Checking Your Message - Effective Web Copy

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Dale Carnegie said, "Talk in terms of the other man's
interests."

Writing effective web copy begins with a clear understanding
of the goals and objectives of your internet strategy. Are you
trying to persuade the visitor to buy something? Are you
trying to get them to sign up for your newsletter? Perhaps you
want them to join your organization or simply learn more about
your service so that they will call your 800 number. The
common theme with all of these web strategies is that you are
trying to get someone you have never met and can't see to take
a step toward building a relationship with you or your
organization.

Typical website copy uses a great deal of prime real estate
telling the web audience how wonderful the organization is.
Imagine going to a party and meeting someone who talks
endlessly about himself. He talks about his job, his family,
his interests. How long will you stand there and listen before
politely excusing yourself? Now imagine the party guest who
seems more interested in you- your family, your job, your
interests. Wouldn't you react more favorably? It's very
similar on the Internet.

It is very tempting to write web copy that is focused on your
company. Your first thought is probably something like, "I
have to tell them who I am. They don't know anything about
me." In reality, they don't care! (At least not in the first
few seconds). Most web users are on a mission to find as much
information as quickly as possible about the product or
service they need because they want to make a decision. If
they find your page, they first thing they want to know - even
before bothering with anything else - is how they will benefit
from buying (subscribing, calling, joining). You need to
answer that question clearly and concisely within seconds or
you will lose that visitor (maybe forever). If you can't cut
through the selfish copy, the clutter, the fancy graphics, and
communicate the value you offer that nobody else offers, they
will go somewhere else- and likely never come back.

Here are 3 additional ideas to help with effective web copy:
1. Create an effective Unique Selling Proposition (USP): A USP
is the statement (2-3 sentences at most) that explains why you
are different than everyone else. This is the unique factor
that sets you apart from your competition. Make this the first
thing your visitor sees.
2. Write about what you offer. Focus on benefits (not
features) and de-emphasize your organization. The website
visitor needs to understand the value in a relationship with
you.
3. Use your copy to help steer your visitor down an intended
path. This can be accomplished by placing your "Point of
action" near benefits-related text, making it easier for your
visitors to take action at that moment.

About the Author

Tom Neuman is a Senior Partner with Medium Blue Internet
Marketing (http://www.mediumblue.com). For monthly tips on
how to get the most out of your internet presence, sign up for
the Medium Blue Internet Marketing newsletter at
http://www.mediumblue.com/newsletters.

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