Top Ten Ways to Maximize Your Internet Message
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Summary: If you're getting plenty of "clicks" but not
customers, use these tips on writing Internet content to
maximize your message.
Word Count: 865
Top Ten Ways to Maximize Your Internet Message -
Use these "web" copywriting tips to improve your website's
If you're just getting ready to create a website, you may
be tempted to use existing text from your print material
for the website. It may seem like a logical step, but in
fact, print material often doesn't "translate" well to the
So what do you do? Well, some businesses write the new
content themselves; others outsource their marketing needs
to professional copywriters. Copywriting, or business
writing, is any kind of writing that sells your product or
service. Sales letters, newsletters, brochures, billboards,
TV/radio commercials - all are examples of copywriting. But
the Internet has grown to such a huge force in marketing
and sales that it's created a whole new sub-specialty in
copywriting: web copywriting, or sales copy written
specifically for the Internet.
Hmm, you may think, isn't copywriting copywriting? Well,
all copywriting has some common elements: there is a
product or service to sell, a specific audience is being
targeted; a good headline and strong lead-in are critical.
But there are some key differences as well. The Internet is
its own arena and you can use that to your advantage if you
know how. Whether you write your own words, or hire someone
else, keep these key points in mind as you create your web
The Medium Is Still the Message.
Writing for the Internet is different from writing for
print because people reading web copy "scan" the page
rather than read every word. It's estimated that you need
50% fewer words on the Internet than you do if you send the
same material out via a direct-mail campaign. Of course,
you still need enough copy to cover the pros and cons. A
higher-priced item will need more copy than a lower-priced
one, and even a free offer needs some copy supporting it.
"What's In It For Me?"
Your reader always thinks this, so be aware of the
frame-of-mind of your potential customer-what do they want
that you can provide? You may be too close to your product
to see what its benefits are. A good web copywriter will
ask enough questions and get to know your business well
enough so that he or she can communicate to your customer
the wonderful, exclusive, and "I-have-to-have-this" aspects
of your product.
You need a riveting headline. Copywriters in general are
trained to write headlines that encapsulate the value of
your product or service, but this is especially important
on the Internet, where it is so easy to "click away." The
tone of the headline should not be sales-like but have an
editorial feel. You may craft 30-50 test headlines, let
them sit for a day or two and then look at them again. Is
it the best one to meet your objective? Reach your target
Don't Write "At" - Chat!
Remember, the Internet is a folksy place, not a corporate
conference room. Most copywriters are trained to write "at"
their audience, thinking of the audience as "them." Web
copywriters think of talking "to" one person at a time in a
friendly, informal way. Whenever possible, use "I" instead
of "we" or "our."
The Formatting Is Different.
It's hard to read one huge block of text on the Internet;
most people just don't bother unless they find something
interesting that catches their eye. Use blank spaces, short
paragraphs, headings (and sub-headings) to divide your copy
into manageable chunks. Use boxes and bullets to highlight
important points and try easy-to-read san-serif fonts like
Verdana or Arial.
Develop Relationships With Your Customers.
Did you know that most people who bookmark a site never
return to it? A good web copywriter helps you develop
relationships with your customers by 1) inserting devices
to capture contact information on your web site and 2)
writing follow-up emails that build rapport!
Looking For Information?
People go to the web looking for information, not a sales
pitch. Some businesses approach the Internet as a giant
shopping channel, which it's not. Your web site should be
free of hype. What you are providing is that is of value to
Know the Prime Real Estate.
A web copywriter knows that the first eyeful of your web
site is the most important piece of real estate you own
online, so he or she will not suggest you fill it up with
fancy graphics or the logo for your company. As nice as
those elements are, they shouldn't take up the whole top of
Use the "Links" Feature.
One of the great things about a web page is the way it can
link to a number of other sources, all of which contain
information to help your prospect make up his or her mind.
Use this to your advantage in linking to, for example, a
testimonials page about your products.
Take Advantage of On-line Resources.
Use Overture to help you find the right words for your
copy, Alexa for researching your competition, and Copernic,
which queries multiple search engines for you and brings
you the most relevant results from each - great for providing
more sources for you to use to flesh out your web copy.
Even if you have a great product or service to offer, you
may get lots of "clicks," but not customers. Remember, your
web copy is the primary tool you have to convert your web
site traffic into customers. Whether you decide to hire a
pro or go it alone, use the tips above to make your copy
the best it can be!
Karen Kanakanui owns WordsAreUs, a business communications
company, specializing in writing newsletters, sales
letters, feature articles, and yes, web copywriting. Visit
her on the web at www.wordsareus.com/ and sign up
for a free newsletter with tips on improving your business