Copy Sells, Flash Doesn’t
Develop Your Website Content for Maximum Visitor Retention
What do users want?
Before every site launch and redesign, marketing and IT departments agonize over this question. Should the website be graphics-heavy and light on text? Do prospects want rich media enhancements (like Flash) and will they buy more if these are used? What steps should be taken to guarantee the best site experience?
The results from a recent media study offer some interesting results:
- 20% of respondents would visit a site more often if it had rich media enhancements.
- 40% of respondents would visit a site more often if the pages would load faster
- 59% of retail shoppers wanted more product information (in other words, they are screaming that they are not getting the information they need from the sites they visit. This sentiment only results in lost sales opportunities for the site owner).
What happened to the bells and whistles?
- Search engines can’t index flash presentations
- The major players on the internet don’t use Flash intros (Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.). So why should you?
Your prospects want product or service information and knowledge, not whirling and slow loading graphics. If your site provides only sketchy product information in an attempt to “get people to contact you for more information,” you are forcing your users to take another step before they can buy from you. When it comes to conversion rates, why tempt fate and make things more difficult for your buyers?
Super cool stuff doesn’t answer questions
Think about this concept in real life: Let’s say you’re visiting a retail store. The store is the latest in hip, with flashing lights and rock videos pounding from every corner. You see a product, love it, but have a few questions about it. You wait for a sales person … and wait … and wait … and still your questions aren’t answered. Would you continue waiting just because the store was cool? Would you buy the product anyway, and figure your questions weren’t important? No. Chances are you would leave the super-hip store without spending a dime, figuring you can find your product somewhere else.
How to avoid the “super cool store” syndrome
- Give your visitors what they want. The reason people visit a product or service web site is because they want information. They may want detailed product information, where the more they know about the product the more they are willing to buy. Or, they may want precise information about your services before they contact you. The easier you can make it for your prospects to buy from you, the less chance they will surf to your competitors. Detailed product descriptions are a powerful means of differentiation for retail sites and require little incremental work.
- Re-write your website copy with well researched keyword phrases in mind. One of the prime advantages of having more content on a web page is you’ll make the search engines happy. Remember, the search engines love text – lots of it. And they will happily spider content-rich pages. Instead of adding more content without thought to the search engines, make all your textual content keyword rich.
- Keep your ego out of the way. Do you really care that your competitor enjoys the latest bells and whistles on their web page? Why? Although their site may look like visual nirvana, that doesn’t mean that it’s converting customers, ranking well on the search engines or offering the information their prospects need. In fact, a slow loading site will alienate prospects with a dial-up connection (personally, I skip every Flash introduction I see, or immediately surf away). Remember, you are designing your web site for your user’s experience — not your own.
Make your website content fun to read
Do you hate scrolling long web pages? You are not alone. Web viewers read best when information is presented in short, discrete chunks of information. If your prospects are wearing out their scroll mice every time they access your site, do them a favor by learning how to package your information into bite-sized chunks instead. In the internet’s instant-gratification environment, people want fast answers and easily understandable benefits. You have mere seconds to wow your prospect and strut your cyber-stuff. If your writing is dirt-dull, visually hard to read or confusing, your prospects will buy from your competitor and that’s the end result you desperately want to avoid.
Write to your target audience
If you think your target audience is “any and all web surfers,” you’re in for a shock. Tightly targeted text will increase your sales and clarify your marketing message.
Give them what they want
Are you telling your prospects what’s in it for them, or are you droning on about your state-of-the-art facility and your detailed manufacturing process? What’s in it for me? Prospective customers don’t really care about you or your company. They only care about how they can personally benefit using your product or service. Tell them what they want to know. Describe in detail how their life will improve when they buy your product or service. And why it’s worth the price. Advertising selfishness, which can be defined as telling ONLY “about us, how good we are, what we do, how we do it, etc.”, can kill your marketing efforts. From websites to banner ads, email announcements to brochures, sales letters, advertisements, etc., your marketing message should let your prospects know that YOU ARE CONCERNED ONLY WITH WHAT THEY WANT!
Anything about you and your company should come last. The needs of your visitors, clients, customers, patients, whatever you choose to call them, should always come first. All online and offline marketing materials that you use should focus on what the prospects want and need. Every sentence should show that you understand their wants and needs.
In building content for your website, it is always better to make a basic straight-forward sales presentation vs. letting your website become a “billboard.” Successful websites have discovered that they should be designed like a sales presentation. A competent sales presentation correctly anticipates the prospects wants and needs. Then those wants and needs are presented in a logical manner which educates the prospect about how your product or service can fulfill his/her wants and needs. Until your marketing efforts correctly focus on the visiting prospects first, your marketing efforts will be severely handicapped.