out of modifiers or fingers. If your page is a handful, you've got too many modifiers and your copy is hype heavy, not trustworthy. In addition to giving readers copy that matches how they speak, it helps to give them time to get to know you.

Customers need time before they trust.

They will get used to your site in tiny steps, so hold off selling; buy some time. Have a theme for your site, introducing your offer only after your customer feels comfortable. Themes are a subtle form of repetition because they continually reinforce a single concept. Repeated exposure to an idea usually makes it familiar and safe. Remember the first time you used instant messaging or the family car - not so scary now.

Let's say your site is selling dental floss.

Instead of listing the benefits of DentaThread, you could tie the presentation together under the central idea "Some people have nothing to smile about." The opening section could point out how the discomfort of gingivitis wipes the grin off a person's face. Another segment would show how ugly cavities make someone too self- conscious to smile. Yet another piece would reveal how the high cost of root canal causes an individual to frown. In this way, three versions of one idea help the site grow on the visitor: one idea, three versions. Does your homepage have a theme? How many chances does your site give visitors to get comfortable with you?

In this article, I tried to use the language of my readers and hang it on a central idea, trust. Did it work? Did it help? If yes, I guess I proved my point. If no, I have 23 more ideas to go.
About the Author
Paul Matthews is The Rezon8or specializing in copy that sells...all click, no slick. For a FREE site copy analysis and a chance to win a FREE homepage makeover go to http://www.therezon8or.com
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