Know Where Your Customers Are In The Buying Process
When you begin to write copy for any product or service, there are a few things you have to take into consideration. The first is always your target audience: who you'll be writing to. Finding out about the needs and wants of the audience members, their communication styles, their lifestyles, and a multitude of other elements are "musts" before writing one word of copy.
But something most people neglect is giving due attention to the buying process as a whole and where your target audience is within their own process. Understanding this can, oftentimes, make or break the success of your copy.
When AEwebworks (an online, dating-site software developer) approached me about rewriting their website copy, it became immediately apparent that their copy could benefit from paying some due diligence to the buying processes of their customers.
My primary concerns with the copywriting on this site included the lack of synergy within the copy, the use of testimonials, the lack of focus on the target customer's buying process, and the inability for the copy to support the search engine goals of AEwebworks. In its present state, the copy contained few mentions of keyphrases.
You can view the old copy in PDF form at this link:
When I first read the copy, it felt as though I was being pitched to from all sides. The headline spoke to someone thinking of entering the online dating site industry. The body copy did not support that headline; rather it spoke to someone who had already made the decision to launch or improve a dating site.
The use of testimonials at the bottom of the home page posed a challenge for two reasons. The first was the sheer location. The design of the site was such that it appeared nothing fell "below the fold" (what was first seen when the home page loaded onto a browser). The second challenge was that many of the testimonials were from people asking questions or stating they were considering trying the dating software… not actual customers attesting to the benefits they'd personally experienced.
In addition, while the information included in the body copy was good, the information given on the home page needed to outline why AEwebworks was better than the competition. In its present state, it did not. That meant finding those aspects of buying dating software that were most important to the customer and highlighting them within the copy.
Lastly, I needed to focus the home page copy on only two or three keyphrases and increase keyword saturation for those phrases. This also meant creating a copy strategy that would allow me to use the keyphrases effectively without making the text sound stiff.
As always, I started the project by gaining a good understanding of who the target customers were, what they wanted, their fears, their likes, their dislikes, and anything else I could discover. After a good bit of research, and after reading the completed target audience analysis from AEwebworks, I felt I had a good understanding of those I would be writing to.
In order to combat the lack of synergy within the copy and the lack of focus on the target customer's buying process, I created a copywriting plan. From my research I found that installation, upgrade policies, and support were the three most common gripes buyers had about dating software. I decided to make overcoming those obstacles the focal point of the copy instead of the actual features and benefits.
That may sound like an odd choice, but that's where recognition of the buying process comes in. Considering that the majority of visitors to the site had already made the decision to launch a new site or had chosen to upgrade an existing site, they were already well versed in the features of dating-site software and their associated benefits. Yes… the benefits did need to be mentioned; however, other issues proved to be more pressing to this particular group of customers.
The use of testimonials on the home page was easily corrected by simply deleting the ones that did not directly apply to actual users of the software. I chose two for use within the copy and suggested that, as AEwebworks gets more testimonials, they create an entire page that visitors can read.
That left me with overcoming the inability of the current copy to support the search engine goals of the site. I suggested AEwebworks review their keyword choices to be sure they were targeting the ones most likely to bring in qualified customers. After a review, they provided me with a revised list to choose from.
I selected three keyphrases for each page in order to allow an adequate level of both keyword saturation and natural language. For the home page, the terms "dating software," "online dating software," and "dating script" were used.
After all the hoopla with Google, AEwebworks was in foul shape as far as search engine rankings were concerned. I had to pay particular attention to creating copy that impressed the search engines AND their site visitors in order to help them regain ground with their positioning and sales efforts.
The plan was in place. Now "all" I had to do was write the copy. In part two of this series, you'll get all the details on how I turned "OK" into "Wow!"
In part one of this article, I introduced a client of mine (AEwebworks) who suffered from some copywriting traumas. The basic diagnosis was a lack of synergy within the copy, ineffective use of testimonials, a lack of focus on the target customer's buying process, and the inability of the current copy to support the search engine goals of AEwebworks.
After doing some research, I created a plan of action for writing SEO copy that would impress the engines AND AEwebworks' visitors. You can view the original copy in PDF format here: http://www.copywritingcourse.com/AEWebWorks-Original.pdf.
After finding the revelation that most of those who were shopping for online dating software were already familiar with the features (and the associated benefits) of the software, I decided that focusing on those elements would simply make AEwebworks sound like every other developer of dating scripts. That would definitely not get the results I was looking for.
My probing uncovered that almost all dating software customers have three primary concerns: installation, upgrade policies, and support. It just so happened that AEwebworks had phenomenal offers for each of these.
The headline was changed from:
"Get into Internet dating business with reliable, effective and profitable online dating software"
"Customizable, Full Featured Dating Software Complete With Free Installation, Lifetime Upgrades & Outstanding Support"
The new headline highlighted three extremely valuable benefits to the visitor and also included one of the chosen keyphrases.
The body copy began by making an emotional connection with the customer. It recognized the frustration the customer faced when trying to choose between the different dating software programs and dating scripts.
The copy then continued to connect by stating the fact that AEwebworks developed their software with the help of their clients by listening to their complaints, needs, and wants. It also merged quickly into a section that offered firm, proven solutions to the dating site owners' most pressing problems.
As the customers continued to read, they found out about specific benefits of buying software from AEwebworks as opposed to other developers. And - of course - scattered throughout the page were links to the ordering section of the site.
In addition to the emotional connection and the problem solving aspects of the copy, it was also search engine optimized (SEO). You'll notice the subtle use of keyphrases throughout the copy. Enough to promote good search engine rankings, but not so much that the copy is "stiff" or "forced."
Every other word is *not* a keyword. The copy has a natural flow to it, but yet it is fully optimized to do its job where rankings are concerned.
You can view the current copy here: http://www.aewebworks.com.
I always find it best to let the client handle this part of the article. To quote, "I wanted to tell you the good news! It looks like our rankings are improving. We are back in Google and traffic has doubled. We have record high sales for the last two weeks... about 70% higher than our next best-selling two-week period ever!
"Overall, running our site got much easier after adding your copy because people ask fewer questions about where to find information... they are able to sort it out for themselves from the site copy. We previously had about 5-10 e-mails a day on average from prospective customers; now we get AT LEAST 15 A DAY! WOW!! So, in short, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GREAT WORK!"
They are now back in play on Google and also have exceptional rankings with other important engines like Yahoo, MSN, and AltaVista.
Another happy ending!
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About the Author
Copy not getting results? Learn to write SEO copy that impresses the engines and your visitors at http://www.copywritingcourse.com. Be sure to check out Karon's latest e-report "How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)" at http://www.copywritingcourse.com/keyword.
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