Online Copywriting: 3 Tips for Making Sure The Technology Doesn’t Dilute Its Power
Healthy Copy Ideas Newsletter January 2009
Don’t let the doom and gloom get you down. There are still plenty of marketing tactics to keep your business moving while minimizing the cost.
And to get the most bang for your buck, nothing can compare with the internet. Search engine marketing is a great way to get customers for minimal advertising dollars . . . if done right.
See my article below about some cautions to keep in mind when working on your website.
And at the end, check out this great resource for getting a hold of some web copywriting techniques that sell.
In mid-December, I received a hands-on lesson on the limits to technology – or actually, I should say, the beauty of older technologies. Ice storms left us without power for five days.
Left without the usual conveniences, I had to develop a savvy that three generations ago would seem commonplace. I learned to gauge the different spots on my woodstove for heating different foods. How to take an efficient bath with stove-heated water. And I kept a careful eye on the thermometer outside as I shuffled perishables between my porch and the root cellar.
I became focused on the most basic strategies for keeping comfortable during these few days. And interestingly enough, I also became more aware of how satisfying warmth, a good meal, and a clean kitchen is.
And while I have since welcomed the return of my dishwasher and refrigerator, it made me think about how new technologies can sometimes prevent us from attending to basic skills and experiences. Sometimes even causing us to neglect fundamental things we should be attending to.
A great reminder for me, a health copywriter who specializes in writing for the web.
You see, the web is a fantastic combination of new technologies. My business depends on it. It enables me to write for clients in California and Texas from my home in New Hampshire. Just like it enables your business to expand your customer base, communicate more cost-efficiently and measure the effectiveness of these communications with analytics.
But it’s easy to get so swept up in the technology of the web, that we lose sight of some of the basics of communication. I admit I’m a little biased, being a copywriter, but I have to emphasize how great technology can’t make up for good copy.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
SEO Madness Search Engine Optimization is one of the most cost-efficient ways to market. As a copywriter, I love SEO because it forces me to really think about how the people I’m trying to reach are thinking about the product I’m writing about. It forces me to be more of a communicator – not just a writer. But it’s easy to get lost in SEO. I’ve seen too much copy that is like a splatter of key words with very little sense pulling it together.
Use SEO to make your website friendly to your customers and the search engines. But keep it in the realm of communication. Don’t sacrifice interesting, compelling, and comprehensible copy for a bunch of key words.
Autoresponder Dependency Autoresponders make our life easier – it’s like keeping up with 1000’s of penpals and not losing track of it all. But how many autoresponder messages in your inbox do you really feel like reading? Or even worse, leave you confused.
I mentioned this in my report, “17 Health Copywriting Tactics for a Tough Economy”, and I’ll harp on it again. Make sure you take advantage of each communication – no matter how automated – to build a stronger connection with your customers. Good autoresponder messages are:
- Personable. They don’t sound like a form letter.
- Identifiable. The from and/or the subject line clearly link back to previous messages or the website.
- Clear. They anticipate questions and confusion and clearly explain what’s going on and what action the customer should take, if any.
- Helpful. They connect people to additional help if they should need it with an url, phone number and email address.
- Interesting. Use it to continue to pique your customer’s interest and excitement about the product they just bought; the next one they might buy from you; or your company in general.
Blinding Glitter Now I have to admit, after reading and writing all day, I often get a kick out of a well-done bit of Flash art on a website. While researching one Nutrition Business Journal article, I lingered on each visit to Dr. Smoothie’s website. The website’s background music kept me feeling mellow, despite my deadline. But don’t let these technologies get in the way of your customers getting to your copy.
- Don’t let flash art, etc. slow down your website. And make sure you present a way to opt out of flashy openings to your website for customers who just want to get down to business.
- Provide alternative text for graphics and videos. Search engines can only read the text. No matter how pertinent and interesting your graphics may be, they won’t help your rankings. Provide a brief alternative text description. And for better mileage, refer to a benefit in that alternative text as well.
- Don’t rely on artful technology to keep or even capture your prospect’s attention. Remember, many web shoppers are very task-oriented. Words do the best job of letting people know they’ve come to the right place, getting them excited about what you have to offer and helping them make that purchase.
- Don’t rely on graphics to help your customer navigate your site. Provide clear text instructions and information that reinforces your graphics. Don’t risk ambiguity.
Online shoppers like to feel there’s a person behind the website. So talk to them. Put good basic communication up front and technology will just help it go further.
For a fantastic tutorial on how to craft great online copy – from sales pages to emails – nothing beats Nick Usborne’s Million Dollar Secrets to Online Copywriting. Nick has been copywriting for 25 years, 11 of those focusing exclusively on online copy. His clients range from Disney to Yahoo.
This professional-grade course provides you with everything you need to know to write hard-working web copy. Get your copy here.
If you’d like some help in making your website or e-communications more shopper- and search-engine friendly, consider using my services. Contact me at email@example.com or (603)332-7870, 8:30-3:30 EST or by appointment.