Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article about changes in the world of marketing. If you apply for a job today, you will be asked for qualifications that didn’t exist as little as two years ago.
The same is true for websites, sales letters and other components of your online marketing. If you created your website and marketing materials two, three, five or more years ago, you might be surprised when
- just a few tweaks will increase your conversions and bring you more leads
- new trends and new styles will transform your website.
Recently I worked with a client who wanted a website makeover. I had written his first site for him a few years ago. He was surprised at how differently I approached the project this time.
What’s different? Here are 5 tweaks that will bring your website up to date faster than you can say “website makeover
Tweak #1: Write clear, straightforward content to get exactly the clients you’re hoping to attract.
You’re busy and your clients are too. So there’s no need to send them off on a scavenger hunt to figure out what you do.
For example, people get stress relief from massage, acupuncture, EFT, meditation, aromatherapy, chiropractic, herbs, medical prescriptions, life coaching and more.
Chances are you resonated with some options on that list but shuddered when you heard others. That’s why the common advice to “just share your benefits” can be misleading. People feel annoyed when they get halfway through a document and realize they’re being asked to consider something distasteful.
Often clients call me for a consultation because it’s so frustrating to explain their services to prospects. You might have a unique service or you might deliver your service in a special way that’s hard to explain.
You can try saying something, “You get a deeper experience,” or, “We’re more thorough,” but these phrases will come across as vague.
Here’s my favorite exercise to do this:
Write up your service as a story told by your client. For instance, here’s a very abbreviated version of what I might write:
?“Mary searched LinkedIn because called she needed a website fast and didn’t have time to shop around for designers, copywriters and techies. My service delivers a full product, which would be called one-stop shopping (except that some people think that term is cheesy). We solved some technical issues with my virtual partners and got the site up in less than a week. She’s already getting more clients and compliments on the new site.”
Got the idea? Now do the same for 1 or 2 real or potential clients. The general form is
“Ben had a problem with X. He searched online in the search engines and also did …. Then he came across this site! He did this and this and this, and the results were….”
“Jane wanted to do Y. She found this site by. and looked for … She was inspired to do …. and the results were …”
Now try writing your story in first person from the client’s perspective.
Tweak #2 – Think SHORT AND SIMPLE.
Fashion today is about short. Short skirts. Short jackets. Short shorts. One of our local stores even claims men’s trousers are rising higher above their shoes.
Online marketing copy is shorter, too, especially on home, about and landing pages.
Some business owners aren’t even bothering with words. They have a video and maybe a few short sentences. Their websites essentially have become landing pages, with the video playing a starring role.
So should you do away with website content altogether?
Absolutely not! Use as much copy as you need to meet your goals. For instance, if you want to show the full scope of your services, you might need to expand your services page. The key is to get right to the point, make your statements, illustrate with images and videos, and eliminate any unnecessary words, phrases and paragraphs. Be ruthless!
Does this mean copy will be easier to write?
Your hair stylist will probably tell you that cutting short hair can be a lot harder than cutting longer hair, especially if you’re female with curly hair, like me.
As most of us know, it’s usually easier to write a longer version of a letter or report. When you need to “go short,” you need to hone in on the most important points and emphasize them. You spend LOTS of time tightening and finding the perfect phrase.
Tweak #3– Add videos.
You can create a profitable website without a single video, but why try? Video is easier than ever! Besides, video will help you reach an increasingly visual audience, showing that you’re up-to-date and contemporary.
If you don’t want to appear on camera, you can create power point videos, which is what I do most of the time. I’m not enthused about getting all dressed up, putting on make-up and fixing the lighting in my home and home office.
And I’ve been amazed at how many clients will call me after watching a series of 5-to-10 minute videos. “I feel I know you!” they say.
For making videos, the easiest software for many people will be ScreenFlow, which seems easy and intuitive. You can also use Camtasia Studio (it works better with a PC than a Mac).
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Done is better than perfect.” That saying applies especially to videos. I’ve made several videos where I thought, “I know these videos have flaws but I just don’t have time to do anything else.” Yet these videos continue to bring me clients and sales.
When you’re getting started, play back your videos and listen with a gentle but critical ear. Ideally you will be
- speaking faster than you normally do
- sounding strong and confident, rather than hesitant
- varying your inflection so you sound enthusiastic and energetic
- keeping your videos short
- focusing on solving a problem, not selling
To maximize the value of your videos, upload the Powerpoints to SlideShare.com – a lot of people hang out there. You can use them as giveaways and bonuses, too.
Tweak #4: Use visuals to create an open, spacious feeling.
We used to put up sales letters and pages with just text and maybe a few arrows and colored text here and there for highlights. Those days are gone.
Today’s readers will avoid “text-y” pages that look crowded and cramped. Current trends favor light, airy websites, sales letters and ebooks. People expect to skim and scan, rather than read closely, and they want a leisurely feel.
You can avoid the impression of a page full of text in several ways.
- Set up your content as Q&A (works especially well on About pages)
- Use headings, bullet points, arrows and other marketers to highlight important components of the text
- Write the copy first, on your own or with the help of a copywriter, so you can develop a layout that supports your message.
– Use images to highlight important components of the copy and separate key sections of the copy.
You will find many images at sites like unsplash.com and pixabay.com. Or google “free images you can use on your blog.”
You can also use your own photos. I recommend that you make some modifications before using stock photos. If you look at my Instagram account – http://instagram.com/cathyinphilly – you can see the modifications I made using Canva.com. Canva is completely free and you’ll find lots of instruction guides on YouTube and elsewhere.
Whether you’re creating info products, sales letters, web pages or blog posts, illustrations help get attention and make your point. You’ll find lots of image editing systems including some that are free.
If you’d like to learn ways to create your own visuals, check out this surprisingly affordable info product Sticky Social Media.
If you don’t want to edit your own images, you can pay $5.50 each for artists at Fiverr.com. I also like Canva, which makes your images look professional even if you’re not a designer.
Some web designers are extremely fussy about photos, saying they’d rather use clipart. Others avoid stock photos, especially photos of people, in favor of your own imperfect images. This second approach seems to make more sense from a marketing perspective. After all, a beautiful image with a “me too” subject probably doesn’t send the message you want.
You’ll find a wide variance in the use of clipart (i.e., images drawn instead of photographed). Some people use them very successfully; others shun them. It’s all about good taste and consistency with your brand and message.
Tweak #5: “Content” is the answer.
Here in Philadelphia we have a joke. When you ask, “Who’s the first [almost anything]?” you’re usually save when you answer, “Ben Franklin.”
And when it comes to your website, when you ask almost any question about traffic, engagement, sign-ups or even adding more clients, the answer is almost always, “Content.”
Not just any content. Well-written content that supports your brand and communicates your value.
Some solutions will work very well for your business, while others are a waste of time for you (but may indeed help other types of businesses).
For example, most service based businesses get traffic by creating content. Your content can be in the form of
… ebook giveaways
…posts on social media
…guest posts on other people’s blogs
…LinkedIn Pulse posts
You can use stories to add variety and engage visitors. Many consultants will tell you to share your own story, especially a rags to riches story. But sometimes these stories are not appropriate for your audience – or you don’t have one! Not everyone travels on a journey to get more money, quality of life, or health.
You can learn more about writing stories through my very popular Udemy course. Click here to learn more (and claim a discount through this link): http://mycopy.info/udemystory30
You can learn about guest posting through another Udemy course (discounted here):
We have surveyed five straightforward tweaks that will change your website and help you get more clients.
If you want to go further and develop your website to attract clients, you’ll need to dig deeper into your marketing. You’ll need to create compelling content, set up a navigation system and decide what to include on each website page and sales letter.
If you’d like me to help you on this journey, there are several ways we can work together. I offer a range of services from a simple “tweak and critique” video coaching session to a full service “Done For You” website. I can also help write blog posts that will captivate your audience.
Your next step depends on where you are in your marketing and your budget. My most popular program is the 90-Minute Risk-Free consultation. Learn more and sign up here. http://mycopy.info/storyconsult
If you’re a veteran who’s busy seeing clients, it’s rarely a good use of time for you to Do It Yourself. You can apply the cost of your story consultation to your full-service copywriting project, when you make the decision within 10 business days.
You can also
– send me an email at Cathy@CathyGoodwin.com
– send me a message via Facebook http://facebook.com/cathygoodwin– complete this form