Selling the sizzle

Website copy should sell the sizzle and not the steak


Great website copy should never be seen as an optional ‘extra’ for your website and if you aren’t prepared to invest in good-quality website copy, even the most fantastic looking website simply won’t cut the mustard. Look at it this way: you wouldn’t buy an Aston Martin with a Ford Fiesta engine inside it, would you? When it comes to a great website, beauty really is more than skin deep. Your website needs to tell your customers what they want to hear and although the design and functionality of a website are, of course, important, there’s no getting away from the fact that content is king.

I’ve come across countless websites that are all guilty of the same thing: lots and lots of copy that talks about how great the service, the value and expertise of the business with no consideration paid to what the reader actually wants to hear. The majority of your customers will take it as a given that a builder knows how to build and that a lawyer knows the law. What they don’t know is whether they can trust you, will like you or need your services. However these are the key influences on which buying decisions are made and the best websites trigger these decisions, instead of confirming what visitors to the site already know and will take as a given.

Good quality website copy is written so that it talks to and engages with real people. In many cases the management of a business want copy that simply concentrates on their values rather than those of their customers, whilst relying on endorsements from a trade directory instead of testimonials from real customers. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that words have the potential power to put across the personality and values of your business just as much as visual branding can.

Great copy will talk to your potential customers and if you want to get it right, you need to begin by thinking about what the buying triggers are for your customers or clients. When they make buying decisions, what are the values that they are looking for? Rather than telling them how great your products or services are, concentrate instead on telling them why they need you or what you sell – can they trust you to give them what they’re looking for? Have a look at the websites of similar businesses to yours for good examples which present themselves effectively to their customers.

It’s not only other businesses like yours which can offer ideas and inspiration. Some big brands are incredibly successful at talking to specific customer groups in a language that they can understand. Take well known companies such as Yeo Valley dairy products or Innocent Drinks, for example. Both of these companies not only have great looking websites: their websites also use words to build customer loyalty and trust. A distinctive personality is what makes these companies stand out from the rest – how do we know this? From great web copy of course!