5 Simple Steps to Make Sites that Sell
5 Easy (Critical) Parts of Copy that Converts
So you want to make a website for your product or service. What should go on your landing page? How should you communicate with your customers? There are lots of answers to this question, but over about 15 years of building high conversion websites for customers, myself, and startups, I’ve learned that there are really just 5 things that a good landing page must have to have high conversion rates (here defined as above 5%).
Here they are:
This may seem strange, but when people land on your website, they actually don’t know what you are selling. You have to tell them. And you can’t leave anything to chance. After a few seconds on your site, people will be in one of three situations:
- They will be confused about what you are selling
- They won’t be sure what you are selling
- They will be certain of what you are selling
If it is either 1 or 2, you bet your bottom dollar they won’t be buying. You need to express with words, images, and videos, exactly what you are selling with total clarity. That way visitors will have certainty and have a chance to convert.
People like to have money, and they don’t like to part with it unless it will improve their lives. When you are writing the copy and designing the images, experience, and videos of a website you must communicate the value of your product or service. Value for most people boils down to three things:
- Make or save money
- Save time
- Achieve their goals/dreams
When you are writing copy, you must be crystal clear about the value that your product or service offers to the visitor. Can they make or save money using your automated accounting service? Will your new productivity app save them time? Will your new travel app make it possible for them to achieve their dreams of visiting Machu Picchu?
Nothing sells like success. A powerful, essentially necessary, part of good website copy is evidence that other people use and like this product or service. This is called “social proof”.
Social proof comes in many formats:
- “Seen in the news” section with articles
- 5-star reviews
- Written or video customer or client testimonials
- Thriving social media
- Testimonials or endorsements from leaders or famous people
If you don’t have any social proof, visitors to your site will get the creeping feeling that this is just someone in their basement, maybe even a scam. Add some social proof and presto-facto your product or service looks much more real and bona fide.
This one is really important but it is actually more about how people arrive at your site than what you put on it, per se.
“Context” in this… context… means “sell umbrellas in a rainstorm” — that means don’t try to sell diapers at a music festival. Make sure to construct your marketing funnel, and the channels you use, so that when people arrive at your site, they are the kind of people who want or need your product or service.
If you get a lot of eyeballs on your site, but no one is primed to need your product, don’t expect a very high conversion rate. This is one reason that having a press strategy for website visits can cause a lot of traffic with very little conversion. In contrast, a word of mouth, SEO, or influencer marketing strategies will lead to lower traffic, but higher conversion rates.
Last but not least, urgency. Visitors to your site might have context, see the value, understand with certainty what you are selling, and believe in your social proof, but then just sort of shrug and say “meh, maybe later.” Putting urgency into your website fixes this impulse to just wait till later.
Urgency means offering an exploding offer like “Sign up today for 10% off” or “On Sale Now”. You can also get people to give you their emails, raising the chance that you can get them to consider buying again later. Try offering them something in exchange for their email, e.g. “Provide your email to get this workbook”, “Have a free 15 min consultation”, etc.