Web Copy Rules - 9 Rules You Must Always Apply
By Monica Elston
In order to write convincing copy that always gets your prospect reaching for their wallets, you need to understand and apply the following Rules:
Rule 1: Always use an Editorial Style
Writing in an 'editorial style' means writing copy that reads like a story. You need to develop a theme to your copy, with characters that bring it to life, strategies that involve and entice your reader, testimonials that create credibility and headings that grab the prospect's attention. The process involves using your imagination and a way of thinking about your product that is 'outside the box'. Most importantly it involves writing a story, which needs to flow across your website in an irresistibly alluring way.
Why it works is simple - online buyers have an aversion to being 'sold to', so writing copy in a way that avoids advertising is a successful way of engaging your prospect in what can be called 'hidden selling'. If your sales pitch is hidden in the confines of a good story or testimonial account, then your prospect will be more accepting of your sales pitch and therefore more open to making a purchase.
Rule 2: Always give your prospects a compelling promise
This should be done early on in the copy - you want to entice your prospects into reading the rest of your copy. In practice, you need to make the promise in the introductory paragraphs.
For example: If you read this article you will discover how you can live free from back pain, without using any drugs, physiotherapy or trips to the chiropractor. You will learn how Peter and others have all discovered the drugs-free solution to back pain.
Once you have made the promise, you need to deliver on your promise and this is done in the body of your copy.
In our example: this will include revealing to your prospects the stories of people who have discovered the solution to living a drugs-free and pain-free life. This should be backed up with testimonials, anecdotes, statistics etc.
Then in the concluding paragraphs, you need to remind your prospects of what you have revealed. If you do this, you will boost your credibility for delivering on your promises...and this will boost the confidence that your prospect feels for you. And trust is crucial for making a sale!
Rule 3: Establish writer credibility
Web copy always needs a voice and a face. When you create this voice, you need to establish 'who' the voice is - this is all part of creating credibility. We have found that including a photo of the person who is the voice of the copy is also useful. This establishes a rapport with the prospect, especially as they now have someone to visually identify with.
Rule 4: Always write in the first person This means that you remove 'we' and 'our' from your copy and replace them with 'I'. Doing so will make your copy seem more personable - as it is just you and the prospect sharing a 'conversation'. Remember, this is what you are aiming for - you want your prospect to feel that your sales letter has been written just for them.
Rule 5: Always ask an opening question
When you open your copy with a question, you are more likely to get your prospects to read on. If you have a well-designed question, then your prospects will start to focus on what you have to say. They will want an answer to the question you have posed. Your question should always point to either the benefit or result of your product or service.
Rule 6: Use phrases
Try to avoid using words such as 'buy now' or 'order here', instead use phrases that make it easier for the prospect to make a purchasing decision.
- Click here to start living pain-free
- Unlock the inner you
- Become a better, leaner you
Rule 7: Make an impression
To really stand out from the crowd, your website needs to stop prospects dead in their tracks. If your site is merely an online brochure for your product you will have a weak site, that does very little to convert those visitors who come to your site. Remember you have spent money to attract your visitors!
To achieve this, you need to have a first page that is punchy and to the point. This means your headings need to follow the editorial style and draw the reader in. Your prospects must be enticed to read the rest of your editorial.
Rule 8: Get your prospects e-mail address
The business of Internet Marketing is highly competitive and very few marketers will have conversion rates of more than 0.5%. Even the most successful marketer's only convert somewhere between 2 - 5 %.
So it stands to reason that you need to capture the details of the remaining 95-98% of your prospects. Remember building trust online is something achieved over time and it is estimated that most prospects need to see your product 7 times before making a purchasing decision. This marketing concept is referred to as the 'Rule of 7'. E-mails are a useful and essential way to build that trust and obtaining an email address from your prospect is the first step to setting up an effective auto responder campaign.
Rule 9: Always set up an auto responder campaign
Once you have captured your prospect's email address, then you need to use this porthole for corresponding with your prospect on a regular basis. The most effective way of doing so is to set up an auto responder campaign. This will allow you to send out regular emails to your prospect, either on a daily basis for a defined period of time or on an interval basis, e.g. every other day or every third day, also for a defined period of time. An auto responder system can increase your conversion rate by as much as 15 to 25%.
Monica Elston is a UK based Direct Marketing Copywriter. She runs a successful online marketing company together with her husband called Red Sky Networks. Their focus is on training Internet Marketers to write their own copy and design their own sites (see [http://www.product2website.com])
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