*Read time: 5-6 minutes*
I have had a long love affair with my 1941 Roget’s Thesaurus! It was my Dad’s. And I get great joy from my more “modern” version from 1977. I’m such a word nerd!
Recently, I relied heavily on my thesauri. (Yes, that is the plural. I looked it up!) A website review turned into a re-write for a client’s soon-to-be-launched website. Here’s an example of one of many ineffective sentences from their “About Us” page: “We strive to bring the best results we can for our clients.”
That kind of sentence always gets a small cringe from me.
Here’s my fix: “We bring over 20 years of highly successful (the service was named) experience to every project and we guarantee your satisfaction.”
I left nothing to anyone’s imagination! This is a great company. There should be no doubting this fact. They have terrific testimonials to share. This is not the time to be humble.
There was an even more cringe-worthy sentence at the end of this critically important “About Us” page: “We hope you will consider us for your future projects.” While that is nice, there is no call-to-action (CTA) and no sense of urgency. My fix: “We look forward to a no-obligation, free consultation to learn about your special project’s needs. Click here to contact us.”
As I hunted down all the weak words and sentences and even removed entire paragraphs, I realized that I come across several common problems with nearly every copy writing project I have done over the years.
Here are some mistakes that really hurt your sales:
1. You believe your website should be about you and your business.
A bit misleading perhaps, but the point is: It’s always “all about them”. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?” You need to answer that question again and again all over your site. Show your client that you care about their outcome and have solutions. That’s how you build trust. Only then can you sell yourself and your actual product or service.
2. Using generic or passive sentences.
A common mistake, passive sentences are at best wishy-washy or at worse, they send people off your site. Take this example: “We hope you will spend time looking at our offers here.” Fix: Click to see what’s in our latest shipment. Or this timid invite: “We invite you to visit our store next time you’re in town.” Fix: Come visit our store – it’s worth a special trip. “We can help you in many ways.” Fix: We fix (name the problem).
3. You don’t tell your readers what you want them to do or where to go on your site.
The clock is ticking. If you don’t have a clear path, they will leave. All paths should lead to a sale or increased information to help them consider buying. Taking from the above example, “We fix (name the problem)”, this is also where you add a specific CTA: Click Here to see the before and after gallery. Or: Click Here to read testimonials. Keep them focused and engaged and tell them what to do next. And after you announce “Come visit our store – it’s worth a special trip” you add another CTA: Click here to see pictures and hours of operation.
Note to brick and mortars: a map and hours of operation deserve their own menu item and landing page. Do this now.
4. You Don’t Ask For the Sale.
If you are not clearly outlining that you have something for sale, you run the risk of them not thinking about buying from you. They need to know what you have for sale. They need to know as much detail as possible, including shipping methods. Maybe, you can offer them an incentive for acting now or soon? And you need to have a big fat button somewhere that leads them to a shopping cart and/or a phone number where they can follow-up on their urges, right now!
5. Allowing visitors to leave without getting contact information.
This is a major lost opportunity. The increasingly useless button that says, “Like us on Facebook” is once again an example of being passive. With Facebook’s recent changes, you might as well be saying, “Please leave my site and let’s take our chances of running into each other again someday, somewhere, over the rainbow.” The pot of gold (that never really was easy to find) is now nearly non-existent on Facebook.
And don’t kid yourself; they may never find their way back to your website again. Do you think they will bookmark your site? Do you bookmark sites? And if they do bookmark your site, will they return someday? Do you return to sites that you bookmark?
THE FIX: Make sure you have an email sign-up at several locations on your site. Offer an incentive to get people to sign-up. Every person who takes the time to visit your site, even if just for a minute or two, has shown interest. If they are willing to give you their email address, they are saying, “Keep me posted!” You need to do that.
They might not need your product or service today. However, if they never have another encounter with you again, what is the likelihood that they will ever buy from you in the future? And again…. it never hurts to ask!