If you can hold the attention of your visitors, they are more likely to return. According to scientist Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University, Ottawa, browsers only take 500 milliseconds to decide if they like a website or not and therefore less than a second to click away from your site.
Considering the general consensus was, that it took 8 seconds before someone decided if they liked your site or not, this information makes it even more important to ensure that your landing page (either a stand-alone promotional page or any page someone can arrive at on your website) is optimised for results.
There are various links and resources on this blog/site, but the important thing to bear in mind is that your website is, or can be, a 24/7 sales person and so it must be up to the job.
First and foremost the purpose of your website is to engage with your prospective customers. Therefore, your landing page design and written copy needs to reflect what you want your visitor to do.
Dr Lindgaard added, “As websites increasingly jostle for business, companies should take note that unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors," she warned.
Here's the link to read the "First Impression Count" article on the BBC web site.
Salesmanship in Print
A great "free" short read is called Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins and is a must before you get stuck into copy-writing. In fact, David Ogilvy once said: “Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times."
It's said that copy writing is salesmanship in print. Therefore, you need to make sure your written words are as impactful and engaging as they can be.
Consider this: If you can hold the attention of your visitors, they are more likely to return and ultimately buy from you. A great book to read is Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso. It really helps you to understand the logic behind crafted words, especially for the web.
Know thy customer!
Everyone needs to have reason to say "yes", because...they need a reason "why". Keep this in mind when you are crafting your page.
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini discussed an experiment conducted by Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer in which she demonstrated that people like to have a reason for doing something.
Her experiment was simple. People were waiting in line to use a photocopier machine at a library. Langer's colleague asked those who were waiting if she could go ahead of them, saying, "Excuse me, I have five pages, may I use the machine because I'm in a rush?" Interestingly, 94% of those asked complied. Note the word because, which introduced a reason for the request.
The experiment was repeated to a new group. This time the request was "Excuse me, I have five pages, may I use the copier. Only 60% complied.
A final test to a new group used the following dialogue "Excuse me, I have five pages to copy, may I use the machine because I have to make some copies. 93% complied.
By introducing the word "Because" was enough to persuade people to comply.
In doing the same with your web copy it changes the impact your words have on your browsers. Always tell your browsers why they need to do what you're asking because it works.
For example: "You must act now because this offer expires on February 28th after which we can no longer accept orders" would be sufficient.
Writing articles shouldn't be too taxing for most businesses, however, if you have another member of staff, get them involved (as long as they can write!).
My favourite books about Writing…
And if you need inspiration about how to write, take a look at the following book recommendations. Each one has something to offer to help you improve your skills at writing copy.