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11 Ways To Caffeinate Your Web Copy Give It More Juice, Get More Sales
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Your web site sales barely dribble in, and you have reason to believe that sub-par copy is the culprit. In fact, you know it's the copy because your stats reveal the click-and-flee phenomenon. Click and flee is a rather sad state of affairs. Traffic funnels in with a fury... and then funnels out just as quickly, washing away with it a ton of potential customers. Yikes.
But what's so bad about your web copy, anyway? You spelled everything correctly. You didn't commit any heinous grammatical crimes. So then... what's the missing secret ingredient in the copy sauce? How will you turn on the juice that caffeinates your writing, wakes up and shakes up your readers, and ultimately brings more profit?
The missing copy ingredient is the Human Touch. Hit it right, and your copy bristles with life and fuels your customers with the purpose to purchase. Miss the boat, and you're just another webmaster, dragging his readers into the Groan Zone.
Give your copy an instant caffeine lift using this simple, step-by-step strategy as soon as tonight. Stop talking about it and just DO IT. Your website will thank you!
1. Visualize the ideal customer. Is it a little old lady who calls you a whippersnapper and chucks you under the chin? A smart-alecky hipster who uses words like "snarky"? Swim around in this person's brain for a few minutes. Which colloquialisms does she use in everyday conversation? What's her problem, and how can you solve it? Who IS she exactly; and more importantly, who does she WISH she was?
Pretend that you and your future customer are one and the same. Yes, you're speaking TO him, but you're also speaking THROUGH him. Carry this visualization with you because you'll need it for Step 3.
2. Flip the perspective. If most of your web copy informs your reader of what "we" do and what "we" have, then make the perspective switch. Give the copy a run-through, and tick off all those we's and us's. Let your trusty red pen guide the way.
Let's say you wrote a sentence that says, "We have over ten years of experience in the design industry." Revise it to something more envigorating and customer-focused, like: "Imagine how much more you can accomplish with a 10+ year professional designer on your side."
3. Turn the passive to aggressive. Action begets action. Passive lacks passion! Replace your passive verbs with action verbs and your copy comes alive.
Passive: I am a copywriter.
Active: I write copy.
Passive: We are a collection of web professionals who specialize in copy, design and marketing.
Active: We provide exceptional web copy, design and marketing services for clients large and small.
(Active voice eliminates clumsy phrasing so you can express more ideas in less words. Notice I was able to squeeze an additional thought into the second, active statement.)
4. Write conversationally. How can you learn to write in a conversational tone? Ditch the robot-speak. Imitate that "voice" we talked about in Point One. "Perform" your web copy - read out loud as you review. Then, do the following:
5. Perfect the pacing. Listen to the way your copy moves. Vary your beats. You might have two or three short, choppy sentences in a row and then one longer sentence that begins with a prepositional phrase. Three questions in sequence flows much more smoothly than five. Even so: don't think about the rules so much as develop an "ear" for the flow.
6. Insert emotion and opinions. Unlike journalism which requires total objectivity, web copywriting calls for emotion and a distinct point of view. Express yourself! Defend the argument with verve and spice.
7. Involve the reader. Speak directly to him or her, just as you would in an email conversation. Ask questions: "Sounds like a pretty exciting offer, huh?" Make suggestions: "Top with fresh blueberries for added flavor and health benefits!"
8. Slip in those colloquialisms. Who's talking? The voice of your ideal customer, of course. Run through every bit of your copy and tune it up with human-to-human expressions (but please don't say 'bling,' okay? That one's my personal pet peeve.).
9. Don't forget contractions. Which sounds like someone's natural speech: "I'd like to welcome you," or "I would like to welcome you." If you guessed choice one, give yourself a gold star. Turn the "do not's" into "don'ts", the "would not's" into "wouldn'ts", etc. If I catch you using the long form of these conversational expressions, I'll be putting in a call to the Contraction Police for certain. So DO NOT-- I mean, DON'T do it!
10. Chop it down. Poorly written copy sounds like a mouthful and a half. You'll know it when you read out loud and stumble. (Please do read aloud... it really helps.) Trim away prepositional phrases like over, under, with, about, to, along with, into, out of when they occur several times in succession.
11. Call your readers to action. You're ready to take the final, critical step toward web copy perfection: the call to action. If your ultimate wish is for the customer to contact you, then add that instruction to the end of every section on EVERY page of your website. Shuttle him there on a direct link. "Contact us for a custom quote today!" (and include the URL).
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