Just as visiting a lot of great restaurants doesn’t make you a gourmet chef, spending a lot of time looking at websites doesn’t mean you’ll be able to write great Web copy. So, today we’re going to step into the “content kitchen” with one of America’s most successful Web copywriters, and learn some of her recipes for delivering delicious and results-driven Web content.
Maria Veloso is an Ogilvy and Mather alumnus who turned to Web copywriting in the mid-90s, way back when the Inter-web was just getting started. Now, she runs her own publishing and consulting firm and is the author of the must-read “Web Copy That Sells.”
What is Maria’s recipe for creating great Web copy? It turns out that in many ways, crafting great Web copy mirrors great consultative selling. In other words, even though you are not face to face with an online prospect, a genuine and customer-focused sales approach still wins the day.
With that in mind, here are Maria’s secret ingredients—the five questions you need to answer in order to write powerful and engaging web content.
1). What Is the Problem?
Much like a doctor diagnosing a patient, great copywriters begin by diagnosing their potential customers—what problems, pains, and predicaments are they facing? The better you are able to understand their unique situation, the more effective your story will be.
2). Why Hasn’t the Problem Been Solved?
Why has the problem persisted? What are some of the roadblocks that have been holding customers back? In fact, sometimes the customers themselves may not even realize what’s been stopping them. If you can help clarify the roadblocks, it will help to immediately establish credibility and confidence.
3). What Is Possible Once the Problem Is Solved?
Now that you’ve brought the problem into sharp focus, help customers imagine what things will be like without the problem. For example, don’t just tell them their back pain will go away—help them to visualize all the wonderful things they’ll be able to do when they are no longer in pain. “What if,” “Imagine if,” and “Have you ever considered…” are all phrases that start to trigger images of a better future.
4). What Is Different Now?
Now it’s time to highlight your product’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What does your product offer to help solve the customer’s problem faster, better, and/or cheaper? There are endless ways to differentiate your offering—but be sure to make your point of differentiation is crystal clear. If a unique product falls by itself in the forest, no one hears it!
5). What Should the Customer Do Now?
If you have identified the customer’s problem clearly, and demonstrated how your product solves their problem—then, at this point, many customers will actually be considering taking things to the next level. Fortunately, the online environment is ideally suited for immediate and direct response. So, the final and critical step in the process is to create a clear call to action. Do you want them to call, click, copy, subscribe, send, share or ultimately—Buy Now? Also, don’t be afraid to create a sense of urgency. Even though deadlines are often arbitrary, if you can generate some time-based pressure for a response—that can help drive customers to take action!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this “behind the scenes” tour with one of America’s great Web content creators. Crafting meaningful content is the key to connecting with your customers. Just be sure to remember the 5 secret ingredients!
PS – If you’d like help spicing up your own Web content, please contact me within the next 24 hours to see if you qualify for a free Web content audit.