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5 Tips For Killer Web Content

February 8, 2010

Filed under: General

Does the content on your website really speak to you customers? Need a hand developing a plan of attack for your web content? Copywriter, Sally Bagshaw from Snappy Sentences has developed these helpful tips for you:

1. Know your audience and their motives

It’s amazing the amount of businesses out there who don’t know anything about their target audience. Basic customer research is easy to do and can involve online surveys, web analytics, or data that has been gathered through other channels including newsletters, call centres or user testing.

Don’t be afraid to ask your existing customers why they chose your product or service in the first place. You may be surprised at some of their motives, and the knowledge will enable you to tailor your content to suit both their needs and the needs of potential customers.

2. Don’t try to sell. Try to solve a problem

Most people are put off by a hard sell. How quickly do you try and get rid of telemarketers who call you at home?

The web is no different. Visitors can quickly leave a site (and never come back!) if they feel you are just trying to push a product or service down their throat, or if you just focus on your business (and not them).

A better way is to understand what problem your product or service will solve for your customer, and shape your content accordingly. Play on the emotions of the customer – use words such as ‘feel’ and ‘imagine’.

For example:
OK - XYZ security screens are the best in the business. Choose from a variety of designs and materials to make your home more secure.

Better - Feel safe and secure in your own home with XYZ security screens (the customer wants to feel safe and secure). You can choose from a range of designs and materials so that your home won’t have the appearance of Fort Knox (the customer doesn’t want their home to look like a jail).  Use this ‘problem solving’ approach and your customers will be able to imagine applying your product or service to their specific situation – a key step in the purchasing process.   

3. Choose a tone and style and stick to it

Pick a personality for your site. Is it professional, formal and sensible? Or is it fun, cheeky and conversational? Make everyone who writes for the site understand the personality so that the tone and style remains consistent.

Also, decide on some strong call to actions, and use them throughout the site.

4. Punctuate consistently and keep sentences short

Develop a short style guide to document the rules for punctuating bullets, headings, addresses, telephone numbers and the like.

Short sentences are easier to read on the web. Don’t be tempted to cut and paste from a printed document – make sure you review and re-write for your website.

5. Write for your audience first. Please them and you’ll please Google

Don’t turn your site into a keyword overloaded, unreadable mess by trying to include every keyword you can think of in your content.

• Write content that your target audience wants to read, in the language and terminology that they understand, and you’ll end up doing well in search.

• Take note of how people find your site (what keywords and phrases they use to search), and tweak your content as needed.

• If you have a lot of services, break them up over different pages so you can write quality content for each page.

And finally, don’t forget to review your content regularly. Content isn’t a set and forget component of your website. Keep it up-to-date, keep it relevant, and keep it fresh.


Snappy Sentences can develop sizzling web content that will make your customers sit up and take notice of your product or service. They also run writing for the web workshops, facilitate content workshops, write style guides, and offer traditional copywriting services. Visit for more information.

Tags: copywriter, google, guide, call to actions, keywords, phrases, content

How To Fix A Leaky Website

February 3, 2010

Filed under: General

This may sound shocking, but your company may already have more than enough traffic on your Website to achieve your business goals—but the problem is that you may have a leaky Website. That is, prospects and customers are visiting your Website, but very few are taking the next step to do business with you. Do you have a leaky Website?

Bob DeStefano is an international online marketing strategist and professional speaker with over 15 years experience working with B-to-B companies. He tells us how to diagnose the problem and, more importantly, how to fix the leaks.

How to Tell If You Have a Leaky Website

To determine whether you suffer from the symptoms of a leaky Website, review your Web analytic reports that track visitor behavior and look for the following issues:

Your conversion rate is low
How many anonymous Web visitors turn into named leads for your sales process? Your conversion rate is the measure of your ability to persuade your visitors to take action and reach out to you. If your conversion rate is low (or nonexistent), your Website definitely has leaks.

Your bounce rate is high
Your bounce rate measures the number of people who arrive at one of your Website pages and then leave without doing anything. They are a good indicator of whether your Website meets the needs of your visitors, or whether they think it is a complete waste of time. If your bounce rate is relatively low (under 25%), then your Website is doing its job effectively, leading prospects to the next step. If your bounce rate is high (over 40%), you have a leaky Website.

How to Plug the Leaks

If you have a leaky Web site, don't fret. The following tips will help you plug the leaks and optimize your Website for more leads and sales.

Make sure your content is customer-focused
Prospects are not visiting your Website to kill time. They are there to find a solution or solve a problem. Does your Website content draw these prospects in—or cause them to bounce away?
To draw them in, make sure your Website engages prospects by offering customer-focused content that speaks to their needs and provides a solution to their problems. Talk less about you and your company and more about your customers' needs and concerns. If your content is customer-focused, prospects will stick around and ask for more.

Don't rely on your 'contact us' page
Do you want to turn your Website into a lead-generation machine? Then stop relying on your Contact Us page as the sole method for prospects to contact you. Rather, offer visitors easy access to contact information on every page of your Website in a consistent location. You will be amazed at how many more prospects will reach out to you if you invite them to do so.

Make an offer they can't refuse
Now, take it one step further by supplementing your contact information with relevant calls to action that will compel your site visitors to respond.

When crafting your offers, think about the audiences you are trying to attract, as well as the various stages of the buying process they may be in. To attract individuals ready to buy, offer product specials, quote-request forms, salesperson consultations, and online ordering.

In addition, to help you build a marketing database, offer softer calls to action for the tire kickers and early-stage buyers. Examples of soft calls to action include downloadable "how to" guides, whitepapers, "ask the expert" question submission, and e-newsletter subscriptions.

Simplify your lead generation forms
Are your lead-generation forms as daunting as a tax return? If so, simplify them immediately. Don't try to qualify prospects with your online forms—that's the salesperson's job.

The more fields you require to be filled out, the fewer people you will hear from. So, ask only for the most basic information that a salesperson will need to reach out to the prospect and begin the relationship.

Also, make sure that those forms immediately get to a knowledgeable salesperson for follow-up. The best time to follow up with a prospect is when they are still browsing your Website.

Shorten your checkout process
If you sell products online, take a close look at your checkout process to identify leaks. How many customers who add an item to their shopping cart actually complete the sale?
If you are losing many of these valuable customers, look for opportunities to simplify your checkout process, including the following: cut the number of clicks required to complete the sale; communicate shipping costs early; offer a progress meter to let people know where they are in the process; and offer alternative (offline) ways to order.

Make your phone number obvious
According to research, people are highly likely to want to pick up the phone and call when they are browsing a company's Website. To boost the number of inquiries you receive, don't make your visitors hunt for your number. Make your phone number one of the prominent calls to action on every page.  In addition, use a unique toll-free number on your Website so you can accurately track the number of calls you receive from Website visitors.

Tags: website, business goals, customer focused, content

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