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Website Marketing Lessons From The Nerdiest Websites On The Planet

Dec 25, 2007
Copywriters like me tend to feel superior when we come across a certain type of website.

You know what I mean. Websites that clearly haven't been touched by anyone remotely familiar with copywriting. Websites that seem put-together by well-meaning, sincere people who never typed "internet marketing" into a search engine, let alone taken a copywriting class.

They open with "Welcome!" They send a message with paragraphs. Not a bullet in site... er, sight.

They don't get into benefits or offer you a compelling reason to buy. Each sentence begins with "we," not "you."

They don't even show their smiling faces in photos on the home page. In fact, their home page tends to look a little dull and inviting to the experienced eye.

But to the horror of us copywriters, they're doing well, thank you very much. They're attracting clients and earning a good living.

How do they get away with it?

Well, maybe know their markets. Their clients have very specific questions when they're choosing a resource. Their content immediately answers their clients' top-of-mind questions.

Or maybe they sound friendly and authentic. There is something to be said for the "plain brown wrapper" effect.

And maybe they market offline, so they find clients at face to face networking meetings.

Possibly that's why their nerdy web sites work so well. But I think the killer difference (a phrase you'd never find on those websites) is this:

They have mind-blowing testimonials.

Real, identifiable people have said, "I hired these services. I got amazing, tangible results. They transformed my health, wealth, life and/or business. Here are my numbers."eeeeeeeee

So if you want to win the War of the Website Nerds:

(1) Begin collecting testimonials as soon as you meet your very first client -even before you create your website.

It takes awhile to create results and attract the names and claims that will rock your visitors. Once you start collecting results-oriented testimonials, your web site will begin to work for you.

(2) Emphasize results that are most important to your clients when they hire you.

If you're a warehouse consultant, they need to squeeze more inventory into a smaller space. If you're a career coach, they want to get well-paying jobs - fast.

Your testimonials and success stories need to demonstrate that you have systems and skills to produce these results, over and over again.

(3) Test 2 or 3 versions of your website.

Let's face it: These nerdy websites are generating leads, converting visitors and creating a profitable business. But who knows what would happen if you turned a copywriter loose?

The answer: Test and see. Try a simple "this is just me" nerdy version but go head-to-head with a more benefit-oriented style.

Then you can shrug off the well-intentioned copywriters and web designers who say, "That will never work. Too nerdy!" You'll be taking your website marketing all the way to the bank.
About the Author
Cathy Goodwin, PhD, is a copywriter, content strategist and author of "Secrets of Websites That Really Attract Clients. She works exclusively with service professionals who want "one compelling website and hold the hype." Visit
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