Monday, 8 June 2009

Writing hot web copy: four ways to convert traffic to sales

Web users are just a click away from leaving your site. There are billions of websites out there all competing for their attention and you need to keep your bounce rate down by ensuring your copy is succinct. Read on to find out how.

Remember your goal

Before you start writing, think about two things, and two things only:

  • The goal of your copy

  • Who you're selling to.

Anything in your copy that doesn't work towards your goal or target audience should be cut.

Extraneous adverbs

Remove adverbs (really, very, extremely, quickly) that add nothing to your marketing message. Replace them with a stronger verb to convey how your products or services will be of value to your customer.

Instead of: My new book will really help you to quickly get more customers. (12 words)

Use: My new book accelerates customer attraction. (6 words)

That don't impress me much (with apologies to Shania Twain)

Don't pack your copy with technical terminology, buzz words or high-scoring Scrabble® words that impress nobody. Although useful to reduce repetition, a thesaurus can be your worst enemy if you misuse a word. Write for your audience: after all, if your customer doesn't understand what your message is, you've lost them.

Instead of: Sesquipedalian copy won't get results.

Use: Overusing long words won't get results.


'Cut' (or CTRL+X for keyboard shortcut fans) is your essential tool for efficient marketing. 24 hours after writing, go back and cut around 20-30% of what you've written. Remove anything that doesn't guide customers from introducing the product/service, how it will benefit them and then through to how they can get it. If your point's unclear, be ruthless.

Tannice Pendegrass has six years of copywriting, proofreading and editing experience, having worked for an international bank and a leading UK games studio. Tannice also provides proofreading and editing services for businesses and students. You can find her at Cam Poetic License and on BT Tradespace.

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