As a small business owner you need a website that markets your services for you — a website that positions you as an expert and generates quality leads while you're growing your revenue, working with clients, and focusing on the bigger picture in your business.
Your website should work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so you don’t have to.
Without a website, business owners are faced with the task of constantly bringing in new leads, filling their lead pipeline, and converting those leads into paying customers — all while running the business, ensuring their customer's needs are met, and attempting to grow the business.
This is a daunting task for even the most experienced business owners, let alone someone attempting to balance all of these tasks without a website or with one that is missing key pieces.
“I'll create a website to help generate more leads“, you think to yourself.
So you create the website and realize you also need to add content to the pages. But what do you write about to help turn these visitors into potential clients?
You know you need to write in a way that resonates with visitors, but you're not sure how. You also want to make certain everyone knows how amazing you are and why they should hire you but you don't want to brag — and if you don't tell them how amazing you are, how will they know?
So you give it your best shot, launch the website, and while a lead or two may come in here and there, your inquiry form is mainly full of people trying to sell you their services… thanks, but no thanks.
When trying to figure out why your website isn’t working, you wonder, “Maybe the website doesn't look professional enough and I need to redesign it — and maybe hire a professional.”
Hint: Your website likely doesn’t need a redesign. A prettier website won’t magically convince more people to work with you.
You've been so focused on:
- Telling people how amazing you are,
- Showcasing everything that you can do, and
- Highlighting all that you've achieved in your business
That you missed the most important piece: informing visitors about the problems that you solve!
When people search online, it's typically on how to solve a problem they're having. Rather than searching for ‘award winning contractor', they're instead looking for ‘how to find a contractor to remodel a kitchen', or ‘how much does a kitchen remodel cost'.
If your content doesn't reflect what your potential clients are searching for, you're unlikely to show up in the search results pages, and your inquiry form will never get filled out (except by bots).
You need website that:
- Speaks clearly to your target clients
- Functions as an online marketing tool — working for you, not against you
- Helps your business website get found online easier, and
- Turns visitors into potential leads
To achieve this, you have to pay attention to the words and messaging on your website.
This means, not making these common mistakes that I see time and time again when working on websites with clients.
Focusing too much on you
Contrary to popular belief, your website is not actually about you — it's about the solutions you provide for your clients problems. You want your potential clients to read your website and be able to picture themselves in the copy.
Look through your website copy paying attention to the number of times you use your business name or talk about ‘we' or ‘us' vs using ‘you'. Rewrite the content to talk more toward the customer instead. You can easily do this by starting a sentence off with ‘you' or ‘your' rather than your name or business.
Before: Our company has been in business for 20 years and has won multiple awards for excellence, proving that we are the best in the industry.
After: You can trust our industry-leading expertise and award-winning service to provide you with the highest quality products and solutions.
Focusing on the features, not the benefits
Readers don't give a crap about your ‘6 Steps to XYZ‘, they want to know how those 6 steps can benefit them. You need to explain how your product or service solves their problem, not what the features are.
When writing your web copy, think: ‘what is the benefit to my readers?‘ and make sure you include this in the content. To help you do this, ask yourself ‘so what‘ or ‘so that‘.
Before: Our software offers a variety of tools and features to help you manage your projects more efficiently, including Gantt charts, calendars, and task assignments.
Ok… so what? Why does this matter? The software helps keep you and your team more organized so you don’t miss deadlines.
After: Our software streamlines your project management process, making it easier for you to stay on top of deadlines and optimize your team's workflow. With features like Gantt charts and task assignments, you'll have everything you need to succeed.
Too much focus on the solution, and not enough about the problem
Another issue I see with website copy is too much focus on the solution rather than showing people that you understand their problem — you get them.
When your content is focused around the problem and less about the solution, you’re letting your potential clients know that you understand what they’re going through, where they’re at, and where they want to go. You’re their best option to take them from where they’re at now, to where they want to be.
Before: Our all-natural supplements are scientifically tested and proven to promote better health and wellbeing.
After: Are you tired of feeling sluggish and run down? Our supplements are designed to boost your energy and support your immune system, so you can feel your best every day.
Trying to drive home that you're dependable, hard-working, trustworthy, etc.
This one is a huge pet peeve of mine. We're all dependable, hard-working, and trustworthy business owners and/or employees. We're all striving toward giving the best customer support and service to our clients. Think about it — who starts a business with the goal of being undependable and unreliable?
Instead of telling people how amazing you are, let your testimonials, reviews, and case studies do the work for you. Use these to demonstrate how your company, product, or service has been beneficial in the past rather than trying to toot your own horn. Plus, it's more credible coming from someone else.
Only covering very surface level information — not getting deep into your expertise
When your content only covers the very basics, it comes across as generic or shallow. You risk converting leads by not showing the depth of your knowledge and expertise when you fail to dive deeper into what it is that you do, how you do it, and most importantly: how it benefits your clients. This limits both your ability to differentiate yourself from your competition and becoming a sought-after expert.
The other risk of only covering surface level information is that it may not rank well in the search results — which also reduces your visibility and reach to potential customers. People can't hire you if they don't know you exist.
Read through your website content and identify any areas where you should improve the copy to provide more depth, knowledge and/or expertise. When reviewing the content, consider what your readers may be looking for and provide helpful solutions or answers to their questions.
Making the content too complex — focusing too much on industry jargon and business speak
Just like covering only the very basics, if you make your website copy too complex you'll end up doing more harm than good. Unless you're writing a business plan to get a bank loan or investors you need to simplify the copy on your website.
If you're like most of my clients, you're not targeting others in your industry, you're targeting everyday consumers who use everyday language. If you're using industry jargon on your website it's going to turn people away — not convert them into leads.
Years ago, I built a website for a client and they provided the copy for the project straight from their business plan. The website copy was so packed with jargon, complex business terms, and acronyms that even the most savvy investor would struggle to understand the message they were trying to convey. To this day, I still have no idea what they actually did and sadly the business didn't last very long as their potential customers also had no idea about the value that they could provide.
A great way to see if your content is too complex is to run it through a free program such as the Hemmingway Editor. It will help you to identify the readability level as well as showing what sentences are hard to read and could use a little bit of rewording. That client I mentioned above? Their copy came in at a Grade 13 level of readability instead of the Grade 6-8 that's recommended for website copy.
When you simplify the content into words that anyone can understand, you'll have a much easier time converting them. Remember — leave the jargon for your colleagues, not potential clients.
Remember — your website is about your prospective clients… not about you
When writing your website copy, be mindful of these mistakes that I see when working with clients. Remember, your website copy should be easy to understand and focus on the outcomes or benefits that clients get when working with you.
When you get this dialed in, your ideal clients will be reading your text, nodding their heads and saying to themselves: ‘OMG. That's me. I need this!! How do I work with this person?!?'.
By centering your copy around your clients and their problems, it lets them picture themselves, knowing that you understand them and their problems and that you are the best option for them. Before you know it, your inquiry form will be full of potential leads — not spam messages.
If you want help editing or writing your website copy, let's have a chat.