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How to Improve your Website Conversion Rate

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Read the preceding article about Website Success Metrics

Conversion Rate is the first website success metric that you should look to improve. Why? If your conversion rate is poor then you can burn an awful lot of money on website promotion and advertising without seeing any result.

Improving conversion rates can be an extremely tricky task. There are so many factors that can influence conversion. This is where you could really do with the help from your E-Business Consultant They will be able to analyse your website, determine its weaknesses and provide you with some great strategies for improving your conversion rate.

There are a huge number of things that influence the conversion rate of a website. Let’s take a look at a few of the basics.

 

Customer Need


You need to know, without a doubt, what your customer’s need, problem or goal is. Everything about your website and the things that you are selling on your website should be focused on those needs, problems or goals.
Your understanding here will often directly affect the…

 

Strength of your Product(s) or Service(s)


The strength of your product or service forms the foundation for your entire website.

How good is your product or service (especially compared to your competition), and do lots of people want it or need it? Think about this honestly. If the answer is no– then this can be one of the biggest negatives on your conversion rate.

Think long and hard how you can strengthen your product or service? How can you differentiate it from your competition? How can you make it deliver more of what your target customer wants or needs? Often, an in-depth analysis of your target customers’ problems, goals or needs will give you a good insight into what they want. Then you just need to give them more of it!

Consider running a survey. We know that it can take a lot of time and effort but surveys can give you a real ‘grass-roots’ look at what your customer truly wants. Never second-guess what you customers really want as it is so easy to get it wrong. Let us share a little story about this with you…

In the early days of Zeald we were struggling to really sell our website solution. As one of our ‘marketing strategies’, we decided to set up a stand at a local business expo (North Shore Business Expo).

For our stand, we decided to run a simple survey. To record the results from our survey, we built a massive bar graph on the back wall, with results added every time someone completed our survey.

We asked just one question- “Why do businesses go online?”

We then provided five possible answers, which respondents could select from:
 

  • increased business opportunity
  • increased customer loyalty
  • improved business efficiency
  • cost savings
  • increased competitive advantage.


We got each of the respondents to put a number beside each of the answers between1 to 5 to indicate whether the answer was an important reason for them to start doing business online (with 1 being ‘most important’ and 5 being ‘least important’. Every person who completed our survey went into a draw for a free website from Zeald.

Guess what we found? - The majority of people put a ‘1’ beside ‘Increased business opportunity’.

What did this teach us? - Our target customers were interested, more than anything else, in extra business. They wanted results! They wanted sales, enquiries or leads! They wanted a website that wins business!

What an incredibly powerful result! From this point onward we changed everything about our company. Everything about our product and our service became focused on delivering results for our customers. Our whole solution became 100 times better because of this one simple survey. It helped us to truly understand our customer needs, problems and goals.

We also developed software that makes it easier to conduct a survey- the Zeald Email Marketing tool, which plugs into your ZES solution. It allows you to email your entire customer database and run a survey. It then collates all the results for you and presents them as a report. You can’t get any easier than that!

Talk to your E-Business Consultant to find out about the Zeald Email Marketing tool. With an automated tool like this, it is worthwhile running surveys on regular basis just to keep in touch with changes in your customers’ thinking or preferences.

For great conversion you need…

Great product(s) or service(s) that fulfill your ‘target customer’s’ needs, problems or goals.

 

Trust and Credibility


Do you remember the six steps to visitor conversion? Here they are again:
 

  1. Do I trust you?
  2. Do I believe you?
  3. Do you understand my needs?
  4. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
  5. What do you want from me?
  6. Is it worth it?


Before anyone will buy from you they need to trust you and believe that what you are saying is true. If you can’t guide your visitor through these first two steps then you have no hope of getting your visitor to enquire about or buy your product or service.

Think about when you buy from an organisation or off someone– you will go through the same process; you will not buy unless you trust them, and you believe that what they are telling you is true.


So how do you do this on a website?

Well – it’s not easy, but there’s a whole bunch of things that will help your website build trust and credibility with your visitor. Let’s go through some of the most important ones below:

 

  • Fast-loading website
    Your website needs to load fast. Studies have shown that if visitors have to wait for more than 8-10 seconds for a page to load then you run a serious risk of losing them.
     
    Your website should work and have the appearance of a smooth, powerful, and well-oiled machine. People should be thinking, “what a great website!”
     
    As a rule of thumb, every single one of your web pages should load in 8 seconds or less, on a 56k modem. See our e-book– “The Website Health Check” to learn about running tests to check the speed of your web pages.

 

  • User-friendly layout & clear navigation
    Your website needs to be user-friendly. Everything needs to be as simple and as obvious as possible. Your website should provide your visitors with all the common things that you expect to find on most websites. When laying out the information and common components on a website the goal is not to be unique and quirky– this will just confuse your visitors.
     
    “But, what about personality? Surely we don’t want our website to be bland and just like every other website?”
     
    Convey your personality using your branding, photographs and content (words and text). Don’t try to “play around” with the structure and layout of the website unless you are prepared to sacrifice your conversion.
     
  • Professional website design
    Your website should look professional. It should look good. It should be pleasing to the eye.
     
    If it looks cheap then this will destroy trust immediately. Always use a graphic designer experienced in the design of websites to design your website. Don’t try and do it yourself and don’t get your cousins son to do it.
     
    Think about the physical world. First impressions are so important. It is exactly the same on the web. You want to convey a professional and trustworthy image.
     
    The web is littered with business websites that look shocking. Often these businesses have a great physical business with very strong branding yet for some reason they decided to “skimp” with their website. These sites are obviously produced by the owner, the cousin’s son or a cheap and nasty website company. And then you hear their complaints– “Oh our website is a complete waste of time– it doesn’t produce any results.” Would you feel comfortable giving your credit card details or confidential information to a website that looks cheap and nasty? Certainly not, we’re sure!

 

  • Testimonials
    Testimonials are great for establishing trust and credibility. The more the merrier! Keep your testimonials in their original form– don’t fix grammatical errors. Provide contact details for the people giving the testimonial. Often it is a great idea to feature a testimonial in the right-hand side of your home page. Whatever you do– NEVER fake a testimonial– you will destroy your credibility!

 

  • Case studies
    Case studies are an in-depth study of the success a customer had as an “experience” with your business. They will often go through the complete client experience with your organization, from start to finish. Case studies are awesome trust and credibility builders and are even more powerful than a testimonial. And they are especially suited to complex products and solutions.

 

  • Awards & certifications
    Has your business won an award or achieved some sort of certification? These elements can be fantastic for building trust and credibility. Try to choose awards or certifications that will mean something to your target customer.

 

  • Partners
    Associating yourself with a well-respected partner or affiliate is a great way of building something called “borrowed credibility”. You are effectively ‘tapping into’ the credibility of your partner. People will think– “If they are partnered with them then they must be credible”.
     
    Be careful though– the same can happen in reverse. If your partner has a bad reputation in your industry or region then it could by nature of association, provide you with negative credibility.

 

  • References or client list
    Providing a list of ‘clients that a visitor is welcome to call’ is a powerful trust-builder. Providing an open invitation to call one of your customers for a personal reference is a big plus, as your serious prospects can speak with your customer at length about their experiences with your organisation. And you’re not there to colour their view.

 

  • Guarantee
    A guarantee is one of the strongest trust and credibility building elements that you can possibly have. If at all possible, make your guarantee big, bold and even a little brash! Many organisations have reported that the stronger they made their guarantee the fewer claims they received against it. And the increased sales or enquiries resulting from a stronger guarantee (or the increase in conversion rate) far outweighed the one or two extra claims that they received.
     
    A strong guarantee shows that you have a 100% belief in your product(s) or service(s). And remember, worst case scenario– you can always tone it down, or remove it at a later date, if you wish.

 

  • Terms & conditions
    Many websites don’t display a ‘Terms & Conditions’ (T&C’s) or a ‘Terms of Trade’. Just by displaying a set of T&C’s you will increase your website’s credibility.
     
    This is vital if you are building an ecommerce website. Any professional and serious ecommerce website will display their T&C’s. Make sure your T&C’s are written in plain English and are as simple as possible.

 

  • Privacy policy
    Same things apply to ‘Privacy Policies’ as to ‘Terms & Conditions’. With the huge increase in SPAM and many other invasions of the individual’s privacy, a clear, ‘no ifs or buts’ privacy policy is mandatory for any website.

 

  • Security policy
    Security policies outline the security measures that are in place to ensure the security of all personal information stored by you. Your security policy should outline, in plain English, the ‘industry standard’ levels of security that are employed throughout your website.

 

  • Evidence of a physical presence
    This one is a biggie. Websites can be very impersonal so the more you can demonstrate that there is a real business with real people behind the website the better. Use photos of your business and staff. Your visitor will feel a whole lot more comfortable knowing that your business doesn’t have the potential to just vanish into cyberspace.

 

  • Website copy
    The number one thing that a visitor will do when they come to your website is read. Good website copy will, in the early stages, focus on building trust and credibility with them. If your website copy does not do this then read through the ‘Load’ module of the E-business Bible and rework your text to ensure it builds a high degree of trust and credibility with your targets.
     
  • Professionalism
    The ‘all round professionalism’ of your website will have a huge impact on the degree of comfort that your online visitor feels when dealing with you online. Look at your website from a holistic point of view– does it have a professional look and feel to it? Would you feel safe using it?

 
 

Sales Copy


Let’s say you have established a strong base of trust and excellent credibility on your website. And you have great product(s) or service(s) that you’re targeting directly at your target customers’ needs. Is there anything else that can affect your conversion rates?

You bet!

Don’t forget the six steps to visitor conversion:

  1. Do I trust you?
  2. Do I believe you?
  3. Do you understand my needs?
  4. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
  5. What do you want from me?
  6. Is it worth it?

 
We have only dealt with the first two steps. What about the final four steps?

Your sales copy will influence your conversion rate just about more than any other factor. The number one thing that every visitor does is read.

Good sales copy is absolutely vital.  It can really pay to have an objective and constructive review of your sales copy from an online professional.

Make sure you ‘study’ the articles on Loading your website. They provide a clear step-by-step guide to drafting great website sales copy. If you are not good at writing– definitely get some help from a professional. You’ll be amazed by what even a phone interview with a writer can do to help your sales copy shine.


In this article we have gone over the basic ‘influencing factors’ in a website’s conversion rate.

Conversion rates are a complex subject and depend on many different factors. Talk with your Zeald E-Business Consultant anytime for an in-depth analysis of your conversion rate.

Topics: Persuasion
 

The Importance of Including 'About Us', Testimonials and Policies

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

About us


The ‘About us’ page of your website should be personlised as much as possible – include pictures of the team and your premises. A website can be a very impersonal medium – use any opportunity you get to put real persona into it. Write about the company, its vision, its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and its management.

 

Testimonials


Testimonials should be preserved in their original, unaltered form. Correct any spelling mistakes, sure, but do not fix-up grammatical errors. Include as much information about the customer as possible – Name, Title, Company’s name, Company website address. Always try to include a photo of the person giving the testimonial, or the company’s premises (remember what we said about personalisation). 


Be careful if you include the email address of the person giving the testimonial. If you really want to include your customer’s email address, make sure the text is loaded as an image to prevent Internet ‘spambots’ from harvesting their email address and adding it to ‘spam’ databases.

 
Policies


There are a number of standard policies on a website – privacy policy, terms and conditions, and a security policy. Make sure these policies are written in plain English and are understandable by your target customer.

Topics: Persuasion
 

The Importance of Having an Effective Home Page on Your Website

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

The home page is the most important page of a website. It is the one page that all your visitors will view. A poor home page can destroy any chance of achieving your website objectives within a few seconds. A good home page is the blueprint for every successful website. Your homepage should set-up the key elements necessary to close a sale, or generate an enquiry (depending on what your primary and secondary objectives are).


If your website is focused on a single product/service, then launch straight into your main sales copy on the home page. Whereas, if your website contains a number of products or services, then you need to write some copy for your home page that encourages your visitors to click into your products or services pages.


Before we get started on this let’s review once again the steps to visitor conversion.


The Six Steps to Visitor Conversion:

 

  1. Do I trust you?
  2. Do I believe you?
  3. Do you understand my needs?
  4. What’s in it for me?
  5. What do you want from me?
  6. Is it worth it?


Whenever you structure a home page for a website that has multiple products or services you need to be aware of the following key items…

 

Establish Your Trust & Credibility


Establish your trust and credibility using the highlight section of the screen (the right-hand column)– Review this if you don't know what it is.


Key items for establishing trust are:

 

  • Testimonials
  • References
  • Partners & Affiliates (borrowed credibility)
  • Guarantees
  • Awards
  • Case Studies
  • Evidence of a physical presence
  • Privacy and other legal policies
  • Professional design and error-free content (more credibility).


Pick one or two items and feature them in the right-hand column.

 

Have a Great Headline


Write a great headline that grabs the visitor and draws them into your site. On multiple products or services sites we have found that headlines that focus on the USP are best. Hit them right up-front with the biggest and best benefit that you have – your USP!


You may also want to include an opening hook to support your headline and to ensure that you have really ‘hooked’ the visitor into your site. The same principles for headlines and opening hooks apply here as with long sales copy.

 

Sharp Specials!


Use your home page to hit your visitors between the eyes with a sharp special. Include up-to two more really sharp specials, should that be appropriate. Remember, the first order is always the hardest, and ditto with the first item in the shopping cart. If you can get one of your really sharp specials into the shopping cart then chances are the same customer will buy a number of other products (especially if you have strong cross-sells and up-sells).


Don’t forget to write the copy for your products or services that are ‘on special’. This is one of the most overlooked ‘basics’ with a website that features multiple products or services. There will be more on this in the next two sections.

Topics: Persuasion
 

Example Long Sales Copy

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

See the Preparation for this Long Sales Copy

[Element #1 - Headline Start]

STOP! Is Your Website Delivering Amazing RESULTS?

[Element #1 - Headline End]

 

[Element #2 - Opening Hook Start]

Many websites are a complete waste of time and money because they don’t deliver results! BUT if you have a good product or service, it is possible to produce a website that generates excellent results; a website that sells!

[Element #2 - Opening Hook End]

 

[Element #4 - Introduction Start]

Hello, my name is David Kelly, and I lead the team at Zeald. Websites are amazing things! Whenever I think about the characteristics of a website, and the potential that it can offer any business on the planet, I continue to be amazed.


In our first four years in business we strived to develop really good websites for our customers– websites that sell! And we had some fabulous success stories. But, unfortunately almost 70% of our customers were only achieving mediocre results. After many months of ‘head-scratching’, we decided that the only way to find out why this was happening was to become one of our customers ourselves.

 

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The Undercover Operation

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So I approached a number of our newest customers and offered to manage every single aspect of their website. I offered to do absolutely everything – plan it, oversee the design and build of it, load it with the appropriate information, launch it on the Internet, and then manage every ongoing aspect of it.


It was one of the most interesting and fulfilling experiences of my life. Six months of hard work showed me, among other things, one undeniable fact:

In order to sell successfully using a website, you need far more than just a great website!


There are a number of other ‘key factors’ to consider…

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So what makes a Website successful?

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From my experience with our customers, the following makes a website successful:

  • A great vision and clear website objectives
  • A clear website plan for achieving the objectives
  • A fast clean website that fits in with the brand
  • Compelling sales copy and supporting website content
  • Tools for tracking, measuring and improving the website’s performance
  • A steady stream of visitors to the website.


In our success stories, all of these ‘key factors’ were in place. Either, the business had the people internally who had the know-how to deliver these factors, or the business had paid-professionals to deliver them. But the problem was, most of our customers were small businesses with neither the know-how nor the funding to deliver all the missing keys to success!


One thing’s for sure, we were not about to change our company focus or approach, and start producing websites for bigger companies, just to get past this obstacle. But, we knew that we needed to change something if we wanted to see more of our clients succeed. If we wanted a higher rate of successful clients we needed to start offering the missing parts. We needed a program for website success …

 

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Websites that Work! ™

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So we created “Websites that Work” (WTW), a program for ensuring website success! It’s the culmination of four years of experience and nine months of hard work! Four years of learning everything we could about the missing factors, and nine months of testing and measuring everything that we had learnt and dropping anything that wasn’t working. The WTW program is a complete system for achieving a website that delivers real business results.

 

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Program Outline

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The WTW program is a unique seven-step process to achieving website success. But, before we have a look at the different steps within the process let me introduce you to the E-business Bible!


One of the most crucial parts of any program, are the materials provided as part of that program. As part of the WTW program you will be provided with a boxed E-business Bible. The E-business Bible is a set of modules that outline the key things that you need to do and understand in order to produce a successful website. The modules are – Plan, Design, Build, Train, Load, Go-Live, and Promote & Tune.


So, let’s take a look at the WTW program in detail.

 

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1.Plan

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The first step in the WTW program is the ‘Plan’ step. The ‘Plan’ step is one of the most vital steps in the whole WTW process. It involves building a complete plan for your website with the help and advice from a trained Zeald Internet consultant. Your Internet consultant will provide you with advice and guidance to ensure that all critical issues are covered and the plan that is produced forms a solid foundation for your new website.


Areas covered include website vision, website objectives, unique sales proposition (USP), competition analysis, targeted results and calculated return on investment, the domain name, website usability, homepage design & layout, establishing trust and credibility, site map, internal page structure, delivery & payment processing, website promotion and traffic generation, and so on.

 

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2.Design

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Now comes the time to produce a design for your website. Our design team will investigate all your current branding - logos, brochures, letterheads, packaging and store signage (if relevant), along with any comments you may have about how you would like your online branding to look. The design team will then design a complete look and feel for your website, using our internal website framework that fits perfectly into your brand and models it correctly in the ‘cyberspace’ world. These designs will be presented to you for approval before moving on to the next step.

 

 

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3.Build

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The next step is to build your new website. The designs for the new website will be handed over to our development team and the new website will be built on top of a software application called the Zeald E-business Suite (ZES). ZES is a piece of software that helps you manage every single aspect of your website– the content, the orders/enquiries that your receive, your customers, the promotions and the ongoing day-to-day performance of your website.

Once the website has been built it will be extensively tested and then certified by our engineers for release.

 

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4.Train

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Now you need to learn exactly how to use the ZES software to manage every aspect of your new website. But don’t worry – that is what this ‘Train’ step is for. In the ‘Train’ step you will be trained in every aspect of your website– how to load and manage content, how to receive and process orders or enquiries, how to collect customer information, how to merchandise and run promotions and how to measure and monitor your website performance on a monthly basis.

 

 

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5.Load

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Content loading time! Now comes the time to load your website with content. This is one of the most important steps of the whole WTW process.

You will be introduced, as part of your training, to the different parts of your website that you will need to load. You will also be taught how to write sales content that sells! If you are too busy to write content or proof-read the content then don’t worry! We can put you in touch with expert content writers who can do it all for you, or hand-hold you through whatever stage you need assistance with.

 

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6.Go-Live

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Now your website is ready to be launched live on the Internet! Let the excitement begin!

 

So there you have it – the six steps of the WTW program and that is where most website companies will stop! However, there is one last crucial step; an ongoing step that never ends!


One of the most crucial (and so-often missing) steps that I found when running my undercover operation as a Zeald customer, was the final step…

 

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7.Promote & Tune

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Your website is now live on the Internet! But how will anyone find it? How will anyone know that it is there? How can you attract targeted visitors, who are interested in your products and services, to your website? Enter the ‘Promote & Tune’ step!

The first part of the step ‘Promote’ is aimed at launching initiatives designed to attract targeted visitors to your website. Whether it is search engine optimization, advertising, email promotions, existing company promotion or some other form of website traffic generation– ‘Promote’ is one of the most crucial steps to your website’s success. ‘Promote’ implements the initiatives that were decided way back in the ‘Plan’ step of the process (remember how I told you the ‘Plan’ step was so important?).

The second part of the step is ‘Tune’. The ‘Tune’ step can be summed-up in three simple words – ‘Measure’, ‘Test’ and ‘Tweak’! The ‘Tune’ step is about ensuring that your website is converting as many website visitors into enquiries or sales as it possibly can.


The ‘Promote & Tune’ step is an ongoing step that never ends. Just as you would never stop promoting and working on your business, you should never stop promoting and tuning your website.

But, both website promotion and tuning can be tricky business and you need to know what you are doing.


At this point I think it is a good idea to talk a little bit more about the Zeald philosophy.


Most companies who specialise in website design, build their customers a website and send them on their merry way; wishing them all the best.

We do not believe in this approach!

Once your website has been launched the fun and games have only just begun. There is still work to be done! And it is not fair to run off and leave you to face the world alone with your new website!


In fact, most of our customers have told us that they just wish they had someone who knew what they were talking about, right by their side, that they could talk to whenever they needed some advice…

 

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The E-business Hotline

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The E-business Hotline is one of the most crucial and unique aspects to the WTW program– every month you have ongoing access to the E-business Hotline!

The E-business Hotline is your 9am – 5pm, Monday-Friday access to a Zeald Internet consultant for all those tricky website promotion and tuning concerns. You can work with your Internet consultant to ensure that you are getting enough visitors to your website and that those visitors are buying products or services, or making enquiries. And most importantly, you can work with your Internet consultant to ensure that you are receiving a return on the money and time that you have invested in your website!

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So What Does The ‘Websites that Work’ Program Deliver In A Nutshell?

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You get:

 

  • A reference manual containing all the know-how and ‘hot tips’ that you need in order to set-up and run an effective online selling machine
  • An Internet consultant to guide you through the critical issues essential to the success of your website
  • A website system that provides all the necessary components for you to successfully run and manage your website, such as:

    - the ability to manage your website content yourself

    - the ability to track and process all your orders or enquiries

    - the ability to capture relevant customer information

    - the ability to get clear and concise reports on the performance of your website.

 

  • Ongoing access to a website specialist who can advise you on all areas of your website’s performance
  • And most of all – a website that works!
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So how much do you think it would cost to purchase an excellent program for your website’s success? $10,000? $20,000? Maybe even $35,000?

Well the great news is this…


The “Websites that Work!”™ program costs only $4,997 + GST!!… plus an ongoing monthly fee of $97 + GST. Your ongoing fee is for the hosting of your website, five email addresses, and access to the E-business Hotline.

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Your Free Bonuses!!

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Register your interest in the “Websites that Work!” program today and I will throw-in two FREE e-books that will be emailed to you immediately (click here now to register!):

 

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  • Secrets of Website Success (Usually $29.95)

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The success of a website is usually measured by how many sales or enquiries are made through the website. What most people don’t know is that there are three key ‘success metrics’ that determine the success of every website. Learn what the three ‘success metrics’ are and how to improve each of these to establish a website that is on a fast-track path to success!

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The Website Health Check (Usually $29.95)

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Are you interested in learning how your current website measures-up? This report will show you how to check on the ‘health’ of your current website. It will show you how to answer questions like:

- How long does my website take to load on a 56K modem?

- Is my website registered in the search engines?

- Has my website been built so that search engines can read it?

- Does my website follow clear website usability guidelines?

- Does my website have clear primary and secondary objectives?

- Has my website got the required legal policies?

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FREE One-Hour Consultation at your place! COMPLETELY RISK-FREE!

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Register today for a FREE one-hour consultation with a Zeald Internet consultant (available in Auckland, New Zealand only; phone-based consultations available everywhere else). Discuss your business, its products and services, and their potential to be promoted and sold online using your website.

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Click here to register now for this FREE offer!

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Thank you for taking the time to learn about “Websites that Work!”

We look forward to being of further assistance! If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me, or one of my team, on +64 9 415 7575 or info@zeald.com.

 


All the best with your future endeavors!

David Kelly

CEO – Zeald

http://www.zeald.com

 

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P.S. If you got buried in the detail of the “Websites that Work!” program, and then jumped straight to the bottom of the page, click here to register your interest in the “Websites that Work” program and collect your two FREE e-books– “Secrets of Website Success” and “The Website Health Check”. Click here now!

[Element #10 – The P.S. End]
Topics: Persuasion
 

Example Preparation for Writing Long Sales Copy

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Preparation – Target Customer

 

  1. 35 -65 years old
  2. Small or medium business owner, or manager (male or female).
  3. Usually work within the business, in operations or business development areas.
  4. Huge variance in annual incomes (between $30,000 and $200,000 p/a).
  5. Have very little recreation time (usually very busy, i.e., time-poor).
  6. Are very much results-focused!
  7. Generally have a “Type-A” personality.
  8. Are intrigued by the Internet, but are very likely to have been ‘burnt’ or ripped-off by a previous website company.
  9. Not convinced a website could/would generate significant extra business.
  10. Has a website that is producing no (or very few) results!
  11. Their approach/image has changed since they originally went online.
  12. Are budget-conscious.

 
 

Preparation - Benefits

 

  • Feature: E-Business Bible
  • Benefit: You will receive a reference manual with information that tells you what you need to know in order to set up and run a high performance website. You will be able to use this information to set-up a website that generates lots of new business.

 

  • Feature: Internet Consultant
  • Benefit: You will be provided with an Internet consultant who will take you through all the issues that are critical to your website’s success, and advise you on what to do. This will help you to produce a website that provides you with the best possible results.

 

  • Feature: E-business Hotline
  • Benefit: You will be able call an Internet consultant and ask them questions about your website and how to improve ‘key’ performance areas. You will be able to get ongoing advice from someone who knows what they are talking about!

 

  • Feature: Zeald E-business Suite (ZES)
  • Benefit: You will get a website system that provides all the necessary tools for you to successfully run and manage your website. 
    You will be able to manage the website content yourself; to track and process all your orders and/or enquiries; to capture relevant customer information; and to generate clear and concise reports on the performance of your website.

 

  • Feature: Clear & relevant reporting
  • Benefit: You will have access (at the click of a button) to clear and accurate reports, that highlight the key metrics that affect the performance of your website. This will help you to see how well your website is performing and work out any problem areas that need to be addressed.

 

  • Feature: Customised Form Generator
  • Benefit: You will be able to specify what information you want collected by your website. Your website will collect the specified information from your customer using a customised form. The information collected will help you make the follow-up process as efficient as possible, saving you time and money.

 

  • Feature: Customer Ordering
  • Benefit: Customers will be able to log-in to your website using their email address and password, and then view your entire catalogue, along with their own special pricing. This will reduce the amount of requests for pricing from your customer support staff.

 

  • Feature: Customer Account Management
  • Benefit: Your customers will be able to log-in to your website using their email address and a password and update their contact details, view order status, generate return material authorisation numbers (RMA), etc. This will reduce the amount of time spent by your customer support staff dealing with these issues.

 

  • Feature: Integrated Customer Database
  • Benefit: The website will capture all your customer details into a database, saving you from having to capture this information manually in an Excel spreadsheet, or some other database. It will also provide you with a valuable database that you can use to send-out further promotions and offers.

 

  • Feature: Content Management
  • Benefit: You will be able to update and change any of the content (text & pictures) within the website without any help from Zeald. This will save you time and money and will enable you to keep your website fresh and up-to-date, with minimal fuss.

 

  • Feature: Personalised Website Design
  • Benefit: Your website will be designed by a professional website designer and will incorporate all the required elements of your brand. This will keep your image consistent across everything that is seen in the marketplace– including shop, brochures, website, company car, etc.

 

  • Feature: Search Engine Friendliness
  • Benefit: Your website will be built so that it can be easily indexed by the search engines. This will enable the search engines to catalogue your website, increasing your chances of a higher ranking and increased website traffic.

 

  • Feature: Tracking of Marketing Spend
  • Benefit: You will be able to track what parts of your website promotion are producing results and how much those results are costing you. This will enable you to test and measure everything so that you are consistently improving return on your marketing dollar.

 
 

Preparation – Unique Selling Proposition

 

  • “Websites that Work!”
  • Websites that generate enquiries and/or sales
  • Websites that deliver a measurable return-on-investment.

 
 

Preparation – Customer Goals


Goal #1: Increase sales or enquiries for products or services.

Goal #2: Increase business efficiencies and customer service.

Goal #3: Increase brand recognition.


Strongest Goal: Increase sales and/or enquiries for products/services.

USP – “Websites that Work!” – this supports the strongest goal!


Strongest benefits

 

  • Feature: E-Business Bible
  • Benefit: You will receive a reference manual with information that tells you what you need to know in order to set-up a website. You will be able to use this information to set-up a website that generates lots of new business.

 

  • Feature: Internet Consultant
  • Benefit: You will be provided with an Internet consultant who will take you through all the issues that are critical to your website’s success, and advise you on what to do. This will help you to produce a website that provides you with the best possible results.

 

  • Feature: E-business Hotline
  • Benefit: You will be able to call an Internet consultant and ask them questions about your website and how to improve ‘key’ performance areas. You will be able to receive ongoing advice from someone who knows what they are talking about!

 

  • Feature: Zeald E-business Suite (ZES)
  • Benefit: You will get a website system that provides all the necessary tools for you to successfully run and manage your website.

 
You will be able to manage the website content yourself; to track and process all your orders and/or enquiries; to capture relevant customer information; and to generate clear and concise reports on the performance of your website.
 

Preparation – Primary & Secondary Objectives


Primary objective: Visitor to register for a free, one-hour Internet consultation.

Secondary objective: None at this stage


See the Final Result

Topics: Persuasion
 

Using a “P.S.” to Produce Action – Long Sales Copy

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #10


The “P.S.” is one of the most important parts of a sales letter. Apart from the headline, it is read more often than any other part of your sales copy!


Use a “P.S.” field to re-state your offer one last time (and remind the reader of the major benefit of your offering).


Encourage the reader to ‘order’ or ‘enquire’ immediately.


Sometimes you might even wish to add another key benefit here, as a ‘surprise’ for your reader. These small and meaningful portions of text are often heavyweights in that last-minute decision-making process. As they are easy to tune and test, you’ll soon be discovering exactly what works with your customers– what pushes their buttons. So monitor your results!

Topics: Persuasion
 

Close the Sale to Produce Action – Long Sales Copy

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #9


Now is the time to close the sale. When you believe a prospect has been convinced that they should ‘buy’ from you, do not procrastinate and beat-around-the-bush:

 

  • summarise what has been outlined in the web page sales copy
  • summarise the target customer's goal, need or problem and the proposed solution
  • summarise the major benefits
  • and then spell-out to your visitors exactly what they need to do in order to place their order or enquiry.


Make sure you make this as succinct as possible. There should be no possible confusion as to what the reader needs to do in order to place their order or lodge their enquiry.


Many ‘sales’ have been lost simply because the seller did not ask for the customer’s business. Strange, but true; they did not close the sale!


So provide as many different methods for facilitating their order or enquiry as possible. Some people, no matter how good your website security (detailed in your “security statement”, which is a declaration of your e-commerce business practices), will not put their credit card details over the Internet. Remove this boundary to completing a sale by offering alternative means of payment (cheque, direct credit, money order, and so on).

Topics: Persuasion
 

Using a Guarantee to Produce Desire – Long Sales Copy

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #8


Remove as much of the risk for your ‘target customers’ as possible and make sure your web page sales copy reflects that loudly.


Offer the most compelling guarantee that you possibly can. As long as you have a great product/service the general ‘rule’ is, “the stronger the guarantee, the less claims on that guarantee”.


A good guarantee will have a huge impact on the amount of sales or enquiries that you generate online.


This is one of the most important elements of your sales copy and one of the most important fundamentals for your website. People are still skeptical about buying on websites, and although this attitude is slowly changing, it is important to reassure your buyers as much as possible, and remove any perceived risk.


Make a ‘song and dance’ about your guarantee, as it is a key tool in gaining the trust of your buyers. Remember, the first order is always the hardest!


Take a risk with your guarantee– make it compelling. Remember, people are generally honest! It is more likely that the extra sales and profits your compelling guarantee generates will hugely outweigh any increases in claims you may have on your guarantee (such as an increase in ‘returns’ from customers). Besides, if it doesn’t work - you can always change it.

Topics: Persuasion
 

Using Bonuses to Produce Desire – Long Sales Copy

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #7


If possible, immediately after presenting the price in your web page sales copy, present a bonus (or even better, a number of bonuses) that you will ‘throw-in’ for free as part of your offering. This is not something that you absolutely must do but it will strengthen your offer substantially.


When looking for bonuses, try and find something that has high perceived value to your visitor but costs you little (products or services that have an extremely good margin).


Great examples of low cost bonuses are electronic informational products (e-books, ‘wallpapers’, software, etc). They cost a set amount to create, but then you can distribute them again and again for very little outlay.


Bonuses are perfect for easing past visitor hesitation to participate.


If you can’t think of anything that you can offer as a bonus perhaps you are able to offer a discount that is available for a “limited time only”. This also creates urgency and a ‘call-to-action’, prompting them to buy sooner rather than later.

 

Using an Overview to Create Interest - Long Sales Copy

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #5


Now comes the time to present your offer.


Do you remember the six steps to ‘visitor conversion’? The six steps are:

 

  1. Do I trust you?
  2. Do I believe you?
     
  3. Do you understand my needs?
  4. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
  5. What do you want from me?
  6. Is it worth it?

 
In the ‘overview’ section of our web page sales copy we are looking to address the fourth step – “what’s in it for me” (or “WIIFM”)?


The best route to the fourth step is by showing benefits. Remember, people do not buy a product/service because of the features. They buy an end-result. They buy what a product/service will do for them. Remember: “customers don’t want 12mm drill bits… they want 12mm holes”.


This is the section where you should use your USP (in all its glory!), if you haven’t already.


Think back to the list of goals for our target customer, with each of the benefits associated with those goals. This is where you will focus on these benefits.


Use bulleted-lists whenever you can. Keep things as clear as possible. Don’t be afraid to really elaborate and give your reader substantial detail. Your reader is interested in your product/service (which is why they are reading), so give them what they need, just keep it as benefit-focused as possible. 

Topics: Persuasion
 

Using an Introduction to Create Interest - Long Sales Copy

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #4


The purpose of the introduction in your web page sales copy is to introduce yourself to the reader and establish your credibility; you might use a well-placed testimonial, or select some ‘one-liners’ or ‘partial’ quotes from your testimonials.

Telling a story is a great way to work an introduction. People love stories! That’s why publishing, movie-making and other media are so big– because people love to hear a good story.

A good and well-presented story will allow your target customers to identify with you. It will give them further confidence that you understand their goals, problems and needs.

Think about how you came to be in the position you are now. What made you offer the products or services that you are offering? Share some of your passion! People identify with passion.

To tell a good story you will need to allow a bit of your personality, or your brand’s personality, to shine.
Topics: Persuasion
 

Using Headers to Create Interest - Long Sales Copy

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #3


Headers are used to summarise blocks of text (paragraphs) in long web page sales copy. Your headers are mini-headlines in themselves. They should be used to summarise the main points for the accompanying paragraph/s of text.


Less is definitely more in your headers. They are there for one purpose only: to provide your visitor the means to ‘scan’ your information. When drafting your ‘copy’, regularly review your chosen headings and sub-headings. What they ‘say’ must enhance the ability to scan each screen quickly. These vital navigational tools are what your customers rely on in their reading - but be careful that they don’t become out of ‘context’ if you rework the paragraph text below them.


Presenting content intended for a website is very different from communicating with your customers on an A4 piece of paper. Some visitors really just want to be able to visually skim your site. They do this by following your sub-heading and highlighted text as their ‘sign-posts’.

Therefore, if you have insufficient “markers”, your audience may become frustrated, bored, or worse, irritated. Your target customers are online in the first place, because one of their ‘characteristics’ as a customer group is that they demand instant information, presented logically, and in a manner that won’t hinder their objectives.


Once you have completed your web page sales copy, make a list of the headers, by themselves, and put your headline at the top. Review to ensure that your headers give readers a clear overview of your message.

Topics: Persuasion
 

Using an Opening Hook to Grab Attention

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #2


Once you have caught the attention of your reader, through the use of a strong headline, you need to ‘hook’ your reader and pull them into the main part of your web page copy.


An opening hook should (hopefully) continue from where your headline finished, in the ‘attracting their attention’ stakes. Present a problem, or outline the benefit to your reader in more detail and in a way that they can personally ‘identify’ with. By doing this you are more likely to “strike a chord” with your reader. Why? Because you are demonstrating that you clearly understand their goals, needs and problems.


It can sometimes be appropriate to emphasise the key points or benefit expressed in the main headline. Give your reader a bit more detail. Try to include the benefits of reading this website thoroughly. If they want to explore and experience what you have to offer, it will be because you’ve given them a compelling urge to read more!

Topics: Persuasion
 

Using the Headline to Grab Attention

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Element #1

Headlines are the crucial first element of your web page copy. Their purpose is to grab the attention of your target customer. Remember– everyone will see your headline– and that headline could be the difference between a web page visitor wanting to find out more, and exploring what you have to offer, and moving on.

Some ways to approach writing a headline:

  • Promise a major benefit
    Reduce Your Waist Line By two Inches In 31 days!
  • Offer a solution to a problem
    Learn How To Reduce Your Credit Card Debt Instantly By 30%!
  • Flag your target customer
    Attention Homeowners! – Reduce Your Rates Bill By Over 50%!
  • Ask a question
    Have You Ever Been Ripped-off By a Used-Car Salesman?
  • Quote a testimonial
    Thank You So Much! – My Website Sales Have Increased By 217%!”
  • Sound a warning
    Your Air-Conditioning Unit May Be Killing You!

Use ‘power words’ within your headlines. ‘Power words’ convey strong emotions with a lot of different readers. The strongest ‘power word’ is - Free. Some phrases that incorporate the ‘Free’ power word are:

  • Sign-up today to collect your free report!
  • Register for our free trialFree gift (worth $19.95) for all new subscribers
  • You get our e-book ‘Secrets of Website Success’ free!
  • Register today for a free demonstration
  • Sign-up today for our risk-free offer.

Another effective set of ‘power words’ is the “How to” phrase. For example:

  • how to avoid…
  • how to reduce…
  • how to save…
  • how to create…
  • how to impress…
  • how to become…
  • how to generate…

Learn” is another great power word:

  • learn 10 wealth secrets that every millionaire knows!
  • learn the top 32 rugby coaching techniques used worldwide!
  • you will learn the secrets used by New Zealand’s top investors, who generate millions of dollars every year!
  • learn my 10-point checklist for every property purchase!

There are many ‘power words’ that can be used effectively to give your headlines a boost.

Here are some more ‘power words’ that work well: you, save, know, understand, results, proven, now, today, immediately, money, powerful, trust, create, secrets and discover.

Review and rewrite your headlines – make them as sharp as possible.

A good headline will often require lots and lots of reworking. You must get it right first time because your visitor may choose not to visit your website in future if the headline didn’t show them that they were in the right place to have their needs met.


Finally, make sure you format your headlines well. Use a large font size, with a bold style. Capitalise the first letter of every word. Consider putting quotation marks around the headline.

And remember– you can track and measure your results. So do. You have control so try different headlines; test them for results and keep fine-tuning for maximum success.

Topics: Persuasion
 

The Benefits of Long Sales Copy on your Website

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

For decades, many direct marketing and advertising greats, such as David Ogilvy, Jay Abraham, Victor Schwab, and Claude Hopkins, just to name a few, have used long copy to achieve incredible results for their clients.


Website sales copy was originally thought to work best if it was broken up into chunks and presented using individual screens or pages on a website. That proved to be a big mistake because every time visitors clicked the ‘link’ to the new ‘screen’ to get that information, a percentage of them were “lost”. That’s because the ‘flow’ or ‘sales process’ was interrupted. They lost interest, focus… whatever, they were gone.


In order to make a buying decision, buyers need information… and lots of it! Would you limit your salesperson to the number of words that he or she could use when talking to a potential customer about your product or service? Not in a million years!

You would want your salesperson to be as comprehensive as possible providing your potential customer with as much information as they needed, to make an informed buying decision.


Your website should be representative of the best sales ‘person’ in your business, providing all your customers with the same quality, consistent message every time, no matter what.


So, let’s look at the process of writing effective long sales copy for the Web.


To prepare, you will need focus on the following:

  • profiles of your ‘target’ customers
  • the benefits your product/service offers them
  • your customers’ goals
  • your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’
  • the ’primary’ & ‘secondary’ objectives for your website.

 

 


Know your Website's Target Customer


One of the most important business fundamentals is ‘know your target customer’.


We have already discussed this in planning your website, but to reiterate, your target customer wants to:

  • achieve a goal
  • solve a problem
  • or satisfy a need.


Unless your website is structured to cater to their goals, problems and needs, it will not be useful to them and you won’t get the sales you are online to attract.

From the moment they knock at your ‘online door’, you need to understand them if you want to sell to them. You do this by having a clear ‘grasp’ of what their goals, problems and needs really are.


The better you understand your target customer the better your sales to them will be.


What sort of customers do you want to do business with online? What are their needs, problems and goals? List as many different things as you can that will help define “them”, i.e., what is it that makes these people ‘typical’ of your target customer? You need a complete ‘target customer’ profile.


Try to write one page about your target customer. List all their characteristics and define them in fine detail– the more detail, the better: even if some of these don’t seem relevant this information is vital to you ‘getting it right’:

  • Who are they (characteristics, age, etc)?
  • What do they do during an average day?
  • What sort of jobs do they have?
  • What sort of cars do they drive?
  • What do they like to do to unwind?
  • What sport do they play?
  • What magazines do they read?
  • Where do they eat?
  • What personality ‘types’ are common within your target customer? Is it mixed or is one personality ‘type’ dominant?

And so on.

Sure, you won’t actually ‘know’ all of the above, but by visualising your target customer, you will be able to tailor your messages to appeal to that defined audience, and sell them on your products or services much more effectively than if you didn’t have this snapshot.


If you don’t think this is important, think about this; when presenting your business in the physical world, do you say the same thing to every single customer or prospect, every time? Of course you don’t, because good sales people adapt themselves to each and every customer.

Unfortunately, a website doesn’t afford this luxury… yet! So you are only able to present one key message. So it makes sense to tailor that message to your ‘ideal’ customer!!

 

 


The Benefits of Long Sales Copy on your Website (So What?)


This next component is vitally important.


You may have heard – “when selling, present the benefits before the features”.

A benefit is what a feature does for a customer (think, ‘verb’).

A feature is what a product has (think, ‘noun’).

This is a key difference! Why? A benefit demonstrates ‘your’ features being ‘used’ within your customer’s world. Customers want benefits, not features, i.e., “Customers don’t want 12mm drill bits… they want 12mm holes”.

 

So how do you work out the benefits of your product or service?

Start by listing all your features on a page. Then take each feature and ask yourself (imagining that you are your target customer), “So what? What’s in it for me?“(WIIFM)… and elaborate.


Let’s take a look at some examples:

 

  • A Content Management System (CMS)

“So what? WIIFM?”

You will be able to manage and edit all your website content yourself.

“So what? WIIFM?”

You won’t have to go back to your website designers whenever you want to update something on your website.

“So what? WIIFM?”

Updating content will be quick and easy. You will save valuable time and money and will be empowered to keep your website continually fresh and up-to-date.

 

  • Frost-Free freezer

“So what? WIIFM?”

The freezer will not ice-up over time.

“So what? WIIFM?”

You will not have to defrost the freezer on a regular basis.

“So what? WIIFM?”

Your freezer will be more efficient – meaning you save money on your power bill! You also will be left with more time to do the things you want to do.


Be as specific as possible with your benefits. Try to give exact values whenever possible.


You will find that certain benefits keep ‘cropping-up’ again and again. Take note of these benefits because they are the strongest benefits that your product has and are likely to be completely tied into your unique selling proposition.


Now that you have a big list of benefits, put yourself into ‘the shoes’ of your target customer– think about what their goals, needs and problems are.

Make a list of how your benefits will help satisfy those goals, needs and/or problems.


As an exercise, try existing customers that resemble your ‘target’ customers the following question (in your own words):


What is the greatest benefit you could possibly receive from using my product or service?


This is great exercise for establishing exactly what the most important benefits to your target customer are.

 

 

 


Include your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)


Right, let’s think about what makes your product/service offering unique and better than anyone else’s product/service on the market. Can you explain this to someone? Can you package your product/service so that it delivers more of what your target customers are wanting and less of what they don’t?


Think about your USP and be specific. If your USP is that you are cheaper– then you need to be specific:

  • How are you cheaper?
  • How much cheaper?
  • Why are you cheaper?


When you worked-out the benefits in the last chapter, you will have noticed that certain benefits kept ‘cropping up’ – from different features. This could well be your USP!


Summarise your USP into a powerful, motivating phrase, which will be extremely persuasive and compelling to your target customer.


Work and rework this phrase – polish, polish, polish, until the phrase just cannot get any better!
 

 


Customer Goals


Time to focus your attention on your customer’s goals.

What do they want to achieve through the use of your product/service?


Jot down some notes on the following:

  • goal/s they want to achieve
  • problem/s they want to solve
  • need/s they want to satisfy.


From these notes try to narrow-down the list into the most dominant goals, problems and needs of your target customers. This list must be as short as possible to help you focus on your sales copy requirements.


Next …


Go through the list of benefits and features that you produced (in the previous section). Match-up the features and associated benefits to your list of their goals, problems and needs.


You should now have a short-list of the major benefits your product/service would provide to help your target customers achieve their goals, problems or needs.


Are you following this OK? If not, go back and re-read this section because it is absolutely vital you understand the purpose of why you are investing time into this preparatory work.
The list of benefits that you have prepared is what you should focus on when writing your sales copy.


Your USP should be one of these benefits. If it is not, then your USP is very unlikely to attract your target customers! You need to rework it into something that will not only attract them but also help them to achieve their strongest goals, overcome their problems and satisfy their needs.


A really strong USP will contain your strongest benefits, as related directly to your customer’s dominant goals, problems and needs.


To check that you understand your target goals and the benefits relating to that goal try asking some of your existing customers (that fall into that target customer category) the following question (in your own words):


What is the greatest benefit you could possibly receive from using my product or service?


The benefit(s) that they list should match up with your USP and benefit list.

 

 


Primary & Secondary Objectives of your Long Sales Copy


What is the ‘primary objective’ for your sales ‘copy’? What would you like your visitor to do after reading the copy? Be really specific!

Is it to get the visitor to hit the ‘buy’ button? Or would you like them to pick up the phone and dial your 0800 number to find out more? Define exactly what your primary objective is for the sales copy.


It’s great to have a secondary objective too. So, what is the secondary or ‘back-up’ objective for your website copy? A common example of a secondary objective is capturing email addresses of visitors via signing-up to an ‘opt-in’ newsletter.


You will need to decide how much of your copy is devoted to your secondary objective – sometimes you will devote a whole section to your secondary objective (maybe in the ‘P.S.’ at the end), and at other times, no copy at all. This is a decision that you will need to make yourself, based on who your target customer is, what their goals are and what you want to achieve overall.

 

 

 


AIDA – the age-old copywriting success formula stands for:

 

  • Attention

You must get your visitor’s attention. This is extremely important on the Web, as it is so easy to go elsewhere. One ‘click’ and ‘poof’, they’re gone. The most common way of getting attention is through a tight, punchy headline and a strong opening ‘hook’.

 

  • Interest

You must immediately arouse your visitor’s interest and curiosity. You can do this by telling a story or identifying a problem that your visitor is having (remember your target customer here). Understand the goals of your target customer and identify with those goals here.

 

  • Desire

Create ‘desire’ in your visitor. This is usually achieved through clear promises that cater to the customer’s goal/s. Focus here on your strongest benefits and outline them clearly and concisely so that they cannot be missed. Maximise your visitor’s desire through good, strong ‘bonuses’ and bold guarantees.

 

  • Action

Finally, finish with a clear ‘call-to-action’. Make it absolutely clear what actions they must do on your site to achieve the desired outcome.

Topics: Persuasion
 

About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest SME website design and digital transformation agency in New Zealand and has clients throughout both New Zealand and Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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