So you’ve got a kick-butt new product to sell on your website. You’ve created a new landing page, and now all you need is some cool-looking landing page copy to get those phones ringing.
It can’t be that hard. Just act like a pro.
Write all those slick sales words you’ve seen online and you'll look and sound the part. After all, if these words are used so often, they must work, right?
Not so fast, Batman.
Overly used hype-words become what I call ‘blandisms’, a kind of cliche that is so bland, so overused, that we tune out.
“Our new and improved, world-class product, now sold at our state-of-the-art studio, is scientifically proven by Russian astronauts to give first-rate results you won’t believe!!!”
Did any of the above words penetrate you? Did they hit a nerve? Do you now understand why the product is so special, or how? And most of all, did you believe any of it?
No, I didn’t think so.
Superlatives, ‘blandisms’ and other over-cooked cliches are empty phrases that only pad out your content. Given that people don’t like to read online, why fluff things out with meaninglessness?
When we have a new product online, we want people to believe that it’s just the most fantabulous thing. (Actually, fantabulous isn’t bad. Made up words are a corker because they grab people’s attention.)
But here’s where we make the mistakes. Superlatives sound like meaningless copy from a slick car yard sales pitch. Delivered by a desperate man with dandruff and cheap shoes. And a vinyl jacket.
Ultimate, amazing, stunning, fantastic: these are pure superlatives and come across as empty promises. “An amazing deal”. “The ultimate holiday”. “These stunning shoes”. (Yawn)
Most [people, things]: “Most dieters report the most amazing results in just seven days!” Doesn’t sound very convincing, does is it?
EXCEPTION: you can use superlatives within reason, such as if a testimonial states that your product or service was “stunning” or they had a “fantastic time”. And, if your product is the best – and you can back it, then it’s okay.
Run-of-the-mill webpage words
Fast shipping - instead, how fast? For everyone? For example, try “Lightning fast shipping – delivered within 24 hours for all AU customers!”
Quality [anything] - I can’t think of a more despicable word the Internet. (Other than David Avocado Wolf. Ok, that’s three words.) Quality pens, quality service, quality food, quality shoes. You mean you’re not selling sh*t shoes? Good to know.
Excellent customer service – again, I'm glad your customer service doesn’t suck. If it is excellent, that’s great. Tell us why. Do you reply within the hour? Do you have a free follow-up service?
[Anything] with a difference - another complete doozy, do you expect us to believe this? “The doctor with a difference!” “Dog training with a difference!” What’s the difference?
Welcome to my website! - Just don’t. And if you don’t know why, you should be writing web copy. (Sorry if that sounds harsh) Call in a professional.
Over-used product description words: thou shalt not go there
Here are a few product description beauties that are used so often they float between downright annoying and just plain depressing.
Next-Generation: Good for you. We’re so glad you weren't going to release a last-generation product.
Innovative: So not innovative, this word has earned its retirement. Give it a rest. Instead, what’s so innovative about it? Tell us.
Revolutionary: Come on. You can do better than that. Unless, of course, you’ve found a way to reinvent the wheel, or grow money on trees. Also overdue for a good lie down, ‘revolutionary’ means nothing today. We’ve killed it.
He’s dead, Jim.
Pioneering: as above.
BOTTOM LINE: don’t over-hype your sales words. No one likes to be sold to. It's sleazy.
Complicated, convoluted clever-people words
For the love of Google, keep it simple. I find it’s the insecure types that fall down this rabbit hole of rubbish in an effort to sound businesslike and all-grown-up. Examples:
· utilise – try “use”
· ascertain – try “find out”
· prior to – try “before”
· enquire – try “ask”
· alleviate – try “ease”
· subsequent – try “next”
· terminate – try “end”
· obtain – just say “get”. It’s not hard.
CLEANUP TIP: clean up your writing by avoiding very, actually, just, and really. These adverbs are mostly unnecessary (or redundant). Weed them out and you’ll be much more concise.
Phew. Feel better now?
Be specific when writing website copy
Writing killer web copy is a lot harder than you think.
This is why (cough) you might want to think about hiring a professional. It’ll free up your time. But, if you’re having a go, remember to think of the reader and not yourself. Think of the reader's needs and desires. Talk in her language, be honest, and be specific.
To conclude, let’s have a look at the legendary team that do it brilliantly, Apple. This example gives specific detail (about sizing); talks to you like a friend explaining the device, and it sells you the benefits – but that’s a whole other post.
“…with its expansive 12.9-inch Retina display, nearly double the CPU performance of iPad Air 2 and refined Multi‑Touch technology, iPad Pro adds another dimension to that experience. It’s not just larger. It’s an iPad that lets you be more creative and more productive …” Apple.com (iPad Pro)
Note the absence of state-of-the-art, bestselling, cutting-edge, or, God help us, the iPad with a difference!
Want someone to write catchy, converting copy for your website? Need content that’ll make your page sing - and boost your SEO? Contact me today!
This article references Henneke Duistermaat, Queen of anti-gobbledygook copywriting.