Saying what you do is a huge sales opportunity (and an increasingly lost art). These days it’s not enough to say we are accountants or plumbers or an online clothes shop. At best it just scrapes by but it certainly doesn’t separate us from our competition. Remember people searching for your service have probably visited some of your competitor’s webpages before they reach yours. Your task is to stop them from going anywhere else. In order to do that you need to differentiate yourself, and quickly, as you have about eight seconds in which to do it.
That’s a very important number. Eight seconds is the average length of time a visitor will spend on a webpage deciding whether to carry on or leave. In other words, you’ve got eight seconds in which to impress your visitor enough to make them stay.
How you going to do this? Actually, it’s a lot easier than you might think. Let’s break it down into three simple steps.
Write a headline which knocks their socks off.
- The secret of XYZ
- Little-known ways to XYZ
- Get rid of [insert problem here] once and for all
- What you need to know about XYZ
Although these headlines are known to work it’s still best to grab a pen and paper and brainstorm your own. The principle idea is to capture people’s attention or imagination. To help you get started here’s a great little article from copy writing guru Andy Maslen: How to Write the Perfect Headline Every Time.
Show how your business is going to help your visitor as quickly as possible.
It’s easy to get caught up writing about when you were established, how many offices you have, that you fulfil all your client’s needs, etc.. That kind of stuff will turn your visitor off instantly. The reason is because most people are more interested in how you can solve their problems than they are in a rundown of your business. The best way to engage them is by expressing the benefits they will receive by becoming your customer. So, keep it clear and concise and tell them how you are going to make their life better.
Tell them what you want them to do next.
So, you’ve captured their imagination with an interesting headline, you’ve told them how you can help them by explaining the benefits of your business and now finally you need to tell them exactly what they need to do next. And depending on how you want to funnel people through your website it could be that you; direct them to a product or service page or send them to a page where they can download some free information or it might be that you feel that the page they’re on has done enough and you want them to contact you right now. Whatever it might be you must first tell them what you want them to do. In marketing language this is known as the “call to action”.
Remember that you must provide them with a means to respond. So if you’re saying “Call Us” make sure your phone number is right next to the invitation to action. If you’re asking them to email make sure that you email address is clickable. If you want them to fill in a form, put the form right underneath the request for them to respond. In other words make it ultra-easy for them to take the action you want them to take there and then.
If you find yourself wanting them to do more than one thing then a nice way of phrasing it is to have a heading called “Next Steps…” and then list the actions you want them to take in order of priority underneath.
Now the bonus is that this formula works not just on your homepage but for any sales page. So, take a look at the rest of your website and check that you have; an interesting headline, the benefits clearly stated and a good solid invitation to action.
Next week’s Profit Fix – The Truth Behind Online Prices.
Jed Wylie is the author of Make Your Website Sell and works for Morgan Wylie a web design and digital marketing agency in the Midlands. Follow Jed on Twitter at MorganWylieWeb