Why Click-to-Sell Web Copy May Not Produce the Results You’re Hoping For

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Hope, we know, is not a strategy. And yet too many startups anchor their marketing efforts in web copy that’s based on mere hope. They hope that mimicking content they admire on someone else’s website will produce jaw-dropping results. 

But there’s more to crafting compelling web copy than trying to keep up the Jones’s. Just because a site features content that reaches out and grabs you by the collar doesn’t mean that copying it will work for your company or your audience. 

Some of the most engaging copy on the web is designed to convert leads into customers on the spot. Such click-to-sell content performs well when you’re an established B2C company with a low-priced product. However, if you’re a relatively unknown startup, a B2B business, or a company selling a complex product, your audience may not be ready for you to buttonhole them and deliver a sales pitch.

When they arrive at your home page, where is your audience on their buying journey?

Before you write a word of copy, make sure you find out the answer to that question. If your copy doesn’t suit your audience’s level of knowledge and interest, it will flop, no matter how clever or punchy it sounds. 

Rather than relying on hopeful imitation to engage website visitors, use the three guidelines below to tailor your copy to your particular audience. By asking yourself a few simple questions, you’ll be able to match your content to both the audience’s stage on the buying journey and the stage of your startup.

Assess the audience pain threshold

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, the ideal customer and/or investor you want your site to attract. How much do they know about the problem your innovative product or service solves? How accurately do they recognize the extent of the problem and the urgency of solving it?

If your audience is only faintly aware of the problem or is in no hurry to solve it, then they have a high pain threshold. At this point in the customer or investor journey, they need a little poking and prodding to make them feel the pain more intensely. You need to lower the pain threshold just enough to raise their interest in what you have to offer.

In this situation, the main task of your web copy should be to educate your audience on the scope and seriousness of the problem you can help them solve. This doesn’t mean focusing just on the negative. A powerful way to lower the pain threshold is to raise awareness of the positive possibilities that lie on the other side of the pain. Enable your web visitors to imagine themselves reaping all the benefits of life without the problem. Once they’re able to see a utopian vision of the future, they will become more conscious of the dystopia they’re living in now and more open to changing their state.

Determine how much the audience already knows about you

At this stage in your business’s development, how does your ideal client get to your website? 

If your startup is brand-new, then we can assume that people aren’t coming to it as a result of a Google search. You may have a brilliant SEO strategy in the making, but it probably hasn’t kicked in yet.

Young companies seldom attract web visitors out of the blue. More likely, web visitors have already had some interaction with your organization. For instance, they may have met you at a conference or trade show or spoken with you during a customer discovery interview.

Even as you plan for future growth, build your website for your current audience. Don’t worry about writing for all the possible visitors you might attract through SEO. Instead, write directly to people referred to your website. This narrows your audience and makes it much easier for you to write copy that will resonate with them and encourage them to take the next step in the buyer journey.

Set a realistic goal for your website

When visitors land on your site, how prepared are they to enter into a sales conversation? If you’re selling a novel product—especially if its complex—then chances are your audience isn’t ready to reach into their wallet when they hit your home page.

As your target audience engages with your site, what is a reasonable next step for them to take? Depending on the situation, the step might be to:

  • Download a free gift that demonstrates your expertise, such as a white paper or tip sheet.
  • Book an appointment for a free consultation.
  • Complete a free online assessment.
  • Connect with you on social media.
  • Attend a free webinar.
  • Sign up for a free email course.

Before you start drafting content, identify the call to action. Every word you write should ultimately drive the audience to accept that invitation and deepen their engagement with you.

Focus on generating trust first, then revenue

As you craft web copy for your startup, consider how it will foster the three C’s: curiosity, credibility, and confidence.

As with everything you build during the early days of your business, your startup web copy will be a temporary product. Think of it as a prototype you can use to test the assumptions you’re making about your target audience and gauge their reaction to your preliminary messaging.

For your initial web copy, focus first on building trust, not producing instant conversions. You’ll also want to design your site for easy updating. As you build up your reputation and nurture your audience’s trust, you’ll need flexibility so you can revise your copy and take prospects further and further toward a sale. 

Looking for fresh insights to build trust with your target audience? Book a free consult at https://calendly.com/dawnhenwood/15min 


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