Continued from page 1
TIP: Be aware that your list may include some benefits which everyone in your business category could claim. In other words, they’re not just specific to your company, but apply to type of service you offer. For example, if you sell a Content Management System (CMS) for website creation, you may list “Greater control for marketing managers” and “Less expense updating content” as benefits. Every CMS vendor could claim these benefits, so you’ll need to question their importance. Will they differentiate you from your competitors. Generic benefits can be useful if none of your competitors are using them, or if you feel you need to educate your market a bit before launching into company-specific benefits.
STEP 4 – WRITE YOUR CONTENT
So now you know what you’d like to say, it’s time to decide how to say it. This is about three things:
i) Subject – What is subject of your site; features or benefits?
ii) Structure – How do you structure your site such that your customers will read your most compelling benefits?
iii) Words – What words should you use to best engage your audience (and search engines)?
The remainder of this article is dedicated to Subject and Structure. For further discussion of Words, see http://www.divinewrite.com/webwriting.htm and http://www.divinewrite.com/seocopy.htm).
What is subject of your site; features or benefits? The answer to this question lies in audience identification. If your audience knows a bit about type of product or service you’re selling, lead with features (e.g. processor speed, turnaround time, uptime, expertise, educational qualifications, wide product range, etc.). But make sure you talk about their benefits, and make sure features offering most important benefits are most prominent.
Here’s a simplified example…
“Cool Widgets offers:
-- Standard Operating Environment – Significantly reducing complexity of your IT infrastructure
-- System upgrades which are less expensive to license – Providing excellent TCO reductions”
In cases where you’re selling to an audience who knows very little about your product or service, lead with benefits (e.g. if you’re selling something technical to a non-technical audience).
Here’s same simplified example, reversed for a novice audience…
“Cool Widgets offers:
-- Reduced complexity of IT infrastructure – We can implement a Standard Operating Environment for your organisation
-- Reduced TCO – We can upgrade your IT to systems which are less expensive to license”
How do you structure your site such that your customers will be sure to read your most compelling benefits? The answer is, keep it short ‘n sweet. And make it scannable. This doesn’t mean you have to cut features or benefits. You just have to structure your site to accommodate your message.
While every site is different, as a rule of thumb it’s a good idea to introduce your main features and benefits on your home page. Summarise them – preferably using bullet points, but at very least, clearly highlight them so that your audience can scan-read (e.g. bold, underline, colour, link).
Then link from each summarised feature or benefit to a detailed description. Try to keep each page to approximately 200-400 words. You may need several pages to detail all your features and benefits. (Click http://www.divinewrite.com/downloads/pagestructure.doc to download a page structure template – 29KB.)
TIP: In cases where you need to introduce features and benefits which are generic to your field (rather than specific to your offering), your home page is generally best place to do it. From there, you can lead to a second page summarising specific features and benefits of your offering.
Web copy is about far more than just clever words. It’s essential that you identify benefits you offer your customer, and that you can convince your customer you actually deliver those benefits.
I hope that guidance and tools provided in this article will help you on your way to engaging web copy which converts to sales.
* Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details or more FREE articles.