Imagine you’ve just come across a website filled with stunning images of a product – let’s call it a winter coat and assume that you’re in the market for a new one – but all you see is a price tag and no words. The price seems fair and the coat looks snug, while beautiful images present you with an undoubtedly enviable item. The professional website design gives you confidence that the business is legitimate and trustworthy. You’re sold! Right?

Perhaps not. While you’re waiting for the checkout page to load, you have a moment to think. Questions arise. Wait – is that real leather? And, hey – if I order it today, will it arrive in time for the family ski trip? Is there a better price out there? Eventually, you let the uncertainty creep from the back of your mind and let it turn into a nervous itching in your fingertips. They reach for the back button on your browser as the conversion-killing question “should I be buying this?” goes unanswered.

The solution to this problem goes beyond fancy web design: the written word. Engaging web copy solves all the problems that web design can’t fix alone. If done properly, great content will:

  • Guide the user to a desired action
  • Pique and maintain the reader’s interest
  • Build trust and confidence in your business
  • Provide vital information about your products or services

All of these aspects, when combined, will result in an astounding leap in the number of leads your website generates. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of words.

But how, you may wonder, do pro copywriters work their magic? Simple. Beyond years of training, they have memorized and reworked the essentials that make great copy stand out.

These are the four primary reasons your website needs professional content:

1.  Engaging copy guides the user to perform a specific action

One of the most effective benefits of well-strategized copy is its ability to eliminate doubt and encourage a specific action.

Great product images go a long way to convert visitors to your website, but they can’t seal the deal alone. Well-written copy not only describes the product and develops a rapport with the potential customer, it eliminates moments of hesitation  by answering those basic questions before the doubt creeps in. As a business owner, you know your product is valuable, but you still need to convey this value to everyone else. How do you let your potential clients know that your product is the right one for them?

A qualified copywriter working with a desirable product or service knows that the playing field is already slanted in their favor – they just need to drive in the winning run with simple, direct and informative copy that guides the reader to the right decision and   eliminates “stopping points” wherein doubt kills the sale. Keep it short, sweet and worth the reader’s time.

Imagine that copy like this might accompany the image of the aforementioned winter coat:

Winter is coming. Are you prepared? Yes, that’s real leather, and yes, it can be at your doorstep by tomorrow afternoon if you order before 5pm. That gives you plenty of time to inspect and return it (at no additional cost) if you decide it’s not quite the perfect fit for you.

2.  Great copy piques the reader’s interest

Engaging copy doesn’t have to be lengthy. In fact, most users don’t bother reading much further than the first few headlines and perhaps the opening line, which lends those elements the greatest importance.

Winning the interest of readers is essential in today’s crowded marketing environment. Copy is incredibly powerful when it comes to capturing leads who come from random, unpredictable avenues – from search engines and paid advertisements to word of mouth, social networks and other channels that were considered highly unconventional just a decade ago. Web copy that challenges its audience to get excited about the products and services being offered will always win against bland blocks of industry jargon and unnecessary information.

But how do you find the balance?

As copywriters, we know that we have 10-20 seconds to deliver a clear value proposition . If we don’t, that “back-button itch” will win and the sale will go to a writer who was able to pull the reader in and funnel them to the phone number/contact form/shopping cart.

The key here is to understand your product or service and the audience that wants it . Remember, you should be targeting the ideal customer for your business – a one-man handyman company won’t be able to fill the contract for a large metropolitan school district, so their message needs to speak to individuals and small businesses. Once you’ve identified your audience, you can start thinking about their needs and desires – do your clients look for discounts and cheap, effective services? Or do they care less about the price and more about quality?

A practiced copywriter will take these aspects into consideration while planning the strategy behind your content. The right tagline, lead-in or headline can make a world of difference. If you can convince readers that they’re in the right place – for whatever reason – they’re much more likely to stick around and end up on your contact page.

3.  Relevant copy builds trust and encourages the sale

You need to prove to potential clients that you aren’t just a good choice; you’re a choice that can be counted on. This works synergistically with efforts to deliver the appropriate information and secure interest in your offer. Casual readers become valuable leads when they are both captivated and comfortable. So how do you build trust?

First off, your web content should address customers’ sources of woe to show that you understand what they want and need. Put yourself in their shoes. What problems are they facing? How does your product or service solve it? Beyond that, how does your business solve their problems better than any other? Answer these questions appropriately and you’ll naturally develop a sense of confidence in your business.

Second, consider your audience. Yes, we’re saying it again. It’s the key to making your content “invisible” – i.e. removing the writer and allowing the facts to take prominence. Knowing who is interested in your business will allow you to write to them directly. A professional copywriter can build trust based on a few simple pieces of information – they know the audience, so they know what they want to  hear.

Finally, speak in the right tone of voice and provide the right information . For this post, we’ve taken a somewhat casual approach – we’re not going into copywriting specifics because you probably aren’t here for a grammar lesson. You’re here to learn about the importance of web copy, so we’re breaking down the essentials while still keeping things interesting (hence the story about your new winter coat; we hope you’ll like it). Involving “you” and “us” in the copy will draw the reader into an instant conversation. Suddenly they’re not deliberating over a purchase that may cost them; they’re having an open discussion about which of your products or services are best for them. Writing to your audience will build inherent trust. Trust will generate leads much more effectively than even the most accurate description of your product or service.

4.  Informational content helps potential customers decide

Once you’ve secured your potential client’s valuable time, you need to seamlessly move into informing them of what they can expect to gain from doing business with you . This goes beyond a simple list of product specifications. This is an opportunity to highlight the benefits of your product or service in ways you can control.

A talented copywriter knows when to break out the industry jargon and when to break things down into common terms.

Someone looking for a new family dentist probably doesn’t need to know much about Periodontal Trans-Molar Laser Interference Systems (don’t worry; we made that up). They want to know if you’re able to answer their questions. They care about whether or not you’re available in an emergency. They wonder if the reception area has toys for their kids.

On the other hand, someone looking for dental tools certainly cares more about the specs of that (imaginary) system than, say, how friendly your team is or the fact that you offer free toothbrushes. If you’ve done a good job letting them know that they’re in the right place already, the sale is yours to lose . You can give them the rundown in a clear and concise manner and leave the choice up to them. They’ll make it in your favor.

Once you know your audience, you can start speaking directly to them. That means you can give them the information they want, when they want it, how they want it. Not only will you avoid wasting their time (which encourages that back-button itch), you’ll inspire confidence by showing that you know how to speak to them in ways they understand.

Most readers don’t realize they’re endearing themselves to a business as they read the details – it’s more of a subconscious action. This is a great copywriter’s bread and butter, and it’s what so often differentiates their writing from non-professionals. Great copy is invisible . You don’t realize that someone has written it – the information just feels natural.

If you’re not sure how your current website’s copy compares to the competition, reach out to us. We’re not just web copy professionals, we’re global leaders in online marketing. Our copy team would be pleased to offer advice and open a discussion. We take pride in continually refining our process and critically analyzing every step.

Curious? Contact us with any questions you might have. We’re always up for a challenge!

Contact us today and experience customer-centred design first hand.