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Better B2B Web Copywriting Lowers Your Cost of Sales

Apr 16, 2008
Most B2B companies, regardless of how much money or time they've invested in web copywriting, get their sites up, then move on to a monster list of other things that need to be done -- rarely giving another thought to the web copy. Sadly, this is costing them big bucks.

Why? Because it's nearly impossible to get web copy right the first time. And when your copy isn't doing its job, you're losing valuable traffic and increasing your sales costs. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve your top and bottom lines is by testing and improving your web copywriting. I guarantee that a few tweaks here and there will yield significant results.

Test Your Online Copywriting

Try this. Take a look at any two key pages on your website -- those web pages that are designed to evoke action, get contact info, convey key differentiators, etc. Do you know how long the average visitor stays on those pages?

Here's a quick test: go to one of those pages and time how long it takes you to read it. Now take that number and compare it to your web traffic report that shows how long visitors are staying on that page. I guarantee that you're in for a big surprise. I'd be shocked if people stay long enough to read even one-tenth of the copy. Don't worry though - you're not the only one suffering from "short visit" syndrome.

Another quick and fun test is to see what your conversion rate is on these key pages. In other words, what percentage of people that visited that page took the action or actions you hoped they would take?

The sad fact is that many B2B marketing departments are too busy to take the time to measure and gauge the effectiveness of their copy like this. All too often the answer is more advertising, more search marketing, more whitepapers, rather than more effective online copywriting. If I'm the CFO of your company, I've got to be thinking, "before I spend more on more content, first show me what our current content is doing."

B2B marketers, sales people, executives, and I urge you to go ahead and challenge your copywriters (which may mean challenging yourselves). Baseline the performance of your existing copy, then pick one or two pages, write a different headline, a different value proposition, add a testimonial... do something, do anything. It's cheap to test and adjust, and you're guaranteed a handsome return on investment.

Now if only that next print ad you're scheduled to run could promise the same thing.

Web Copywriting: Less is More

Most companies have convinced themselves that they need five to seven sections on their website, each of which invariably has three or four subsections. But ask yourself -- what's the point of having a 25-page website if 75% of the visitors are leaving within seconds?

With today's technology you can test and refine lead generation campaigns quickly and easily. Instead of driving visitors to your home page every time and getting them lost in the maze of choices and content, develop a single proposition/information page. Drive as much targeted traffic to it as you can possibly afford until you get enough data to gauge the page's effectiveness in generating inquiries. No matter what the data tells you, it's just a baseline to be improved upon. But at least you've now got a mark to hold yourself, or future copywriters, accountable against.

Imagine how much sweeter life would be if instead of telling your CFO you need more money for lead generation, you could say, "we had our key website pages rewritten, which resulted in a 30% increase in inquires, which in turn decreased our cost of sales by over 200%." I guarantee you'll have much less trouble funding marketing projects from that point on. Maybe you'll even be able to shake some funds loose for professional copywriting services.

It's not rocket science, and it's based on direct marketing principles that are hundreds of years old, but it does take a fundamental shift in the way most companies spend (or save) on B2B sales and marketing programs.

The next time you're wondering why it costs so darn much to generate a new customer, take some time to test your web copywriting. You can avoid reaching deeper into your budget and throwing more money at the same ineffective strategies. Making a few changes to your copy can spark a fire that will go a long way toward impacting sales cost.
About the Author
Todd Miechiels is a B2B Internet marketing consultant who helps executives of mid-sized companies generate sales opportunities. Visit http://www.miechiels.com
for his free guide, "How to Burn Money Using Pay-Per-Click Advertising". Contact Todd at (770) 939-6578 or via his blog at http://sowgro.com.
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