He’s presented with a list of links, each one directing him to a product description page telling him why he should buy this funky desk lamp or that ultra-comfy orthopaedic chair. But this isn’t really what Joe wanted. Immediately, he’s a little frustrated, because he’s not looking to be sold a product right off the bat; he’s looking for ideas. He’s exploring his options. In short, Joe’s searching for insight and education.
The realisation that web users are looking for insight and education – not just product catalogues – is changing the nature of website copywriting.
It’s no longer good enough for website copywriting to simply provide content describing the products you sell. You also need to include content about the challenges and problems your products solve.
From selling to helping
Website copywriting is changing from a culture of selling to a culture of helping.
This move from selling to helping means that as a marketer you need to understand what people are searching for, and then create content linked to that in every variant possible.
Let’s go back to our office décor example. People thinking about redecorating their offices would probably like to read articles like “Choosing the right décor style for your office”, “Five inexpensive ways to brighten up your office space” or “This year’s hottest office décor trends”. If your company sells office furniture, you need to identify key phrases of this kind that people are searching for, and then produce interesting and insightful content directly relating to it on your website product pages and blog.
Your website copywriting should produce content relating to the specific challenges that people are looking to solve, not high level generic content.
Web users rarely look further than the first page of Google results. If what they’re looking for isn’t on the first page, they typically refine their search. These refined searches are important and they’re the ones you need to gear your website copywriting towards.
Joe types in “décor”, but doesn’t find what he’s looking for, because “décor” is too vague and there’s a vast amount of décor-related content available online. He refines his search to “office décor”. He’s getting warmer now, but he still hasn’t found the specific information he needs. Joe refines his search even further and specifies “inexpensive office décor”. We now know exactly what Joe’s problem is and what he’s looking for. For your website to rank highly in Joe’s search results, you need to have content that helps Joe overcome his challenge of redecorating his office on a budget.
In the past, the critical success factor for businesses was to have an eye-catching ad in the Yellow Pages. Today, the Yellow Pages makes a great doorstop – that’s about it. The new critical success factor is ranking on the first page of Google search results, or better yet, within the first three results.
Not just a once-off thing
The only way to rank higher than your competitors on search results is through excellent website copywriting. Crucially, this is not just a once-off thing you get done when launching a new website.
Strategic website copywriting is something that you need to keep doing all the time; continually creating new content that is better than your competitors’.
It’s also something that you need to continually update as your market evolves. Just as products and services change and mature, your target market’s search methods and habits will adapt and evolve. Consumers are always learning, and as their understanding of products and services grows, so their search criteria will change.
A good way to keep on top of this is to ask your sales team and customer service staff what kinds of questions customers are asking, and then create content based on that.
Just as your customer service staff are driven to help your customers, so your website copywriting should be angled towards helping potential customers.
An added benefit is that this should alleviate the volume of questions that your customer service personnel have to deal with as most buyers today will first do some research online before picking up the phone to contact your customer service