6 copywriting steps to winning over the online doubters 23 July 2012

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According to this article in Time magazine, just 2% of Americans trust what they read on the internet.

While a little healthy cynicism is surely a good thing, this survey (if you trust it, of course) does provide some interesting brain food when it comes to your online copywriting approach for your business. Before focusing on drawing in web traffic with SEO copywriting and other approaches, it’s essential to ensure that your website builds desire rather than doubt.

An unavoidable irony
The irony is that use of the internet is on the rise. Most businesses recognise the value of an online presence in building brand and sales, even though, as a survey from last year showed, many businesses are embarrassed by their online presence. So how can an effective copywriting strategy help to overcome internet insecurity?

6 ways to win over the doubters

1. Bring punctuation oversights to a full stop

There’s the selling, the branding, the layout…no wonder poor old punctuation sometimes gets left out of the online copywriting mix. Yet it has been suggested that people actively mistrust content from businesses when it comes with grammatical errors and punctuation problems. Don’t put your web visitors off at the first hurdle.

2. Build a unique voice

To some people, indifference is worse than mistrust. Either way, see off the potential doubt created by a generic voice. You can do this by developing a copywriting approach which gives you a consistent and unique online voice. This is the content style which will match your brand and stay consistent across your main web pages and your blog pages.

3. Don’t let updates create a message mismatch

We all know that the beauty of the internet is that it isn’t fixed. Your website has the potential to evolve and grow, just as your business does. Yet a common danger with this (and one that I see regularly) is that the updates are done by different people at different times. This can leave both your online message and voice a little inconsistent. An effective online copywriting strategy should allow you to keep track of updates to maintain a clear, strong message.

4. Think their needs, not your sale

No matter how great your accomplishments, the big boast can often end up inspiring mistrust rather than interest. So your copywriting approach needs to focus not on listing your company’s achievements, but on persistently and compellingly illustrating what you can do for the customer.

5. Make it easy to use

It’s been proven that when a site is easy to use and simple to understand, web visitors are more likely to stick around. Assess how your site structure fits with your content. Then check whether they create a clear, straightforward flow to give your customer an easy route to getting to know you and your products or services.

6. Grow your credibility

What’s a great way to build trust in your online message? Demonstrate what you’re telling your visitors. Show them examples and case studies. Share your good news (keeping it relevant to them, of course). Also think about how you can link your main website to other content which boosts your credibility, whether this is an industry website profile, your LinkedIn profile or other relevant resources.

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, July 2012

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