Profiting from Web Copy I: 6 Basic Steps

I wish that explaining how to write great web copy was something that could be established in a brief article but if I tried that, you would be getting short-changed. It is not something that can be learned overnight as it often takes years of practice to achieve. The alternative is of course is to simply hire a great writer (I’m taking on new clients by the way) and allow them to work their magic! This is the first in another series of posts (and you’ll notice I enjoy creating sagas) that aims to show you how to cause your bank balance to bulge through clever web copy. Below, I outline the 6 steps that must be taken to create web copy that amazes, converts and profits.

1 - Identify your Goals

Before thinking of a content marketing strategy, you need to know your objective, target audience and what you are trying to sell. Bear in mind that the objective may be to get email addresses rather than asking customers to open their virtual wallets. Your target audience needs to be as specific as possible in order to tailor your copy specifically to them.

Finally, you need to know your product inside out and you’ll be amazed at how many companies don’t know this information. Look at your products/services critically and discover the benefits and how they will appeal to specific individuals or groups.

2 - Show Empathy

When writing great website copy, you have to empathise with the audience. You need to uncover the problem(s) of your target audience and make them feel as if you genuinely care. This is a vital first step; instead of being the aggressive marketer of lore, you are the caring and sharing company and your first concern is with the customer’s wellbeing. In some cases, your audience may not be aware of the problem until you bring it up. Obviously, your product/service is the answer!

3 - Be a Problem Solver

Now that the audience is aware they have a problem, you need to help them determine why no solutions have been found to date. You analyse previous attempts to deal with the issue and investigate why they were unsuccessful. Naturally, your diagnosis will be that other products were simply ineffective wastes of money that didn’t get to the root cause of the problem and you offer something different. Be careful not to publically trash other companies by name if you can help it though!

4 - Create a Blissful Scenario

Your audience should be warmed up by now and you are well on your way to finding a solution. The next step is to paint a beautiful picture of what life would be like if only this wretched problem was removed permanently. You need to be creative here and not just state the obvious.

For example, if you are selling a weight loss solution, you don’t just say ‘you’ll lose weight and feel awesome.’ You need to **show **the audience what ‘awesome’ really means. ‘You will be able to fit into your old wedding dress, you will have more energy than ever before, your sex drive will escalate’ and so on. Basically, their lives will be immeasurably better when this problem is solved and luckily, your company has just the solution...

5 - Introduce Your Product/Service

Do you see how long it takes to bring your product into the discussion? At this stage, your audience should be dreaming of a better life and eager to find out how it can be achieved. If you begin your web copy by saying how brilliant your company and product is, your audience will leave the site. By showing all the benefits first, you set the scene for a ‘must-have’ solution.

Now you can explain who you are and how your product will eliminate the audience’s problem. This includes details on what makes you different to all your competitors. For example, your product may have a new ingredient or else you offer a special delivery service. As you are looking for concise web copy, just include the most important information and don’t go into too much detail for now.

6 - Call to Action

This is the final step and all you have to do here is point customers in the right direction. Believe it or not, the Internet generation still needs to be told what to do. We value convenience and companies often need to spoon-feed consumers so it is essential that you have a clear call to action. Tell the customer what you want them to do next whether this means phoning you, opting in to your newsletter, giving you an email address or making the purchase.

The above are the basic steps to writing web copy that profits and should be used as your go-to structure for all copywriting tasks. In the next instalment, we look at how to add flesh onto the bones of the basic template outlined above.

Analyse your existing web copy: does it follow all of the above protocols? If not, why not?

Are you following the above already and if so, how successful have you been with this strategy?