In the vast majority of cases, website content is designed for one purpose: to engage the reader and convince said reader to purchase something. Whether it’s a direct purchase from the website or somewhat more subtly through affiliate ad links, you’re in this to make money. Even brick and mortar businesses are trying to achieve a sale, whether it’s online or by having the reader make an in-person visit and purchase.
So, it would be fair to say that most website content is indeed marketing content. If your clients are going to write for the web, they need at least a basic understanding of how marketing works, as well as of the techniques that produce the best results. Unfortunately, many website owners either find inaccurate information or take sound information too far. This undoubtedly results in a lack of conversions and a lot of unhappy visitors.
If you are interested in getting real results, either for yourself or for your clients, you must come to understand the marketing mistakes that many business owners make, as well as how to avoid them. Keep the following three points in mind when helping clients to create content and use the corresponding tips for doing it right:
1. Using Language that Feels Pushy or Seem Over-the-Top
People are so over hype. Despite being an extremely poor method of marketing, it has managed to remain. While it may work for a select few groups, the larger portion of the consumer base has become sophisticated enough to recognize hype and run screaming in the other direction. If you have a quality product or service to offer, why would you want to cheapen it with pushy, exaggerated sales talk anyway? Let’s look at an example.
WRONG: FREE, FREE, FREE, FREE! Once in a lifetime opportunity! Best thing to happen to humanity since sliced bread! Get it now in a free trial and only pay pennies per month after that! What are you waiting for? You’ll regret it forever if you pass up this amazing opportunity. ACT NOW!!!
Would you really buy into something that was so obviously written to excite the emotions but not offer very much else in the way of value or information? I wouldn’t. We don’t even know what it is that’s supposedly so amazing. It would appear to be some type of business opportunity, but we can’t be sure. Let’s look at a different approach.
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Here we have marketing copy that tells us what it is you are buying, doesn’t make outlandish claims or promises, and still gets the message across. In fact, it is a much more compelling paragraph than the first and it might actually be something you’d want to learn more about. Can you see the difference?
2. Excessive Use of Exclamation Points, All Caps, the Color Red, and Highlighting
Look back at the first example above and you’ll see two of these mistakes: lots of caps and too many exclamation points. Many poor landing pages would also have portions of text in bold red, as well as have several sections highlighted. If you have great copy, you don’t need all of this. In fact, it only turns off the people who would have otherwise been interested enough to make a purchase.
You can use exclamation points, and you can even use red or highlighting. You really should avoid using all caps, however. The key is moderation. Save it for when you truly have a statement that needs extra emphasis—not every other sentence.
3. Creating a False Sense of Urgency or Value
We see it all the time: “Act now and get this, that, and the other for free. Limited time offer!” Well, you may offer extras and it may indeed be a limited time offer. If that is the case, fine. But don’t manufacture this information if it’s untrue. If you’re running a special for a set amount of time, you better be ready to end it later, otherwise people will see right through you.