Welcome to the second installation of our Writing Content for Your Business series. Last time, I talked about why blogging is still a viable and important piece of your business’s content strategy. This time however, I’m tackling your website content, which I dare say is one of the single most important pieces of marketing copy you can write.
Your website is where your business lives online. It tells people what, why, and how you do what you do. It’s where you introduce yourself to your audience and give them a sense of who you are as a person and a business owner.
And—this is super important—it’s where you clearly direct prospective customers or clients to take action to further interact with or buy from you.
For these reasons, you should write your website content to accomplish these goals. Looked at through this lens, the process is quite strategic.
There are many really good marketing writers who teach this in detail (and I suggest you do yourself a favor and read what they have to say, specifically Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand and Ray Edwards’ How to Write Copy that Sells), but for brevity’s sake, I’ll pull the main points they espouse and break them down for you here.
How to write killer website content in a (abnormally large) nutshell:
YOUR HOME PAGE
This is literally the first place most people land on your website, so it’s imperative you provide clarity about what you do so they’ll keep reading. Various reports say the average reader will stay 15 seconds on your site before navigating away if you haven’t given them a good enough reason to stay. I’ve actually heard that time reported as few as 3 seconds. The point is, you have very little time to capture a reader’s attention. So…
1. BE RIDICULOUSLY CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU OFFER.
To grab and keep someone’s attention, you must be crystal-clear about what you offer so they know immediately if the answer they are looking for is on your website.
To do this, you must first become crystal-clear about what you offer.
This may seem obvious, but honestly, how simply can you describe what you do? And would the average person understand what you mean?
Trying to be cute on your home page is basically marketing suicide.
We don’t know what “Upleveling Your Spiritual Vibration” means. Truly, think of all the possible ways to interpret that… I mean, the mind reels.
However, we do know what it means when you say, “I teach regular people how to incorporate meditation into their everyday lives”. OK! Now we’re getting somewhere.
You want people to understand right away what you offer so they can decide if that’s what they’re looking for or not. And there’s a good chance they do want your product or service or information so long as you don’t disguise it under weird language that doesn’t actually say anything.
2. HAVE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION PROMINENTLY POSITIONED.
People need (and want) to be told what to do when it comes to taking action to get your product/service/information. They do not have the time or desire to interpret vague messages and follow a meandering path toward actually getting what they want. The sooner you can connect them with their desired outcome (buy the product, set up the consultation, learn about the subject), the more likely they’ll be to actually do those things.
That may seem obnoxiously obvious but think about how easy (or difficult) you make it for people who come to your site to quickly get what they came there for. Go to your website with the eyes of someone who knows nothing about you or what you do and see how easy it is to figure it out and navigate to the end result.
It is possible you may be too entrenched in your business to be able to do this objectively, so you may be better served to have a trusted friend or family member do it for you. Either way, do that exercise, be willing to be completely honest with yourself, and then make the changes to convert browsers into buyers.
Here’s one quick and easy way to do that: Place a clear call to action button in the top righthand corner of your home page. Use words like “get” and “click here” and “download”—basically any directional word that clearly tells your reader what to do to get what they want. Make sure there’s no ambivalence about what they’re doing or what they’re getting when they click that button. And if you don’t have a call to action button, for the love of all that’s holy, add one right now!
3. HELP READERS NAVIGATE TO THE RIGHT INFORMATION.
It’s possible you offer more than one service or product. Your home page is where you clearly lay out each one and guide readers to the right information for each one. This is easily achieved through boxes like these ones from online marketing guru Amy Porterfield’s website:
She clearly lays out three paths you can take, depending on what you need most. When you click on the button, you are taken to the cheat sheet she promised (and you add yourself to her mailing list, which is another super important facet of your overall marketing content strategy…but that’s for another article).
Clear. Simple. Effective.
Your boxes don’t have to go to freebies that you use to build your email list (though, if they do, bonus points for you), but they should lead to the most appropriate page on your website that answers your visitor’s question or meets their need.
Which leads us to…
YOUR SERVICES PAGE
If your home page is the first stop on your customer’s journey, then the next step is your services page (and, ideally, your home page should lead them there several times). Because this is where you get down to brass tacks about what you offer. From artwork to consulting services, present the options to your visitors as (wait for it…) CLEARLY as possible.
LAY OUT YOUR OFFERINGS CLEARLY AND MAKE THEM EASY TO BUY.
If you offer several services, you may choose to present them individually or in packages, but be sure you convey all the value people receive with each one.
Bullet points are a nice way for readers to quickly scan the benefits of each offer. They also force you to be more concise about communicating them.
The goal here is to say what you offer, what the person can expect to gain from it, and how to receive it. Donald Miller does this really well using boxes (of sorts) on his page for the online marketing workshop he offers:
Don’t overcomplicate this part but do put careful thought into the strategy of what you’re doing and on how best to execute it.
YOUR ABOUT PAGE
This is the page where you introduce yourself more personally to people, so it’s a great place to let your personality shine. However, it’s not the place to go on and on about yourself.
What?!? Isn’t that the whole purpose of an About page?
Well, kinda. But not really. Here’s what I mean.
In Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller explains that the most compelling stories are those where we follow a hero’s journey through hardship to reach a desired goal. Very often, the hero has a guide who gets them there. Gandalf guides Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, Dumbledore guides Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series… they are essential characters in the story, but they are not the main characters.
This, Miller argues, is how to effectively position yourself in relation to your customer because every person sees themselves as the hero in their own journey. Trying to place yourself in that role upsets that order and doesn’t serve them best.
So your About page is where you lay out what you know to be their hero’s journey as it relates to what you offer.
For example, if you sell toxin-free makeup and skincare products, your customer’s hero’s journey is to learn about the toxins she currently uses on herself and her family, discover why they’re harming them, and replace them with safer products. She remains the hero of her story, her life, her family, and you simply serve as the guide who shows her what she needs to know to make the best choice when it comes to the beauty and skincare products she buys.
Language you might use in your About page could be, “You might have heard that traditional skincare products and makeup actually contain harmful chemicals and toxins. You definitely want to make the safest choice for your family, but with all the information out there, you’re not sure where to start. Don’t worry: You’re in exactly the right place.”
This way, your readers see themselves in the journey you’ve described, and they feel reassured that they have found the place to get their questions answered. You will guide them to the right solution.
Then it becomes natural to tell them a little bit of your own journey to using non-toxic products and the benefits you’ve experienced as a result. You can sprinkle in details about your professional experience, as it’s relevant: “I always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and used to do it as a teacher, but now I’ve discovered a new avenue where I can both educate people and tangibly improve their lives—and even advocate for better laws that make our skincare safe!” You can also share bits about your personal life here, as it pertains to your business.
Your About page is also a way to sneak in details about who you most love working with—your ideal customer. You can achieve this by describing how you like to work with your customers and what you most enjoy about the process. This way, those who are drawn to your approach will be naturally drawn to you too, and you’re more likely to attract your people who are always so much more fun to work with!
In addition to these three pages, you should also have a Contact page that includes a field where people can email you with questions and that should also be linked to your email marketing provider, like Mail Chimp or ConvertKit. If you’d like people to be able to call you, make sure you include your phone number there too.
If you implement all of these principles into your website, you will have a fully functional, incredibly effective website that will help you reach the people you most want to help and keep crushing it like the #momboss you are!
WRITTEN BY MEREDITH WATKINS: ENTREPRENEUR, EDITOR, WRITER.
If you liked this and would like to learn more about creating crazy-effective marketing content, visit me at www.meredithwatkins.com. I’d love to help your business grow through smart, intentional strategies.