Three Techniques for Better Website Copy

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For most B2B marketers, the corporate website is the cornerstone of their marketing program. Search engines crawl it and display the contents. Emails and PPC campaigns drive traffic to it. Social media sites refer to it. Even offline promotions, such as sales letters or postcards, often direct their readers back to the corporate website. So it's important. Huge even. So here's my question.

Is the content great?

If your site is like those filled with corporatese, industry jargon and "repurposed brochures" full of company centric content then the answer is no. Not so much.

And let's face it, a wholesale rewrite is probably the best solution...but we all know that's a big job and too often takes a backseat to redesigns for "refreshing" the corporate look. So in the meantime, consider what these three techniques can do to make your website more prospect friendly and help increase conversions.


Kill the Corporatese

If the infestation is bad, it may not be possible to remove it on every page without that complete rewrite. So focus your efforts on the most important places: the home page, about us page, and the five or six most visited pages in the site.

What do I mean by corporatese? Here's an example:

"We provide state of the art solutions that realize maximal business results."

Huh?

If it sounds like that's puffery and hyperbole with a touch of snobbery thrown in, that's because it is. Get rid of it.


Remove the Jargon

Yes, I know everyone in the industry says things a certain way. And that's my point. Unless you are selling to your industry, then you don't want to say it the way the industry says it. Say it the way the prospects and customers will understand it.

Here's an example from the technology space, who seems to have a particular problem with this issue. Don't say "scalable solution" when you can say "we help both small businesses and large companies" or "we can help your company regardless of size."

Yes, scalable solution is fewer words. But it's also jargon. It sounds pretty technical. And if you aren't a technical person maybe you only have a vague idea of what "scalable solution" means. Not that you'd admit it, especially to a potential vendor. Maybe rather than feel dumb you just shop around until you find a vendor who speaks your language, rather than theirs.


Make it Prospect-Centric

Here's a quick test. Skim through a page and see how many times you use the following:

  • We
  • Us
  • Our
  • Company name

Now skim through a page and see how many times these words appear:

  • You
  • Your
  • Target industry or prospect

I'll give you a hint. Most web pages are full of the former and have little to none of the latter. The ratio should be nearly reversed.

Readers don't care about you. Ok. That's a bit strong. They care about you marginally. They want to know what you will do for them, how you will do it, how much it will cost them for you to do it, whether they'll be left in the lurch after they buy it, and if they'll be able to repeat to their peers that they chose you. Because the truth is, in their eyes, it's all about them.

What do you think? What other techniques can be used to "refresh" web content to make it more friendly?

Image courtesy of c.hamel

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