Making Website Content Work For You

Appealing to the consumer

The majority of website visitors do not come to your site to buy something … at least not initially. They come to see “how good you are” and whether you can help them resolve a problem. They come to compare you with others. Remember ?

If you want to stand out above the rest and make an impression such that one day a customer may decide to buy from you then provide answers to the questions she is asking herself. This means you need to pre-empt the questions … put yourself in the customers’ shoes and then provide the answers in clear concise and practical language that is understandable by normal human beings. This is a prime requirement for a vast majority of web pages.

Writing for the web is just about this … it is about answering customers’ questions not telling the world how great and good you are. It is about creating an emotional type of link with the customer that provides the customer with an appealing reason to buy one day if not immediately.

People love reading articles written by normal people who understand and are able to communicate relevancy. People like advice and need to feel they can contact someone for more information without being made to jump through hoops … so next time you design a form just ask for what you really need of the customer so that they can contact you and certainly do not ask for pre-registration. Maybe be happy with just an email link that just needs a simple click.

In this context ask yourself the question do you really need the name of the person at this preliminary stage? These days people generally know names in emails are inserted by a computer data base and not real humans … yes we have all seen it where the email comes to you with something like Hello Tony Roocroft.

This is the opposite of personalization … it is pretence and people know this.

Product reviews are excellent content … and very good pre-cursors to an actual sale. Many surfers will click a link that says “product review” but will not click on “buy now” links. Of course the objective of the review page is to get a click on the “Buy Now” button since sales is what we are looking for when all is said and done.

Just change the location of the button from first page to the review page. This reduces the hard sell approach in the mind of the buyer and is an opportunity to give something to the customer before asking for a sale.

Are your web pages (and you) credible?

I saw an excellent tip recently which I am trying out and believe it will work to my advantage. Let me share this with you too.

Now you and me have been around long enough to know nothing is free .. so when we say FREE SHIPPING nobody really believes this. Of course you and I don’t charge separately so we can make our e-commerce shopping cart site easier to manage. Consumers might not know this but they assume shipping is in the price. They certainly know shipping is not free.

Convenient yes … free no. There is nothing wrong with free shipping at all … in fact it is a good plus point on any ecommerce site.


This is the tip that was proven to increase a furniture store’s sales by about 80% (from memory but maybe more). The words FREE SHIPPING were replaced by …… PRICE INCLUDES DELIVERY TO YOUR FRONT DOOR.

That’s all it took to increase credibility and sales … the internet is all about trust and being real in the approach as you would in a normal one on one conversation.

Benefits NOT Features or even better Both

Ask any salesman about the products being sold and a long list of features will be rolled out. Features such as:

  • Biggest
  • Best
  • Cheapest
  • Widest
  • Longest
  • Strongest
  • Lightweight

This is how we were “trained” to sell after all. We pride ourselves on knowing the features of products we sell. But what about the customer who could not care less in many cases about the width, length, strength etc. The customer wants to know what benefit she will get from these features.

For example lightweight implies it can be carried by someone without breaking their back or seeking somebody else’s help. This is a really important benefit to a housewife.

Strongest might suggest that she will benefit from never having to replace for at least 20 years. Cheapest implies she will save money … saving money for the consumer is a real benefit (cheapness is not).

A couple of examples … we sell glassfibre rock-like ponds all over the world. Here’s how we try to combine features and benefits in the hope we can convince someone to buy…

Choose a Focus lightweight glassfibre pond because it can be installed by you in 5 minutes with no help. You can carry it to the car easily.

Choose a Focus low cost pond to save 50% over the cost of a concrete pond.

Choose a Focus above ground pond so you do not have to dig a hole, save your aching back and make it easy for the family to help.

These are not perfect but they combine features with benefits and make a difference in perhaps convincing people to buy from us. Writing about benefits is far more difficult than writing about features … now take a look at almost all ads you see. They talk about features ……. Why?

If you get stuck in trying to convert a feature to a benefit ask yourself the question …. so what?

By this I mean if you sell the strongest ask yourself so what and you will be forced to think benefits automatically. Keep asking the question until you find a plausible and real benefit. Another approach is to use something like the following. This product is only R200 which for you means a saving of 25%.

The phrase “which for you means ….” converts features to benefits automatically.

Go ahead try it and take a look at your own website ething like the following. This product is only R200 which for you means a saving of 25%.

The phrase “which for you means ….” converts features to benefits automatically.

Go ahead try it and take a look at your own website.

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