I have kids. Maybe you do, too. The more I parent them, the more I realize how similar they are to the people who visit our web sites and blogs. That’s not to say that our site visitors are big babies — far from it.
But site visitors do have needs, questions and worries. And your copywriting is the guide that helps them feel comfortable, happy, and in tune with your site.
Welcome to parenting, Copyblogger style.
“Are we there yet?”
Visitors land on your site today with a purpose in mind. It might be to be entertained, to be informed, to learn, or to buy. But if you make their journey from landing to goal too long, they’re going to start to wonder if you’ll ever give them what they wanted.
You know, the good stuff.
So out with it, already. Don’t ramble on about yourself or fluff your site up with content that isn’t relevant. Get to the point. Your copywriting should be a fast journey right to the good stuff. Make it short, snappy and concise.
Tell people what they’re going to get, then give it to them.
“I said, come here!”
You may want your readers to head over to the Buy Now page or the Hire Me form. They might have different ideas. They may well be running all around your website clicking on unrelated junk or getting distracted with stuff that doesn’t matter.
It’s frustrating. You want people to take action, but most of the time, they don’t even know you want them to do something.
Each page of copy you write should have a purpose, and that’s to get a reader to take some specific action. Your copy is the tool that convinces them to do so.
Plan the route your potential clients should follow, the action they should take at each step. Then write your copy to be the clear, simple path that leads them right to becoming your customer.
“Do you want an apple or an orange?”
Have you ever walked into a toy store with your kids and asked them to choose something? Good luck with that. They’re overwhelmed by the options and run about, touching everything and totally unable to make up their minds about anything.
Your site visitors feel the same way. Give them too many links, too many options, too much to do, and you’ll lose them to option paralysis.
They do nothing. Which means you get nothing.
Good copy gives readers clear direction and limited choices. More isn’t better; fewer options and simple choices help people make a decision. If you present no more than two or three options, you’ll hugely raise the odds that one of them will be chosen.
Don’t ask site visitors to make complex decisions. Stick to a simple either/or and everyone wins.
Anyone who’s ever been within an earshot of a kid knows this one.
With kids, everything needs a reason. It’s a never-ending dive into the “Why” black hole that eventually reaches, “Because I said so!” That’s not a very satisfying answer, though.
Your site visitors have a few more years under their belts. They aren’t kids anymore, and they aren’t stupid. They’ll ask why, too. In fact, they’ll demand to know why they should do something, and you need to give them solid, convincing and compelling reasons.
Every person in the world wants that type of knowledge. No one likes uncertainty. It makes us feel hesitant — and when we feel hesitant, we don’t buy. A potential customer who doesn’t have his questions answered is going to avoid clicking the button even if he really wants the product, and you just lost a sale.
Site visitors who feel good about their choice and feel they’re making the right decision for them are going to take action — and confidently so.
That’s why long copy works well — it covers all the answers and potential arguments. Then it gives solid reasons why this decision is the right one for your site visitor to make.
“Are you listening to me?”
You’re talking and talking to your kids and nothing happens at all. That’s when you realize . . . no one’s listening. You might as well be talking to the wall.
If your copy has the same reaction with site visitors, then you’d better start thinking about how you’re talking to them.
Are you talking at them? They won’t listen. They care about themselves, not about you.
Talking too much? Boring. Shut up already, and get to the point.
Talking a different language? Don’t use fancy words and jargon to try and impress. People want to be spoken to their way, not your way.
The secret to great copywriting — and great parenting — is simple: keep the connection. Hook their interest, hold their attention, give them good reason to listen to you, guide them well, and feel proud when they do exactly as you’d hoped.
About the Author: James Chartrand is a copywriting dad who treats his clients just as well as he does his two beautiful daughters — except he doesn’t make his clients eat their oatmeal. Catch more of James’ great advice at his blog, Men with Pens.