Your business is boring. Bring on the YOU!
Even the strongest of coffee was no match for the copy.
“Welcome to XYZ Winery. Located in Snoozeville, we have been producing the finest wine this side of the Mississippi since 1958. Our vineyard’s courteous staff will…”
May as well stop writing at this point. You lost them. If your text was akin to CPR, it’d be time to call in the morgue.
Over the last umpteen years, I’ve read some horrendously boring copy. Text that could literally lead to the downfall of the entire sleeping pill industry if shared on a mass scale.
And the funny thing? The people behind the business that’s behind this yawn-inducing content are actually vibrant, energetic, and overtly passionate. You’d just never know it unless you met them in person.
When a visitor comes to your website, you have about five seconds to grab their attention. Then another 30 seconds to maintain it. You need to pique their interest and then coax them deeper into your world by proving the time spent with you will be worthwhile.
Still reading this? Good. It means I’ve done just that.
Envision yourself at a cocktail party. People are busily scurrying about and engaging in conversation with the new faces they meet. Over in one corner, a guy dressed in a drab gray suit is slowly stirring his drink as he shyly watches people stroll by. His name tag reads, “Hi, I’m Bill.”
When someone asks, “So, Bill, what do you do?,” he replies, “My name is Bill. I produce the finest wine this side of the Mississippi. We have a courteous staff and…oh, okay…you have to go? Take care.”
In the other corner stands a guy with a vibrant suit and an even more vibrant tie. His arms are animated as he talks, he’s smiling, he’s personable. When he speaks, people nod, they laugh, they engage. His name tag reads, “Hi, I’m AWESOME.”
When someone asks, “So, what do you do?,” he replies, “Ah, I’m not here to talk about me. Let’s talk about you. Then we can get this party started!”
People tend to be inherently drawn to energy, humor, and interesting conversation, and things are no different when they stumble upon your website.
I’m not saying you need to plaster your home page with knock-knock jokes and lame puns. It’s not shtick you’re after. You’re after engagement. You want the visitor to connect with you on a personal level, not a business level, so they feel more comfortable with you.
At their most granular, people are social creatures. We’re more inclined to gravitate towards people we know, enjoy, or share some sort of kinship with. Even if this kinship is fleeting, some semblance of familiarity is better than nothing, and you simply cannot forge this kind of bond with stuffy uninspiring copy.
While this concept can apply to any industry or market segment, let’s use wineries as our example.
“Welcome to XYZ Winery. Located in Snoozeville, we have been producing the finest wine this side of the Mississippi since 1958. Our vineyard’s courteous staff will help you select the right wine for you. Our experience goes into every bottle.”
“Uncork our passion! We understand that wine should be more than a dining complement. It should be an experience. A taste that’s properly paired and able to share in the delight of occasions, celebrations, and good times with friends and family. This experience goes into every bottle.”
Which winery do you prefer?
Truthfully, there’s no wrong answer. It’s the same winery. But think for a moment. Which example gave you better visuals? Which provided visions of sitting among friends while smiling, laughing, and engaging in fun conversation…all while sipping on carefully crafted wine from XYZ Winery?
I know, the answer is obvious, but the know-how behind accomplishing this may not be. So let’s take a super fast look at five things that can help bring the YOU to your website.
1. You’re not Shakespeare, and that’s a good thing!
You don’t need to worry about writing the next great novel or emulating some famous author. All you want is to be authentic. Make it YOUR voice.
Not a great writer? It’s cool. Just write…get it out there…blather on. Then bring on a wordsmith (ahem, like us) to edit and fine-tune your copy so your message is better conveyed. All that matters is that your authentic voice is the foundation.
2. Improve readibility with short and broken sentences
Short and broken. Doesn’t sound all that great.
But when it comes to writing? It’s a fabulous technique.
Short sentences are easier to read. They’re skimmable. If you have long sentences in your copy, try cutting them in two. Or even in three. Ignore what you were taught in grade school about this breed of hacked grammar.
Be brave. Find the courage to start a sentence with And, But, or Because.
Because it’s as effective as it is liberating.
3. Engage your audience with stories
People love a good story so don’t hesitate to bring on the narrative. Get personal. Bring out your personality. Ask yourself…what stories can you tell about your product or service? Where do all of your wonderful ideas come from? Can you tell any stories about the challenges you had to overcome? About why customers flock to you?
Stories are fascinating. Use them to your advantage.
4. Persist with problems
Readers will pay more attention if you can present features or benefits as solutions to their problems. Problems resonate with people. Problems motivate people to find solutions. Address their problem effectively, and they’re as good as yours.
Everything you do or sell can solve at least one problem. Find it. Address it. Eradicate it.
5. It’s not all about you
Remember the aforementioned Mr. Awesome standing in the corner with a gaggle of people surrounding him? The “let’s talk about you” guy? Be that guy.
Your copy should always focus more on the potential buyer than on your product or service. Sell through the tell.
Share the WHY not the what.
WHY do you do what you do? WHY should they care? WHY will it help them? WHY are you the better alternative?
And when you’re finished answering all that? Narrow it even further by sharing why these answers matter to them. THIS is how you drill down to irresistible copy.
BONUS Knowledge Drop
Get people to act! If your website isn’t engineered to convert visitors into leads or customers then why does it exist? Just to say you have one? Ugh.
Sprinkle in calls to action and encourage people to engage with you throughout your site. Whether it be a free infographic, a free checklist, a free newsletter, a free anything…make it happen.
A strong “call to action” should be specific, stand out, and respect that the visitor may not yet be ready to buy. You aren’t going for the hard sell here. You’re trying to cultivate a relationship.
You don’t just walk up to an attractive person and ask, “Will you marry me?”
There’s a LOT that goes on between that first glance and the proposal. The question may eventually be phrased and asked the very same way, but now you’re buoyed by the strength of a relationship when you take a knee.
Cultivate visitor relationships through storytelling, by expressing your brand, and by encouraging him or her to learn more about you.
Lead them down an effective funnel to your end goal and broaden your engagement beyond your website so it carries to social media channels like Facebook. Bring on the love.
Phew! You made it! You’re now primed to dazzle the masses with your new wordsmith skills!
Oh…not sure how to make any of this happen?
Well, don’t dismiss it. Don’t allow your lack of time or experience in copy writing to sacrifice your website’s potential. Bring on a professional if need be. Done properly, the rewards are immeasurable.
Just get writing. Bring on the YOU!