Clear, concise, correct and compelling?

Would your prospects use these words to describe your website content?

Steve Till discusses the value and the attributes of great online copy.

What do you need your web copy to do? Make sense? Be clear? Be as short as possible?

OK, think of your own experience of websites. Think especially of those you were looking at, because you wanted to buy something.

Was ‘making sense’ enough to keep you reading? Was clarity enough? Was conciseness? Was a reasonable command of the English language sufficient to engage you, to earn your attention, and eventually, your business?

It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away

Websites are like X-Factor auditions. If they are not immediately and continuously engaging, then the audience will simply turn off and look elsewhere.

You probably did!

So, it follows that, yes, your copy should be clear, because even the slightest confusion will have the reader following the next link on Google.

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know that there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

And, since you are walking this tightrope of keeping the reader’s interest, your words must also be as concise as possible.

We are in the process of arranging a bridging loan for a client who is buying a plot consisting of 2 semi-detached properties that he intends to convert to one house to live in. The process involves finding a lender who will look at it from a commercial perspective, then having completed the work I have needed to ensure that he has a new residential mortgage lender in place ready to go to re-mortgage the property onto a residential mortgage to immediately clear the commercial finance we set up.

And your English should also be correct – in spelling, punctuation, syntax and grammar – because sloppiness in this department creates confusion, and for many people it’s (its?) a turn-off in its (it’s?) own right.

But it’s the compelling bit that’s really difficult.

Firstly, you have to know your audience. Otherwise, how do you know what will interest them?

Know your audience. Know their issues. Show you understand them. Prove to them that you can help. Write in an interesting way. And give them more and more reasons to read on, to know more about you, your company and your products or services.

Simple.

We are a proud firm of over 50 years standing, specialising in the manufacture and distribution of high quality widgets, focused on the highest standards of customer service, and committed to providing the very best customer experience…….

But it’s not simple, is it? Very successful and intelligent business owners struggle to write compellingly about their own companies.

They are usually so proud of their company that they make the mistake of going on and on about it, instead of thinking first about the reader and their issues.

In addition, the fact that they are so close to their products or services means that they actually find it difficult to identify what is great about what they do.

And, believe me, there is always something.

You lead a busy life. Time is money. You need your car back on the road as quickly as possible. Our investment in the latest repair and spray booths and in our technicians’ training means that, uniquely for a bodyshop in this area, we can hand you back your keys in hours, rather than days.

That’s why, even if you’re a good writer, it is always worth getting a professional copywriter in to write your website. Business owners with degrees in English, who obviously have a wonderful grasp of the language, still outsource the work.

Why?

Firstly, because copywriters are outside the company, and so they can present your unique selling points from the prospect’s perspective.

Secondly, because they understand marketing. They know that good marketing copy has to be more than clear and concise and correct.

It has to earn its right to be read at every turn. It has to be compelling.

Like the clothes that you wear, or the car that you drive, your eyewear is an important part of your life, and a key expression of your personal style – not just a means by which to see, but also a mode in which to be seen.

So, whether you sell vehicle repairs, spectacles or anything else, it’s worth considering if those products and services’ clear, concise, correct and compelling description by a professional copywriter may be worth a little investment of its own.

It’s only words – but if they are anything less than completely clear, concise, correct and compelling, they will certainly never take anyone’s heart away.

Written by Steve Till from HGR Marketing, [email protected]