The longer a visitor stays on your website, the better the chance of them buying your goods or services. Flashy graphics and neat effects can be impressive, but the novelty wears off fast. It’s engaging content that keeps visitors on the page and more likely to contact you or break out the credit card.
There are a lot of ways to keep readers engaged with your website’s copy, but one of the simplest ways is to stop talking about yourself so much.
Benefits over features — their needs over your capabilities
It seems to make sense when you first think about it: “People want to know the company they are buying from is the right one, so let’s talk about how great we are, all the things we can do, and how fancy all of our stuff is.”
Now, you do want your website to inform your readers about your business, but imagine going on a date and the other person dumps their entire life story on you without letting you speak. You probably wouldn’t want to buy what they are selling.
The main focus of your copy shouldn’t be you, but your potential customers instead. Visitors to your website are not there for fun. They are visiting your site because they have a problem and think you might have the solution. If they aren’t convinced you can help with this problem, they are leaving.
There’s a saying in copywriting: “Benefits, not features.” A feature is something that a product has, such as a turbocharged V8 engine. A benefit is the result of that feature, such as going fast and impressing dates. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes — do you want to read about a dietary supplement’s chemical makeup and the history of the manufacturer, or do you want to read about how healthy, strong, and attractive you’ll be after taking it?
This isn’t to say you should ignore talking about the features of your product/service — it’s just a question of focus. A reader will spend more time on content that shows them how their life will benefit from your business, and will seek out that other information after they are fully engaged.
How is it done?
Focusing on someone besides yourself is hard enough as it is, and when you are running a business you know inside and out, it can be difficult to stop gushing over it like a proud parent. Again, there are many ways to gear your copy toward benefits over features, but here’s a simple way to shift the focus to the needs of a potential reader.
Write down the features of your company’s product or service, then ask yourself: “So what?” All the stuff you wrote down sounds nice on paper, but why? At the end of the day, what do all those features do for your reader? What is it that they are hoping to hear from you with regard to the problem they came here with?
Here’s an example:
“For over 25 years [Company Name] has meticulously engineered our products and provided unrivaled support to our customers. Our team has adapted, overcome, and strengthened as the years went by, ultimately enabling us to continue to enhance our products for our customers.
In the decades since our founding, the team has grown, the basement we started out in turned into a building, and the technology advanced, but our philosophy has remained. We are committed to creating the most cutting-edge technology, with world-class customer support to back it.”
Okay, that sounds good, I guess, but so what? What does all that fancy stuff mean for the small-business owner looking for IT services? When you read something like that, you imagine expert technicians operating from a high-tech office, but how does this solve your problem?
Now, let’s look at a better example:
“Hudson InfoSys gives you the tools and capabilities your business needs for improved growth and success. We offer a wide variety of solutions and services to take your business to the next level, from basic IT support to leading-edge cloud and VoIP systems. And to help you extract maximum value out of your IT spend, our experienced consultants offer guidance and instruction on how to align your technology with your long-term business goals.
The Hudson InfoSys team knows that you need more than just the latest hardware and software to succeed, and we know that like all businesses, your needs are unique. So when we partner with a new client like you, we put in the extra time to analyze their existing IT, operational needs, and future goals. This gives us a better understanding of what is needed to achieve success, and we use this information to fully personalize all of our services for each individual client.”
Now that we have followed the features to their conclusion, we can see the end result of the service and the benefits it provides. Now, when a small-business owner reads this, they imagine office life with peak productivity and without fear of computer breakdowns. This is the kind of idea that can hook a reader and drive them to read on, and eventually pay what it takes to make this idea a reality.
Engaged readers mean more click-throughs, more clicks means more sales
Website copy is one of those things that you usually don’t notice unless it’s bad. Content that doesn’t speak to the reason a reader has visited your website will be boring, and can even confuse them as they try to work out what it is you are offering them. But copy that tells them in no uncertain terms how their needs will be met by your company will keep them reading, interested, and ready to buy.