Improve Your Website Copy in 4 Quick Steps

To be honest, I used to be judgmental of websites with tons of spelling errors or incoherent passages. As a copywriter, though, I finally get it. As a business owner, you are way too busy actually working to worry about your website copy. You’re responsible for managing employees, working out finances, ordering supplies, plus tending to the daily operational concerns related to the business. I understand your apathy toward finessing essays for online consumers.

The temptation to copy and paste a hastily written paragraph onto your site template is strong. But I’m here to remind you that your online content is a vital part of your business’ brand, and therefore its success. To jump start the content upgrade, I’ve listed four simple ways you can improve your website copy quickly and relatively painlessly!

 

Your online content is a vital part of your business' success. Here are four simple ways to improve your website copy quickly and relatively painlessly!

 

1. Set your brand’s tone

Your website copy literally speaks for you. Each section of your website should exude positive branding. Read through your existing website text and ask yourself, what does this content say? Am I being bland and boring, or am I actively and invitingly describing what I do in a unique way? If I came across this content elsewhere, would it be obvious that it’s talking about my brand or company? Does the narrative leave me nodding in agreement, or frowning at its lackluster delivery?

If your site reads like the ingredients list on a can of cheese whiz (fake junk, lots of fluff, added extra random unknowns), get out a notepad and pen! Start brainstorming all the ways your business is different from competitors. If you pride yourself on being honest above all else, highlight that. If your mission statement is about delivering an impeccable product, brag it up! The idea is to be straightforward about what you offer, but at the same time noting what makes your business stand out.

 

2. Be yourself

People who visit your website want to know not only what you sell, but also who you are. After all, there is an actual person behind the scenes, and you are what makes your business. Does your website have a little bit of you in it? Apart from the branding in step one, you want to zero in on your About section, or the Contact section, and slap your face on there! Now is not the time to be shy or modest!

Being yourself can go a long way in attracting clients, particularly if you’re offering a service or product that a hundred others are pushing too. Your story is what propelled your business to where it is today, and your customers would love to hear more about the why behind the what! Try and share something about yourself in at least one of the main menu items on your website, whether it’s your love of everything Pumpkin Spice or your ambitions toward running a marathon. If it’s part of who you are, then it is bound to be relevant to your audience too.

 

3. Encourage action

In the copywriting realm, the term ‘actionable’ is thrown around often. Essentially, actionable content is a tidbit that encourages the reader (or viewer or listener) to do something, other than simply consuming.

For a small business, website copy that invites visitors to like a social media page, view a gallery of past projects, or visit links to affiliated companies has the potential for actionable results. For example, when you’re done reading this post, I’ve got some sidebar links that invite you to follow me on social media, check out past blog posts, or even hire me.

Not everyone will click, but if you haven’t set up the opportunity, you’ll never know how much business might be escaping! Scan your website and ensure that you have strategically placed at least one contact form, any relevant social media links, and a call to action (click here to read something awesome, follow me on Twitter, visit the blog– something like that!).

 

4. Spell check

This can be a challenge when you’ve read and re-read your own writing a zillion times before hitting publish, but it’s important! Proper spelling and grammar is huge- because a few discerning clients won’t take you seriously once they’ve caught a number of errors in your copy. My secret weapon here is to send my copy off to a trusted friend or relative before posting it for the world to see. As grammar and spelling obsessed as I am, my eyeballs get tired too. A second opinion can’t hurt, particularly if there are some obvious [but not to you] discrepancies or omissions.

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I know it’s tough to focus on something as mundane as web copy when the basics of your business demand your attention 24/7. But I urge you to invest a little time in improving it! Sprucing up your website copy only increases your potential for client visibility, which we know is the first step to keeping the biz afloat in the first place!

 

Your Email Pitch: What Not to Say

I’m a little surprised to say that I’ve been on the receiving end of less than stellar pitches. I would hope that someone who is pitching to a writer would… well, pay more attention to his or her writing. Therefore, I have a few tips for my friends who use cold email pitch tactics to drum up new business.

To enhance cold email pitch potential, I have a few tips for those who use email marketing tactics to drum up new business. [Marketing advice from WordsbyErynn]

Before the actual email pitch- do your research.

Please don’t offer me a service that I am already using. Please don’t call me sir when I’m [hopefully] obviously a woman. Do a little research on your intended target, and your email will come across as knowledgeable and more personal. It’s particularly respectful to find out the name or title of the addressee, so you can avoid that awkward ‘To whom it may concern’ and other vague nonsense.

Besides, you’re better than that. If you’re trying to start a business-client relationship with a contact, you’ve got one shot to impress him or her. Show that you know your stuff, and that you are a professional.

On that same note…

Subject lines: bland = unsuccessful

So, you have an awesome product or service that I might need. You write a short and sweet, but personal, email, telling me why I must have your Amazing Thing. But. And it’s a big but. Your subject line offers me no incentive to click. If I weren’t so interested in picking apart other professionals’ marketing tactics, I wouldn’t have clicked at all. The point is, you’re not guaranteed eyeballs on your email unless the subject line is inviting or at least transparent.

I don’t recommend going over the top with “Click now for a special deal” or “Limited time offer, act now,” because those feel skeevy. My suggestion is to stick with something simple. For my freelancing business, I might approach a business owner who is apparently lacking a regular writer to maintain its web copy. A suitable subject line would be, ‘Web copywriting inquiry’ or ‘Product description suggestions for your business.’ Not enough promotion to come across as flashy and cheesy, but enough information so that the recipient understands why I’m randomly emailing her.

Did a robot write this? A robot lacking spell check?

Aren’t we all tired of those automated Twitter messages and impersonal product pitches? I don’t mind hearing about your product, especially if it might be beneficial to my business, but if you send me the same message as the other 500 contacts on your list, I will know. And I will shun you. Not publicly, but you won’t get my business or my respect.

Also, please spell check. I can’t beg you enough. I routinely receive newsletters to blogs I subscribe to, and I have seen more than my share of cringe worthy mistakes. Am I not worth your time? Do you not read and re-read your content before publishing? Embarrassing secret- I do, often multiple times. I also re-read days or weeks later and have caught a few mistakes of my own (gasp! how is it possible?!). I suppose I should go back to offering  a Starbucks gift card if a reader catches a mistake and notifies me 😉

The point is, we are human, and minor errors are forgivable. However,  if I know that I’m receiving the same typo-ridden Twitter message that all 800 of your other Twitter followers received, I might just un follow you to avoid further eye strain.

 

Along my freelance journey, I’ve learned a ton of valuable tips and tricks for landing jobs, creating content, and generally just giving good, consistent service. None of that does me any good if my email pitches are poorly conceived with lackluster delivery. Avoid these mistakes, and you just might see better return on your email pitch investments!

Write effective product descriptions WordsbyErynn

How to Write Effective Product Descriptions

I wish I could say I have a magic formula for coming up with the perfect marketing product descriptions to sell anything to anyone. Unfortunately, all I have to offer are a few necessities I’ve learned over the course of writing for my clients. Hopefully you’ll at least be a little less lost than before, right?

Be honest in your product descriptions

You’re not selling snake oil. Well, maybe you are, but you should be upfront about it. Marketing is not defined by selling through whatever means necessary. Being dishonest to your customers in your product descriptions won’t win you sales. Even if it does, it wins you a whole bunch of negative reviews too, once customers receive their orders.

Don’t make false claims about your product, or describe it in a way that suggests the wrong idea. Make sure your potential buyer understands your hand made ring is gold plated, not one hundred percent solid gold. Don’t tell your customers your product is from a pet free home, when your malamute accompanies you to your studio.

Describe (with some pizzazz!)

For any topic you are writing on, I recommend to always start by brainstorming words to use throughout your copy. If your product is cozy, call it cozy, but also use warm, welcoming, inviting, snuggly, comfortable, and the like. No one wants to buy a comfortable couch that’s just comfortable and they’ll be comfortable sitting on it. They want a comfortable couch that cozies up their living space and makes it more welcoming (how’s that for a product description? Now do you want to buy my old couch?).

A thesaurus might actually come in handy here, but make sure you thoroughly understand the meaning of a word before plugging in whatever term Word suggests. And don’t get all hoity toity calling your new product revolutionary or innovative, unless it’s truly some scientific accomplishment beyond the reaches of what’s possible for us mere mortals.

Give positive vibes

People want to know what’s great about what you’re selling, and why they must. have. it. Be genuine and positive about what you’re selling, and your customers will be excited too. Give lots of ideas on how to use your product and explain how it’s going to make your customers’ lives better. If you talk about what you sell positively, your confidence in your product shows.

Obviously, avoid ever say anything negative in your product descriptions. Definitely don’t allude to the fact that a competitor’s product might be superior. Don’t liken your product to any other, or state brand names, because you could end up sued, or potentially lose business to them when your viewers head off to Google!

Show personality

You might think that since your potential customer is already viewing your product, they’re ready to commit. I mean, it’s an awesome product, the photos make it look glorious, what reason is there for a potential customer to click away? I’ve got a secret for you. No matter how amazing a product is, if the product description is only a list of the dimensions and the materials, you are going to miss out on sales.

When you set up shop, you’re personally addressing each individual person who looks at any given listing. Your product descriptions should share the same personality as you and your business, and serve as more than just a sales pitch imploring people to buy. If you have a personal story about what you make, by all means, share it! Connecting with your customers is step one in nurturing a relationship, and securing repeat business!

Every bit of text on your site or in your store is a bit of your brand’s message, and it should all be consistent and customer-focused. Investing in your content means you’re investing in your customers and their experience, not just marketing your wares.