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Writing Effective Sales Copy
Creating Marketing Content That Works for Customers & SEO
Revised September 3, 2020
Originally Published December 11, 2008
Business owners often feel intimidated, confused, and shy about putting together online copy (written content for online sales, marketing ads, website content, or social media profiles). For whatever reason, many find writing content for online collateral, a daunting and overwhelming task.
While more known, traditional forms of marketing, may seem old-hat and easy; many people mistakenly believe that writing online content is different.
Yes, search engines do take into account such things as keywords and related phrases that can help search ranking results. However, the overall theory behind writing content for the web is really no different than writing content for an offline campaign.
Whether writing copy for online or offline advertising, more common sense is used, than a degree in writing.
Regardless of the type of media, well-written content will include the following:
Message Aimed to Proper Audience
As with any advertising campaign, making sure that the content is aimed at your target audience is the first key to success. A good business owner will know who their target audience is, and use appropriate language that communicates with this group of individuals.
- Make sure to use language that is clear to the target audience.
- If the audience is a younger audience, you don't want to use language that's above their reading level.
- If your audience is to an older generation, you don't want to use lingo of recent generations that the older crowd may not understand or misinterpret.
- Make sure the content of the message is clear with no ambiguity.
- Don't leave any potential confusion.
Clear CTA's (Calls To Action)
Another aspect for successful marketing and web content is having a clear Call To Action, also known as CTA.
CTA's are imperative to capture the visitor's attention and direct them how to "Act Now".
Many people write content with the thought that it's "intuitive" that the person should know to click or call now to receive the offer.
However, more often than not, people are overwhelmed with all the information available online, and taking everything in at once.
This is where clear CTA's help to eliminate any confusion, and create an understandable line of action for the consumer to move forward, purchase, or submit their information to be contacted.
CTA's should be set apart from normal website content paragraphs, perhaps in a heading or button format, so as to make it clear this is an actionable item.
Proper Keywords & Phrases
When writing content for offline or online marketing, keywords and related phrases will occur naturally pending the written content is descriptive using product details, service names, related attributes, or key features & benefits.
As discussed in many keyword related articles, keywords are simply the "important" and "relative" words that best describe a process, industry, company, product, or service:
- Keywords are descriptive; versus vague.
- More often than not, keywords and phrases for a company website are the literal terms or names used to describe:
- other similar industry related terminology and jargon.
- Most businesses will find the important keywords already readily apparent when reviewing their existing offline marketing materials.
Regardless of the medium for which marketing content is written, avoiding vague or nondescript words such as "it", "that" or "those" instead using descriptive verbiage will always result in stronger, more persuasive, and effective content.
Note the Benefit for Customers
Today's customers have the internet at their fingertips, and can research literally anything. When it comes time to buy, customers want to know that a product or service's features will benefit their needs as a customer. The best way to meet this need is with descriptive and in-depth content, and clear CTA's for company offerings.
The content should portray the following:
- Accurately describe all aspects and attributes of a product or service that may benefit the customer.
- Delve deep into the customer problems the product or service may solve.
- Explain to the client exactly how to engage and enjoy the benefits of the product or service.
A website with content that is descriptive, verbose and covers all possible resources a customer may need, will be the most successful when it comes time to convert that website visitor into a paying customer. Strong, effective content also helps with natural search engine optimization.
Written Content & Search Engine Optimization
The term search engine ranking has been around for a while. Most people today understand that ranking refers to:
where a website appears in a list of search results (such as on Google) when a search for a specific term or phrase is performed.
However, many people still struggle to understand what factors come into play when a search engine decides to rank XYZ Website as #1 and ABC Website as #10.
By writing content rich in commonly used, descriptive keywords and phrases relating to the product, service or industry, the content of the website is "naturally" optimized for search engines. This natural optimization lends to the website or online campaign receiving higher rank in search results.
Search engines want to see website content that is built for the end-user. A website and content must appeal to potential customers wanting to gain more information about a particular product, service, or industry.
Not only do search engines want to see major keywords used throughout the website content, but search engines also want to see supporting keywords phrases relating to the main keywords.
A business selling pool supplies should not only use the keyword "pool" or "pool supplies" within the website content. In addition, the content should include descriptions, variation and industry related jargon that goes along with pools and related supplies such as pool filters, pool screens, pool covers, cleaning supplies, and so on.
As the owner or manager of a business, there are few better qualified people to write website content for a particular company. No one else is better versed in the industry jargon, related-terms, and potential questions customers ask, than an owner, manager, or long-term employee.
Keyword-rich content, married with clear use of Calls to Action are key to writing effective content that help to convert visitors from prospects to customers. Use a sales voice and the same language or words to promote a company's products, services, features, and related benefits online, as used offline.
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