Have you ever landed on a website, interested in purchasing a service from a company, only to be overwhelmed by the volume and organization of information? How quickly did you exit out of the tab?
One of the more damaging mistakes a small business owner or marketer can make is being too verbose. You surely have incredible amounts of knowledge and passion to share about your business, but your potential customer is probably not interested in hearing it.
Don’t take it personally. Much like you, they’ve got busy lives and would prefer to just get straight to the point.
Consider this: a visitor lands on your website, after doing a quick search for a local floral shop. Ready to purchase flowers for their mother, they are inundated with a novella’s worth of copy. The visitor doesn’t want to spend much time searching through the website to see if the shop can quickly deliver the type of flower they’re interested in, so they hit the back button in their browser and try another website.
It can be challenging to write the right copy for your website, brochure or other marketing materials. To keep your copy on-track, consider following these three guidelines:
1. What does your customer need?
What brought a visitor to your website in the first place? If you’re unsure about what your visitors are looking for, you must begin using analytics data to track what search terms or links bring people to your corner of the web. You may think visitors are choosing you because they want a floral shop that sources from local, family-owned farmers, when most visitors are actually interested in your same-day delivery option.
Once you know why your customer chose your website to help solve their problem, you’ll need to perform an audit of your copy to figure out if what you’re saying is matching up – quickly and clearly – to your customers’ needs.
2. What information is irrelevant to your customer’s needs?
After completing the audit of your copy, you will likely have come across copy that isn’t addressing the needs of your client. Move or remove this text. For example, the two paragraphs outlining your company history may be better suited to live on a separate “About” page, instead of your homepage.
3. How can you rewrite your copy to make the same point, in fewer words?
The easiest way to be more concise in your writing is to understand what language is slowing down your reader.
A common mistake is overusing adjectives that don’t actually mean anything. Words like “amazing” and “incredible” are usually nothing more than empty words: we see the words so often that they’ve lost their true meaning and impact potential. (If you don’t believe me, I highly suggest taking a listen to Louis CK’s thoughts on the subject).
Try removing the unnecessary descriptors from a sentence. Does it still tell the same story? If so, you’ve just saved your potential customer time, helping them move forward to make their purchasing decisions just a bit quicker.
At the end of the day, your web (and other marketing material) copy is about your customer, not you. Your copy should meet their needs in a quick and clear manner. Save the time of your potential customer by getting straight to the point, and you’ll be rewarded with more sales.