Inspiring search engines with top class on-site SEO is one thing. Selling stuff to human visitors is another. And combining the two effectively is every online business’s holy grail.
What’s involved? There’s a a huge amount of practical stuff to think about. Everything from getting your unique sales proposition – or propositions – in order to including strong calls to action on your pages. But this article focuses on one of the most important and neglected key attributes of successful on-site copy: positive language.
It’s simple. People respond better to your products and services when you put across a wholly positive message. It sounds blindingly obvious. But it’s surprising how many ecommerce sites fall at the first hurdle.
Here’s some examples:
- Don’t offer things. We offer this, we offer that. It’s wishy washy. Instead of using ‘offer’ say ‘provide’, ‘give’ or ‘deliver’, all of which are miles more definite and confident.
- Don’t ‘aim’ to do things. ‘We aim to give the best service’ implies that while you’re trying your hardest, you’re only aiming. You haven’t got there yet. Say something like ‘We give the best service’ instead.
- Don’t have a mission statement. Or if you do, call it something more appropriate. Using ‘mission’ implies you’re on your way… but you haven’t arrived. ‘Our promise’ is better.
- Use ‘will’ in favour of ‘can’, which sounds weak and uncertain in comparison.
- Don’t waste time and space explaining what you can’t do. Express the things you can do.
- Avoid small print and caveats. They’re almost always negative and when you add too many asterisks and footnotes, you just look dodgy, as though you’ve got things to hide. Weave them into your copy instead, transforming each caveat or piece of small print into a positive statement. If you can’t change your caveats into positive messages, take it as a clear sign your selling proposition isn’t good enough and think again.
- Don’t settle for legal gobbledegook. Plain language terms and conditions are a legal requirement in the UK. You might as well turn yours into something wonderfully positive that’ll do its bit to enhance sales conversion. Most boilerplate T&C templates are horrible. If a customer in dispute claims they can’t understand your T&C easily, you will have very little – if any – legal recourse. So keep it simple.
- Blow your own trumpet! Too many business owners feel sheepish about telling the world how great they are. But you need to sound confident, 100% sure of the value and quality of your dishwashers, tumble dryers, business support services or whatever you provide. If you don’t, it’ll show. English is an incredibly complex, subtle language and as such, unless you use words really carefully and consciously, they can easily give your inner fears away. If you’re not confident, why should a punter trust you? There’s no need to be obnoxious or show off. Just provide a feeling of calm assurance.
There’s more. But this gives you a good idea of what’s involved in creating winning, positive copy that pulls a nice profit and gives your business a decent bang for its buck. Give it a go if you like – copy and paste a paragraph from your site and see if you can make the message it contains more positive and confident. If you’re in any doubt over your writing talents, now’s probably the best time to find yourself a freelance copywriter or creative agency to do a proper job.