All too often, this step is rushed during redesigns, or people who don’t truly understand your business are the ones tasked with writing the copy.
The look and feel of your website is probably fine. The functionality may not be an issue. Before you jump to redesigning or redeveloping your website, look to see how you can improve the content on it first.
Here, I’m going to take you through the top seven reasons why your website copy isn’t resonating with prospects and what you can do to improve their experience and increase the likelihood of success for your inbound marketing efforts.
1. You don’t explain how your product or service helps them
If I asked you to list out the benefits to your product or service, what do you think of first?
Did your mind immediately jump to elements or components of what you sell, rather than its benefits for your customers?
For example, if your product is a financial planning software and one of the first things that came to mind is its CRM integrations, you're thinking of a feature, not a benefit.
A common oversight on websites is messaging features as benefits. Features are often a component of your product or service, whereas a benefit is what a user can accomplish or do with the product or service.
Sticking with the same example, if the feature is your software's CRM integration, then a benefit would be having a holistic view of your client’s financial information.
Though it’s important for prospects to learn about the features of your product or service, it’s critical for them to understand the benefits behind those features.
“No one wants to hear about you or your product, especially when you're trying to sell it to them. Buyers only want to hear about what's in it for them. They want to know what value you bring to their lives over everyone else.”
If you want your prospects to easily identify your solution as the thing they need, then you must clearly articulate how your solution is going to help or better them.
2. You aren’t upfront with pricing
I’ve been planning my wedding for over a year now. If you don’t already know for some reason, weddings are expensive.
When I first started planning, I did a lot of research. I didn’t want to work with just any vendor, I wanted to make sure the investment for our day was going to be well spent. Do you know what the biggest problem was that I continuously ran into during my research?
Now, I’m sure the long list of reasons why you can’t feature your pricing is running through your head:
People won’t have enough context to justify the cost
The cost is dependent on different factors that are determined in the sales process
Competitors will now be able to see how much we charge
And on and on
But I promise you there is a workaround and rebuttal for every reason you have for not including price on your website:
Provide written or video context to why you charge what you do. Those who still feel they can’t afford what you charge probably aren’t a good fit for your product or service anyway (and you just saved your sales team time in figuring that out).
Include a general range and talk about the determining factors that can move the cost up or down.
Do you have an idea of what your competition charges? Well, guess what, they have an idea of what you charge, too! Being upfront about cost doesn’t impact your competitors nearly as much as it will impact your buyer.
Let’s do a little experiment. Open up your homepage or a main product or service page and count the number of times you refer to yourself or your company. You’re looking for statements that include your brand name, “we”, and “our” in them.
Now, on the same page, count the number of times you refer to your prospect and buyer. These statements will be phased to include “you” and “your” — a statement that speaks directly to them as if they were sitting across from you.
Which tally has more?
Chances are, you talk way too much about yourself and not nearly enough about your prospect. People care less about what you think or claim your product and service can do and care much more about what that product or service is going to do for them.
Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes, thoroughly explains this when talking about writing for your homepage:
“Part of understanding your customers is truly knowing what motivates them. When you know what that is, you’re able to communicate how you can help them. You want your homepage to say, ‘We get you. And what’s more, you belong here. We understand your challenges, your fears, your pain, your hopes, your needs. We shoulder your burdens. We’ve got your back. We’ll give you a leg up.’
"Whichever of those metaphors you prefer, the main headline on your page should communicate that customer-centric value. Remember: your value is not what you do or what you sell, it’s what you do for your customers. That shift may seem subtle, but it’s everything.”
4. You never admit your faults
Even though you want to speak more about your prospects and their needs on your web pages, that doesn’t mean you should never talk about yourself.
A commonly missed opportunity for businesses is not addressing the problems or issues a prospective buyer will face when choosing your solution.
Yep, I said it. You need to talk about problems with your product or service.
All companies think they are the best at what they do. Instead of solely focusing on how good you are, spend time diving into areas of weakness.
Because fear is going to be something that can hold back a sale.
By addressing customer fears head-on, you will build trust with prospects and help eliminate their fears (or in the very least, give answers to their questions).
I was talking with a client the other day that has a software product. The person mentioned how they were concerned prospects will see a demo of the product and see that the interface is outdated, making them believe the features of the product are also outdated.
“Well, are the features outdated?” I asked.
“No!” he replied. “Part of our 2020 roadmap is updating the interface. We just haven’t reached that stage yet.”
My advice to him was simple: say that directly on your website.
The buyer will have fewer questions when they reach the demo because the company will have already addressed the outdated interface— and the fact that it hasn’t already been updated doesn’t mean the product itself is outdated.
5. You aren’t using video to expound on your copy
As director of content services, reading is literally part of my job. I love reading, but when it comes to your website, written text shouldn’t be the only thing people see.
Video should be used alongside your web copy to further drive your message home.
Your product or service pages are going to be some of the most highly-trafficked pages on your website. One of the easiest ways to provide critical information about your product or service without writing a novel-long web page is through a product or service video.
You can thoroughly describe your solution and help the prospect determine whether or not it will be the right fit for them. These videos aren’t meant to sell, they are meant to educate.
Director of Video Strategy Zach Basner explains why such videos shouldn’t be salesy.
“They must be helpful videos that describe your offering properly and educate your consumer better than anyone. They can be used on product or service pages as well as before or during your sales process.”
There are six elements that your product or service video must include:
In the meantime though, use those questions as a starting point when thinking about your product or service videos. You should be able to answer each of those questions succinctly so when you’re ready to produce videos, your scripts will be easier to write.
6. There’s no proof that other real companies have used your product or service
I honestly don’t think I’ve purchased anything in the past five years without reading reviews first. Whether it’s a new book to binge or an upcoming hair appointment, I have an intense need to see and hear from others on their experience and thoughts.
Case studies, testimonials, and reviews on your site all provide prospectswith context as to how your product or service impacted customers' lives.
The more specific you can be in the social proof you feature the better. For instance, instead of only listing a company name to appear next to a testimonial quote, showcase the person’s headshot and link to their LinkedIn or company bio page. This helps make the person more real.
Highlighting real people and real companies who are your customers will help establish trust with your buyers.
7. You don’t provide information so prospects can self-assess fit
Today's buyer wants to be in control of the buying process.
Buyers no longer want to come to you with a list of problems asking you if you have the right solution. Instead, they want to come to you with a pre-determined solution asking you if they are making the right choice.
How can they do that if there is no way for them to decipher which solution best meets their needs?
In the least, publish articles on your website that answer the most common questions your prospects have during the sales process about your product or service. This way, they can find the answer themselves, saving your sales team time and energy.
For example, if your product is a file-sharing software that has six different tiers or subscription types, a useful self-selection tool for prospects would be a cost calculator.
This way, someone could select the number of users they will have, the amount of storage needed, and the security regulations they need to comply with and see exactly which of the six tiers would be best for their exact needs.
If you continue to make your website more useful to buyers, then you’ll start to see shorter sales cycles and better-fit customers.
Where do you begin?
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed as to where you should begin. So, first things first, take a breath.
I recommended a lot of improvement areas to focus on, so it may feel disheartening to see how far the path forward extends.
Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t practicing the tactics outlined above. Instead, feel inspired! Now is your chance to take those first few steps forward in improving your website content.
When getting started, remember the ultimate rule: focus on your buyer.
What are the biggest challenges they face every single day? How does your product or service solve for those challenges? What does their day look like when they use your product or service? And how would their life continue to play out if they pass on your solutions?
Talk to your customers and your sales team and listen. Truly listen.