Internet Trust, Traffic & Sales
Writing for traffic, trust and sales
If your information helps people to become free of debt, more attractive to the opposite sex, then say so
Michel Fortin Power Positioning Dot Com.
There is no doubt that a very difficult part of a commercial website design is the actual writing of the pages and in particular the sales landing page. After all, the site has probably been designed to sell something. This is where all your work succeeds or fails.
There are 3 approaches to successful writing or rather let me refer to it as copywriting:
1. Your are a natural born copywriter
2. Youre a trained copywriter
3. You have learned from watching successful copywriters.
The little bit that I know has been learned from trying to digest vast amounts of information made available by Michel Fortin, Ken Evoy, Ralph Wilson, Corey Rudl, Seth Godin and many others. Corey Rudl was killed in a racing car accident in June 2005.
The contents of this chapter are in no small way due to the work of people like these. I deserve little credit for original thought here. My only input is to add another way of describing what is important in creating good pages and provision of the series of Mind Maps that do a superior job of creating summaries of the really important bits in a beneficial picture format. This is an attempt on my part to position my approach uppermost in your mind.
Because there is a great need to combine aspects of human understanding, psychology, philosophy, sociology and selling skills along with grammar and word skill there can be no substitute for reading more and more about this copywriting subject.
If I have any advice it is that you should look out for good sites that have excellent copywriting i.e.
copywriting that excites you,
copywriting that interests you
and copywriting that then compels or persuades you to read on and eventually buy or carry out some other action the author was determined to get you to do
… Then by all mean use this for the basis of your own writing approaches but do not copy verbatim.
Ken Evoys writing is geared to getting what he calls his MWR most wanted response. This might be a sale, a click through for more info and so on.
Much of Michel Fortins writing is geared to his work/product/system whatever it may be becoming foremost in your thoughts. Through his Power Positioning strategy he strives continuously to position his work/product/system to be first in the mind of his prospect/customer. He calls this Top Of Mind Awareness.
It worked admirably with me you will have noted not only my frequent reference to Michel Fortin but also use of his words. It has also worked for Michael who charges around $1.50 per word for using his copywriting skills.
EGOCENTRIC VISITOR-FOCUSED BENEFITS
It is not my intention to justify what is written from hereon for the reasons described above. I trust you will find little to argue with and that you will tempted to explore the writings of my mentors further.
1. Appeal to and attract your targeted audience to read on and benefit from journeying further into your web offering
2. Make an appealing beneficial offer early that will collect e-mail addresses for future, long term (permission) marketing opportunities
3. Use exciting, emotional and compelling words full of benefits for the visitor
4. Create an attractive layout that allows the visitor to immediately believe.. this site has benefits for me, this is what I have been looking for.
Go back to these 4 listed items and look for a single common factor
I have moulded the word BENEFIT into every paragraph.
This is the most important lessons to perhaps learn. Your web must not be created to satisfy your or your designers ego as the major objective. Your web must appeal to others who have only one interest or question at this stage of visiting your website. They silently say to themselves
WIIFM (pronounced wiffum)? Whats in it for me?
Your website, your writing must be full of benefits for your visitor.
Ultimately your site is designed to attract targeted visitors who have different objectives, desires and behavioral characteristics and then persuade them to click through to your sales site and where you will hopefully convert them to buyers.
FEATURES ARE EASIER THAN BENEFITS
Talk to almost anyone about their product. You will be enthralled by the unending list of features. The product will be:
> The biggest
> The smallest
> The most useful ever
> The widest range of colors
> The largest range of pack sizes ever seen
> It will be lightweight
> It will be unbreakable
And so on forever
You see it is easy for someone to list features. To list benefits is much more difficult because of the need to focus on someone elses view of things.
Rarely does the customer say before buying that I will buy this because it is the biggest, or because it is one of 50 different pack sizes, or the fact that it is available in 35,000 colors (a favorite way for a paint company close to where I live to promote the sale of its products by the way).
The customer will buy what you have to offer because he/she will perceive it to save 2 hours of work a day so that time can be spent with the kids, it will be bought because all the neighbours will envy the new color of the freshly painted house. The customer will buy because benefits so closely tied to emotional thinking will be recognized. Buying is normally an emotional decision and not a logical one. Logic must of course be used to justify the decision to buy but get the decision first, create some emotion.
Websites, product packaging, advertising should scream benefits and also maybe some features.
CONVERTING FEATURES INTO BENEFITS
Some considerable time ago and I cannot remember the source I learned a very clever and very simple technique to convert features into benefits. With this simple word tool it becomes easy to create long lists of benefits.
Think of the following product purchase opportunity lightweight is the actual product feature in this example of what I want a customer to buy.
Buy a lightweight fiberglass waterfall for your backyard water features.
Then say, So What?
Maybe the response would be
> So it can be installed without the help of the reluctant husband
> So it can be taken home immediately instead of waiting for special transport for which I would pay $100 more
> So it will reduce building time by 3 weeks
> So it will fit in my boot (trunk)
> My sister arriving tomorrow will be really impressed
This is a foolproof and simple way of creating benefits. Try it if you dont like the first answer keep going until you do like the answer. Once you get the answers you like then mould the answers into good compelling, copy.
Another approach is to use the words with this feature you can do this. Or what this means to you is
COMBINE FEATURES AND BENEFITS
It is often a very good idea to combine benefits with features because then you can simultaneously appeal to those logical and emotional types. This is a very useful approach in using bulleted lists:
> A lightweight product making it so easy to carry by 1 person
> Low power consumption, save $100 per year
> Saves 1 hour, enjoy more time with your kids
> Kills algae and allows you to see more of your valuable fish
THAT HOME PAGE, ABOVE THE FOLD
Your home page will often make or break your best web intentions.
Above the fold is that part of the web page you see when the browser opens the web. It is akin to the first half of the folded newspaper that bit that always attracts passers-by at the newsstands. Based upon what the casual newspaper browser sees above the fold will determine the decision to buy the newspaper or not (or at least turn the page over before the newsstand owner sees him).
The web pages above the fold copy is just the same but more important because the surfer has lots of other opportunities just a click away.
For every web page Michel Fortin stresses four very important points that need to be identified by answering four questions
1. What do I want my visitor to know here? remember WIIFM
2. What do I want my visitor to do at this point? Sign up for the newsletter maybe
3. What do I want my visitor to feel right now? Happy and excited to have come across this site and find what was sought and to be full of anticipation.
4. Where do I want my visitor to go next? To scroll down to below the fold or click to another page perhaps.
The above the fold bit should try to satisfy all these questions simultaneously. Headlines play a major role.
Your home page must compel visitors to surf, scroll or read. Use words like With this site you will get .
By clicking through to you will learn how to
Subscribe here and get free every month . that will provide you with .
WEB PAGE HEADLINES PRECISION, IMMEDIATE AND OFFER OF DIRECT BENEFITS
Do you know anyone who reads every word in a newspaper?
Do you know anyone who reads the paper in 5 minutes flat?
I probably read about 10 minutes worth of my daily newspaper but feel I have read it all. Quite simply I go from headline to headline and make a quick and deliberate decision to either read that portion or not. I give most articles a miss they have not targeted my interest. Imagine having to write all those headlines every day and disappoint so many readers.
On your website it a bit different or should be. Your visitor will more often than not have deliberately found the way to your site and will have a level of expectation. Your job is to fulfill those expectations. Aim to provide a headline that creates interest, curiosity and one that will encourage further reading. Make use of dots between paragraphs
> to provide an indication of continuity
> more to come etc.
TYPES OF VISITORS AND WHY SELLING ON THE WEB IS VERY DIFFICULT
Using the words of Michel Fortin again there are five types who will come to your site all of whom you must try to appeal to quickly and effectively.
The Impulsive these ask few questions, know what they like, do not have to give deep thought about their decision and accept that they will make some mistakes but not lose too much sleep over the mistakes made.
The Practical How much ? How long .? What happens if .? When will it be .?
The Analysts – What is it made from .? Where does it come from .? Why is it not green .? How long is the guarantee .?
The Apathetic Always have a final question to ask, procrastinate for ever, maybe never buy and if they do take an age to decide.
The Emotional Ones can I see your references, does it really work like that, is this the same as that bought by Mrs. Jones? By the way have you any more references than the 100 you have provided
TYPES OF HEADLINES TO PERSUADE THE ATTRACTED
The FREEBIE headline if you have something for nothing then say so above the fold! If you havent then find something that can be downloaded to assist in getting e-mail addresses and to appeal to those basic instincts.
The DIRECTOR headline Learn how to , Discover the secrets to , Find out why, Magnify your success by , Light your fire and become . Double your rate of , Enter the arena of the great .
The GAPPER headline. Ever felt that bit guilty when confronted by a headline that reminded you of something you prefer to forget about but secretly you would like to resolve.
If so you have been gapped!
Do your light bulbs need changing ? Does your wife need help in the garden ? Got money problems .? Does your pond go green every summer ?
For real headline benefit combine a Gapper with a Freebie.
Does your pond go green every summer? If so download this FREE 20 page guide on How To Get Crystal Clear Pond Water All year Long Guaranteed!
A variation on this approach using bullets to break up the questions can be very effective. Bullets have real pulling power. Use them often
> Do you need low cost, supercharged Internet marketing and sales campaigns?
> Do you need total control over your webs content so you can have more free time to spend the extra money earned?
> Do you want success sufficient enough to guarantee your familys ongoing security and peace of mind
If you answer is yes to any one of these then the Web Marketing Machine is the product you have been looking for! It will increase your web traffic by at least 10 times otherwise your money will be refunded in full.
BUY NOW BEFORE I TAKE IT AWAY
Take away buying is best used when you have interested prospects who need that little push to make the decision. The take away is characterized by a time bound offer:
> Do it before midnight to save 50%.
> This offer expires at noon on December 25th
> This is the very last time I will ever make such an offer.
You have all seen these. They work (but only well) with buyers who are interested anyway.
Make sure you are credible if you mean that the offer will disappear at midnight then make certain it does it disappear at midnight.
You are not pushing the buyer into deciding but you are encouraging the visitor to buy now and not to procrastinate.
DO NOT THINK OF A WHITE CARNATION, MICHEL FORTIN
Read the title of this section again and think about it for a moment
> Did you think about it?
> Did your mind tend to go around in circles?
> Do not tell them what it is not. Or is this any clearer?
> Tell them what it is.
Do not think of a white carnation is the best description I have ever come across that gets over the message that positive writing is better then negative writing in getting a message over quickly and in a meaningful manner allowing less interpretation by the visitor.
Negatives confuse us.
In mathematics 2 negatives make a positive work that one out if you can. And yet it is true.
Notice I said And it is true the temptation was very great to say But it is true.
Whats the difference?
As Michel Fortin explains the word but almost always infers that what came before the word but was wrong, untrue or doubtful even if it was not. As such it can be a poor choice of word to use to join phrases, clauses or sentences when it is important to leave no doubt about what was meant and to be positive.
Apply positive speak to things like the following and it is not easy to do this because it often easier to think of the effect rather than the benefit. Telling the person to get lost (or words to that effect) in such a way as to enjoy the journey on the way is a wonderful challenge in life that falls into this category of speak. Politicians are good at positive speak!!!!!
> More convenience is better than less hassle
> Reliable is better than error-free
> Crystal clear is better then less murky
> Save $50 is better than $50 less/off
EMOTIONAL SPEAK IS BETTER THAN LOGICAL OR MORE FACTUAL SPEAK
> Investment not cost
> Valuable not expensive
> Home not house
> Well built not fat
> Benefits not features
> Sunny periods not cloudy at times
> Happy hour not free drinks between 5 and 6.
When you do have to speak with a high level of factual content remember:
> Art for artists
> Science for scientists
Use picture words for general public. Use phrases like
> the size of 5 football fields and not 2 hectares
> twice as big as Manhattan
> about 1 year and not 8,000 hours and so on.
Speak the language of the audience you want to attract and later persuade to action.
EVERYONE KNOWS AIDA OR DO THEY?
AIDA in a copywriting sense stands for:
1. Get Attention through headlines
2. Create Interest through benefits
3. Ensure Desire through a great offer
4. Compel Action by telling more than once exactly what to do
This acronym must be in your mind as you write, rewrite, check and rewrite your web page copy. You can always improve.
I take a look at my web pages as I write this and see how badly I have done in many of the above aspects. Back I must go and make that bit more progress, again.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Can your visitor find the following easily, particularly if you are selling something or trying to establish credibility for whatever purpose.
> Your GUARANTEE
> Your PRIVACY statement
> Your RETURNS policy
> E-mail address
> Tel number
> Fax number
> Postal address
> Sales landing page
> Order form
> Subscription form
There are many websites out there which seem to just refuse to display their e-mail address or other contact details. Sure we are all sick and tired of spammers but what is the point of trying to sell and you cannot be contacted.
This is hardly a recipe for building confidence.
This chapter is a very quick introduction to copywriting principles. Most of these factors apply to all pages. However there is a very special page associated with many websites. This page is called the sales landing page. It is the page where you close or try to close the sale. This is the place where the truth is revealed. This is where you measure your success or failure.
You may have masses of traffic but what is your sales or conversion rate? the ultimate objective is to maximize your sales conversion rate or in Ken Evoys words to maximize your MWR which might be to make a sale. It might alternatively be to persuade visitors to subscribe to your newsletter and so on.