Checking Your Message - Effective Web Copy
© 2002 Tom Neuman.
Dale Carnegie said, "Talk in terms of the other
Writing effective web copy begins with a clear understanding
of the goals and objectives of your internet strategy.
- Are you trying to persuade the visitor to buy
- Are you trying to get them to sign up for your
-Perhaps you want them to join your organization or simply
learn more about your service so that they will call your
The common theme with all of these web strategies is that
you are trying to get someone you have never met and can't
see to take a step toward building a relationship with you
or your organization.
Typical website copy uses a great deal of prime real estate
telling the web audience how wonderful the organization is.
Imagine going to a party and meeting someone who talks
endlessly about himself. He talks about his job, his family,
How long will you stand there and listen before politely
Now imagine the party guest who seems more interested in
you- your family, your job, your interests. Wouldn't you
react more favorably? It's very similar on the Internet. It
is very tempting to write web copy that is focused on your
company. Your first thought is probably something like,
"I have to tell them who I am. They don't know anything
about me." In reality, they don't care! (At least not
in the first few seconds). Most web users are on a mission
to find as much information as quickly as possible about the
product or service they need because they want to make a
decision. If they find your page, they first thing they want
to know - even before bothering with anything else - is how
they will benefit from buying (subscribing, calling,
joining). You need to answer that question clearly and
concisely within seconds or you will lose that visitor
(maybe forever). If you can't cut through the selfish copy,
the clutter, the fancy graphics, and communicate the value
you offer that nobody else offers, they will go somewhere
else- and likely never come back.
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Here are 3 additional ideas to help with effective web
1. Create an effective Unique Selling Proposition (USP): A
USP is the statement (2-3 sentences at most) that explains
why you are different than everyone else. This is the unique
factor that sets you apart from your competition. Make this
the first thing your visitor sees.
2. Write about what you offer. Focus on benefits (not
features) and de-emphasize your organization. The website
visitor needs to understand the value in a relationship with
3. Use your copy to help steer your visitor down an intended
path. This can be accomplished by placing your "Point
of action" near benefits-related text, making it easier
for your visitors to take action at that moment.
Tom Neuman is a Senior Partner with Medium Blue Internet
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