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COPY SELLS, FLASH DOESN'T: Develop Your Website Content for Maximum Visitor
What do users want?
Before every site launch and redesign, marketing and IT departments agonize
over this question. Should the website be graphics-heavy and light on text? Do
prospects want rich media enhancements (like Flash) and will they buy more if
these are used? What steps should be taken to guarantee the best site
Results from recent media study offer interesting results:
20% of respondents would visit a site more often if it had rich media
40% of respondents would visit a site more often if the pages would load
59% of retail shoppers wanted more product information (in other words,
they are screaming that they are not getting the information they need from the
sites they visit. This sentiment only results in lost sales opportunities for
the site owner).
What happened to the bells and whistles?
Search engines can't index Flash presentations
The major players on the internet don't use Flash intros (Amazon, Wal-Mart,
etc.). So why should you?
Your prospects want product or service information and knowledge, not
whirling and slow loading graphics. If your site provides only sketchy product
information in an attempt to "get people to contact you for more information,"
you are forcing your users to take another step before they can buy from you.
When it comes to conversion rates, why tempt fate and make things more difficult
for your buyers?
Super cool stuff doesn't answer questions:
Think about this concept in real life: Let's say you're visiting a retail
store. The store is the latest in hip, with flashing lights and rock videos
pounding from every corner. You see a product, love it, but have a few questions
about it. You wait for a sales person … and wait … and wait … and still your
questions aren't answered. Would you continue waiting just because the store was
cool? Would you buy the product anyway, and figure your questions weren't
important? No. Chances are you would leave the super-hip store without spending
a dime, figuring you can find your product somewhere else.
How to avoid the "Super
Cool Store" syndrome:
Give your visitors what they want. The reason people visit a product or
service web site is because they want information. They may want detailed
product information, where the more they know about the product the more they
are willing to buy. Or, they may want precise information about your services
before they contact you. The easier you can make it for your prospects to buy
from you, the less chance they will surf to your competitors. Detailed product
descriptions are a powerful means of differentiation for retail sites and
require little incremental work.
Re-write your website copy with well researched keyword phrases in mind.
One of the prime advantages of having more content on a web page is you'll make
the search engines happy. Remember, the search engines love text - lots of it.
And they will happily spider content-rich pages. Instead of adding more content
without thought to the search engines, make all your textual content keyword
Keep your ego out of the way. Do you really care that your competitor
enjoys the latest bells and whistles on their web page? Why? Although their site
may look like visual nirvana, that doesn't mean that it's converting customers,
ranking well on the search engines or offering the information their prospects
need. In fact, a slow loading site will alienate prospects with a dial-up
connection (personally, I skip every Flash introduction I see, or immediately
surf away). Remember, you are designing your web site for your user's experience
--- not your own.
Make your website content fun to read:
Do you hate scrolling long web pages? You are not alone. Web viewers read
best when information is presented in short, discrete chunks of information. If
your prospects are wearing out their scroll mice every time they access your
site, do them a favor by learning how to package your information into
bite-sized chunks instead. In the internet's instant-gratification environment,
people want fast answers and easily understandable benefits. You have mere
seconds to wow your prospect and strut your cyber-stuff. If your writing is
dirt-dull, visually hard to read or confusing, your prospects will buy from your
competitor and that's the end result you desperately want to avoid.
Write to your target audience:
If you think your target audience is "any and all web surfers," you're in for
a shock. Tightly targeted text will increase your sales and clarify your
Give them what they want:
Are you telling your prospects what's in it for them, or are you droning on
about your state-of-the-art facility and your detailed manufacturing process?
What's in it for me? Prospective customers don't really care about you or your
company. They only care about how they can personally benefit using your product
or service. Tell them what they want to know. Describe in detail how their life
will improve when they buy your product or service. And why it's worth the
price. Advertising selfishness, which can be defined as telling ONLY "about us,
how good we are, what we do, how we do it, etc.", can kill your marketing
efforts. From websites to banner ads, email announcements to brochures, sales
letters, advertisements, etc., your marketing message should let your prospects
know that YOU ARE CONCERNED ONLY WITH WHAT THEY WANT!
Anything about you and your company should come last. The needs of your
visitors, clients, customers, patients, whatever you choose to call them, should
always come first. All online and offline marketing materials that you use
should focus on what the prospects want and need. Every sentence should show
that you understand their wants and needs.
In building content for your website, it is always better to make a basic
straight-forward sales presentation vs. letting your website become a
"billboard." Successful websites have discovered that they should be designed
like a sales presentation. A competent sales presentation correctly anticipates
the prospects wants and needs. Then those wants and needs are presented in a
logical manner which educates the prospect about how your product or service can
fulfill his/her wants and needs. Until your marketing efforts correctly focus on
the visiting prospects first, your marketing efforts will be severely
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