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Connect to Your Customers

February 17, 2010

Developing well written and concise messages – that connect with your customers – should drive your marketing strategy. This is particularly true for Web sites.  Although the Web is a visual-driven medium, with flashy graphics, sounds, and other fancy features, success still comes down to what you say and how you say it. 

However, website copy differs significantly from brochures or display ads. With only few seconds to capture and hold the reader’s attention, Web copy must be brief and to the point, but engaging enough for them want to see more. Focus first on establishing credibility. The content on your site must be crisp and intelligent. What you say should grab a visitor’s attention, pique their interest and motivate them to action. But avoid sounding like a commercial. 

“Don’t make your Web site look like an ad” is rule number one of Web copywriting, says Maria Veloso, director of Web Copywriting University. We are all bombarded by ad images daily, says Veloso. The last thing we want to see on a site is another ad. Yet many small business sites seem specifically designed to look like billboards. Avoid this trap. “People go online for information,” says Veloso. “That’s why they call it the information superhighway.”

 Provide help, not hype, with the feel of editorial, not advertising. Web visitors consider themselves active participants in a shared online experience, so the writing should speak to them in this way. 

Even though you’re writing for an infinite number of potential readers, your copy should read like a conversation. That’s why many successful Web sites use common, everyday words, not platitudes and overused clichés. Use the second-person (“you”) to help create a personal bond with your website visitors and convey your sincere interest in helping them. The more they like, know and trust you, the more interested they’ll be in doing business with your company. 

For help marketing your small business, contact Lancaster SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business. SCORE is a nonprofit association of more than 50 business experts who volunteer as mentors to emerging and existing small businesses. SCORE offers free mentoring, business plan reviews, business roundtables, and low-cost workshops. 

Check out our special workshop – Marketing on the Web – scheduled for March 11, June 9 and November 4 at the SCORE Learning Center, 313 West Liberty Street, Lancaster.

Learn more at www.scorelancaster.org  on the “Special Workshops” menu tab– or call us at  717-397-3092.

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