Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Why great copywriting wipes the smears off your shop windows

Would you go into a shop if there was a load of junk cluttering up the window?

What if the ‘speshul offer’ sign was spelled wrong?
Or what if there was nothing on display that looked remotely like something you wanted to buy?
Of course you wouldn’t.
And the shop owners would only have themselves to blame.
Customers need to be enticed in, they need to know exactly what delights are available inside, and they need to know they are dealing with professionals.
Yet for some reason, all that obvious stuff often gets forgotten with websites.
Online, the home page is your shop window. It’s how you tempt in passing trade, and how you reassure buyers that you mean business.
And the words you choose to put on there are absolutely crucial. Which is why you don’t want to have the web copy equivalent of whopping great smears across the glass.
Spelling mistakes and apostrophe catastrophes are bad enough, but even if it’s all grammatically correct, you can still be turning customers away.
And the quickest way to do this is by not calling a spade a spade. By calling it ‘a fully portable soil displacement utility’ instead.
Customers are not shopping for ‘innovative holistic solutions’, so if you put that on your home page, you’ve lost them.
Instead, describe your things the same way your customers describe things. Nobody ever types ‘bespoke visioning package’ into Google when they want something, so why describe your business like that?
Don’t tell customers you’ve got a productivity tool. Don’t tell them it’s an integrated portfolio of services. And definitely don’t tell them it’s state-of-the-art technology.
Just tell them what it actually is.
If it’s as good as you say it is, that’s all they need to know.

Jon Ryder of FullStopNewParagraph is a freelance copywriter who has spent the last 12 years crafting words for a living.
He has worked for the public, private and third sectors, both online and on paper. His clients include the NHS, government, and design agencies, as well as individuals who don’t have a big business to promote, but do have something important to say.
Today is the first of his guest posts for Mission Imbloggable.
See his site at:

1 comment:

  1. I couldnt agree more - great point about calling a spade a spade!

    Why do so many businesses spew out marketing waffle that just confuses or turns off prospective customers. Its lazy marketing. Your prospects need to know what the benefits of your product or service are - in simple plain English.

    One of my clients was talking to 3 Web suppliers but doesnt understand what they are talking about. Criminal. Ive now given her Art Division's details to go and talk some sense.


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