25 Mar Don’t Let Word Choice Kill Your Sales Copy
When hiring managers browse through piles of resumes, most take mere seconds to determine whether an applicant will land the interview. In fact, if they take more than one minute to peruse lists of previous job titles, candidates should count themselves lucky. While it’s difficult to construct an impressive resume, it’s simple to distinguish between a “good” and a “bad” version.
Your sales copy is no different. Many people would have a hard time creating their own website, but they know an effective Home, About Us, or Services page when they see one. Hiring managers may have seen resumes for most of their professional life, but many customers can’t remember a time when they didn’t read websites. Clients intuit what makes your website work—and what makes your website fail.
They may not be able to identify these issues, but two things tend to drive customers to (or from) your sales copy: concision and specificity.
Concision: Say It Quickly, and Say It Simply
Famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne observed that “easy reading is [darn] hard writing.” That has never been truer than in online copy. It’s easy to create a complicated explanation for a complicated subject. But it is infinitely more useful for your online visitors to find simple, parsed-down explanations that give them a firm, fast understanding of your services. Tweet This
Use the standard “elevator pitch” as a guide. You may have seen elevator pitches in films, television shows, or even your own life. The interaction might go something like this: A young innovator premeditates a meeting in the elevator with one of the company’s bigwigs. Once the executive is cornered in the elevator, he has about one minute to pitch his big idea before she arrives at her floor.
This succinct explanation presents his idea in the fastest, most engaging way possible. If the executive does not understand the idea before the elevator door opens, it’s unlikely that she will pursue it—let alone give her employee that top-floor, corner-office that he wants.
Your online visitors are in that executive position. They need to understand your services quickly, and most will not sift through pages (or even multiple paragraphs) of information to find the answer. Within one or two minutes, they should be able to describe what you do. If they are still unsure after that short time frame, they may seek out another website.
Specificity: Show, Don’t Tell
The elevator pitch is a useful guideline for your sales copy, but you must implement it wisely. We all have our go-to buzzwords and phrases, both in our personal and professional lives. Take stock of these words and phrases to see if they are working as well as you think.
You do so much to make yourself stand out from the competition. Don’t allow your word choice to drag you back into obscurity.
The English language has countless word combinations. Use them to your advantage. Avoid phrases that you know 99% of your competition uses. Tweet This
Uniqueness will make your readers sit up and take notice, which is the first step in getting their business. Some of the most common offenders include:
- Low cost, high quality
- Hit the ground running
- State of the art
- We aren’t satisfied until you’re satisfied
- We go the extra mile
- We do (fill in the blank) so you don’t have to
- One-stop shop
- Think outside the box
Do any of these phrases sound familiar? Probably. Do they appear in your copy? Maybe. If they do, you haven’t done anything wrong. Most of your visitors will not find these offensive in any way. On the contrary, they expect to see them—and that’s the problem. Readers see these phrases so often that they have lost all meaning.
Replace clichés with specificity. If you have a cutting-edge office, don’t just tell your readers that. Show them. Give them information about your newest factory production methods or describe the latest software you developed to increase efficiency. These specific details help online visitors get a clear vision of your business and engenders original, appealing sales copy.
As you sidestep clichés, stay positive. Some clichés exist because they show your business’ superiority without sounding pompous. For example, “we go the extra mile” insinuates that competitors will not. To ensure you do not put your competition down when you write original sales copy, spotlight only what your company does. Readers can make their own judgment calls about whether you truly venture farther than other businesses.
The moral of the story?
Give your readers detailed information they can understand immediately. Original content may encourage online traffic and convert visitors into customers. Tweet This