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Unless you’re one of those rare individuals who has plenty of time, loves to write, and excels in written communication, you should hire a copywriter for your website. You expect people to choose your organization over the competition because of your expertise—so, you should do the same when it comes to copywriting.
Many of our clients choose to write their own website copy at first, mostly because hiring someone from “the outside” to communicate what the company stands for seems like it just won’t work. After all, who knows the business better than you, right? (Well, sort of.) Clients choose to write their own copy because, they say:
• We know our business best
• Writing our own copy will save us time and money
• We can just copy/paste text from our existing marketing material
I’ll concede the first point—you are the expert—but knowing your business does not always mean you can effectively write about it. As far as saving time and money, or copying from other material, consider the following:
You really don’t have the time
I’m guessing you generally aren’t sitting at your desk wondering what to do next. Your time is spoken for, and finding hours to write compelling copy for your website just doesn’t fit into the schedule (and it likely doesn’t fall ino your area of expertise, either). Your time should be devoted to doing what you do best, and letting an expert at copywriting handle your marketing text.
Writing is a skill that takes practice and effort. Professional copywriters devote the time to keep up with marketing trends, and understand how to craft a message to achieve your goals. Just as you’ve worked hard to become skilled in your field, the writer has done the same.
You also can’t escape the daily demands of your job, so writing is likely to get put off or done haphazardly. Crafting effective text for your site is the copywriter’s priority.
You’re too close to your business
You may know your product or service better than anyone else, but you’re probably too close to effectively communicate your advantages. Many times, it takes an outside eye to filter through the layers of information in a business and tease out key selling points.
For example, we’ll often have a manufacturer tell us their advantages over competitors include quality products, fast deliveries, and economical pricing. It’s unlikely your competitor is countering those arguments with a statement like, “Our products aren’t very good, you’ll wait weeks to receive the order, and we’re overpriced!”
Simply saying you have a quality product or service isn’t enough.
The web makes it easy for people to research products and services. You should assume the visitor has or will look at competitive sites. Effective copy can differentiate you from the competition, and convince visitors to choose your organization.
Revealing the proper message is a craft
A good copywriter offers an outside perspective. The writer will look at your product or service with no prior knowledge, and will develop copy based on the buyer’s perspective.
Clients tend to write headlines like this:
Welcome to the online home of Acme, an industry-leading solutions provider for 30 years.
The copywriter might come up with something like this instead:
Acme high-speed widgets cut production costs 50%.
The copywriter’s headline is short and focused—it tells you what Acme makes, and the clear benefit to the website visitor. It also demonstrates knowing what the audience wants.
Still think copy/pasting text from your flyers and other marketing materials is a good idea? Printed material often serves a different or more limited purpose than a website. Your printed message may not accomplish your online goals, and it’s better to craft a message for online media, and offer the printed materials as supporting information that can be downloaded as PDFs.
Getting to the point takes skill
Ever heard the saying, “I asked you what time it was, not how to build a watch?”
Let’s face it: You’re so immersed in your business—you know every detail—that filtering out unnecessary information is a real challenge. “Insiders” tend to get verbose, and assume the website visitor shares their own fascination with the subject matter. Most visitors simply want to land on your site and find the product and service they need.
And, keep in mind, we live in a social media world where messages are often conveyed in 140 character bursts. Upon arriving on your website, visitors skim the page in seconds, and are unlikely to read every word you labored to write. What takes the insider three paragraphs can probably be distilled into three lines by a skilled copywriter.
Connecting with your audience
Insiders also tend to use industry jargon or vague offers of “solutions” (see our “Solutions Solve Nothing in Marketing” article).
A copywriter can translate internal jargon into compelling benefits to help convert website visitors into customers.
What is the cost?
Copywriting doesn’t need to be expensive, and should be considered an investment. Sure, you’ll pay a few dollars up front, but what is the cost of time away from your primary job responsibilities, and the hidden cost of visitors who bail on your website in the first 10 seconds because they didn’t see a compelling message?
Compelling copy can increase your profit
Effective copywriting helps drive sales and help convert website visitors into customers. It doesn’t matter if your website enjoys high traffic if it fails to improve your bottom line.
The professional copywriter can craft focused messages in words that appeal to your audience, and make them more likely to contact you or click the “Buy Now” button.