Content is king: understanding the role of strong copy on your website
You have a website for your business. Now, are you prepared to use it?
Here is a reality check. There is no shortage when it comes to businesses using the web to attract customers. If you want your website to stand out, you have to put some forethought into it.
It is easy to think about attracting your customers through high-end displays and web design that dazzles. However, the truth is that, for all the potential glamour of web design, high-quality content is still king when it comes to attracting and delighting customers.
That’s right. Just like your mother told you, words matter.
Scanning is Not the Enemy of Great Content
Way back in 1997, Nielsen found that 79 percent of web visitors scan web pages rather than reading them. And it is fairly safe to say that your web viewers have not slowed down to pause and reflect during web searches in the last decade.
This does not mean, however, that content is not important. Rather, the reverse is true. Since you know your audience is not going to slow down and savor every well-crafted word over which you have slaved for hours, you must ensure that whatever pieces of your content your audience does read are stellar. Think of your content as a high-end meal prepared by a world-class chef instead of an all-you-can-eat buffet in a strip mall.
Your Home Page Headline: Channeling The Power of the “Quick Get”
Your readers (or scanners, as the case may be) are busy. They land on your website because they are looking for something specific. Do not let them meander around aimlessly trying to find it. In the immortal words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Thus, on your homepage, you have to grab the attention of your reader quickly with a well-crafted headline. Kissmetrics asserts that the 6 to 12 words of which your headline consists are the most important copy you will write. So, no pressure, right?
Here is the key to writing a headline that will give your readers a “quick get.” Think about the part of your audience that will most benefit from your product or service. Now think about the benefit they will receive in specific terms. Now, distill that benefit down to a few simple words. Dropbox manages it in just five simple words. Their headline reads: “Securely share, sync, and collaborate.” It is simple, succinct, and successful. Take a look.
The Subhead: The Little Sentence that Can
Once you have recovered from the strain of distilling the essence of your company into a stellar headline, it is time to move on to the subhead. The purpose of the subhead is to provide a little bit more information to enhance and support your main headline. In the Dropbox example above, notice that with just 17 words, the main point of the headline is underscored and the reader gets a bit more information about the benefits involved. Once again, simplicity is key.
The CTA: Customer Clarion Calls
Since the entire purpose of your website is to move your viewers to take some action, your calls to action (CTAs) must be powerful. HubSpot gives this advice: “Include 2 to 3 calls to action above the fold to direct people to different stages of the buying cycle.” The “buying” cycle doesn’t just refer to a purchase of a product; it can refer to the acquisition of services if you’re a freelancer, for example.
This is one area in which your website homepage differs from your landing pages. Landing pages are typically designed to move the reader to take just one targeted, specific action. Your homepage should do more than that, encouraging your reader to extend his or her stay on your site by prompting a variety of actions.
For your CTAs, try to ditch the boring “Click here” and “Download this” and so on. Netflix does this masterfully in the example below. First, Netflix persuades you to look with “See What’s Next.” Then there’s that red button that simply says “Join free for a month.” It is much more compelling than “click here,” isn’t it?
Images are Content Too
Resist the urge to skimp on the images. While your words are vitally important, your images can help you evoke an emotional response in your readers in a hurry. Use high-quality still images or videos that convey the emotion you want to get across. HubSpot picked this delicious example of an image done right from 4 Rivers Smokehouse.(Caution: Watch only if you have already had lunch.)
Frame Benefits with a “You” Slant
This can be a little tricky to do because you are accustomed to thinking of your product in terms of features. However, your readers will be thinking of it in terms of benefits. So, rather than a dry listing of product features, write tiny stories about how the product will change your viewer’s life for the better. Think “you” copy instead of “me” copy.
Social Proof Seals the Deal
Social proof in the form of customer testimonials, recognizable seals such as BBB accreditation or familiar awards, and selected samples of social media reviews can help you seal the deal with your viewer. For instance, eWedding uses social proof in their subhead to great effect in the example below.
Let Your Homepage Tout Your Other Content
Including prominent links to other content on your site such as ebooks, whitepapers, and blog posts on your homepage will prompt some viewers to click through a little more easily. Remember that each click is a step in the buyer journey. If you can keep your reader hooked with high-quality content across multiple web pages, your chances of winning a loyal customer increase exponentially.
The Bottom Line
High-quality content will always reign supreme as a superior marketing strategy. To create quality content, it is important to take into account that your viewer will likely be in scanning mode when he or she arrives at your site. It is up to you to draw the reader in by using content marketing best practices such as:
- Attention-grabbing headlines
- Subheads that support and inform
- Clear, strong calls to action
- Images that evoke an emotional response
- Benefits that address customer pain points
- Social proof that builds trust
If you pay attention to detail when crafting your content, your website homepage will become a beacon of light for your customers in a sea of not-so-stellar competitor sites. When your viewers become your customers, delight them again by using Payoneer to provide superior global payment processing that matches your content in quality.