I don’t drive as much as I used to. Instead, whenever possible, I ride the bus or walk. Negotiating Auckland traffic, you see, stresses me out. And, I’ve discovered that by stepping beyond my ‘protective shell,’ I feel more connected to my surroundings, and I see, hear and smell stuff.

From pavement level, I notice businesses promoting products and services: chemists, bakeries, laundromats … ,and I ponder the similarities between the on- and off-line worlds.

When you think about it, a website’s Home page is no more than a shopfront designed to attract customers. There’s a big difference though: It doesn’t have a team of eager salespeople standing by to explain the benefits of products or services and secure sales.

The words on your website must do the selling for you.

How effective is your website’s copy?

If your web copy fails to generate sales, there could be many reasons why. Maybe it’s littered with grammatical errors. Perhaps the tone and style jars with your target audience. Or, maybe it’s all about you instead of your customers? Here’s an excellent post by Gill Andrews on the topic that inspired this post.

A common problem that I see with many websites is that their words fail to sizzle. In other word, they don’t engage readers, despite being otherwise well written.

So, what’s the problem? Well, they don’t properly explain benefits.

Here are a couple of examples of headlines don’t properly explain benefits:

  • “At ABC Accounting Services, we’ll manage your books.” (No, you won’t!)
  • “The number-one website design company in Auckland.” (Number-one at what? Blowing your own trumpet?)

What’s a benefit?

A benefit is the reason that customers buy a product or service. For example, you might buy a toaster because it’s cheaper than other models or easier to clean.

I’m sure you’ve head the saying “Sell the sizzle, not the sausage.” Well, that’s what I’m talking about.

As  a writer, many businesses don’t fully understand how I add value, which is understandable. And, to make matters worse, I used to write pointless headlines like “I write website pages,” or “I write blog posts.”

But, how do I add value!?

What you must appreciate is that all web visitors have one thing on their minds: What’s in it for me? And, so an answer like “I write web pages” doesn’t cut it. Instead, I should have explained that I write web pages that generate leads and sales.

So, think about what your customers care about.

Here two real-life examples that I think ‘sizzle’ quite nicely:  

How to tell a real benefit from a wannabe?

Is there an easy way to identify and exterminate fake benefits? Thankfully, yes. Just ask yourself “So what?”

For example:

“At ABC Accounting Services, we’ll manage your books.”

So what?

“Your accounts will be in good order.”

So what?

“You won’t receive a hefty fine from IRD when you miss your tax deadline.”

Oh, I see. How do I sign up?

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