When it comes to writing for your audience online, we all know that we need to be concise – the online world is a distracting space and in order to keep our audience interested to steadily make their way down the sales funnel, we need to give them the information they want in a way that makes them feel connected, as quickly as we can.
But it’s tough to achieve, especially if you’re not a copywriter. How do you pack compelling copy, plus the features and benefits of your products/ services in a few lines?
Write to be read.
I think the first myth to dispel here, is that the demand for ‘scannable’ copy means that people don’t read. If that were true, it would simply be enough to list your products/ services on a bare website for them to fly off the virtual shelves. And, of course, that doesn’t happen.
People do read. They do want to understand more about how you can help them and want (maybe even desperately want) you to be the wellness business that makes them want to buy. They just want it quickly. According to HubSpot, 73% of visitors skim a blog post, rather than read every single word (I see your darting eyes).
That’s why it’s important to write for your audience in the way they want to digest information online. Don’t fight the skim, work with it and you’ll find that your copy performs better as a result.
How to write for your audience, so they want to read more…
1. Keep it short
Just as small mouthfuls are easier to swallow, so short paragraphs and short sentences are easier for your audience to understand. The idea is to maximise the flow – the easier your copy is to scan, the more your audience will read.
Keep paragraphs to a maximum of 3-4 sentences and don’t forget to make sure that your font is clear, a good size and you have a good contrast between the colour of your font and background for optimum usability. Alongside poor copywriting, a bad user experience is one of the top reasons that people leave a website.
2. Put your copy in the right places
Copywriting is just as much about how you write as it is where you write it. Put your copy in places that work with the way users interact with businesses online and you’re already helping them to find the information they need.
According to the Gutenberg diagram, a concept first developed by Edmund C. Arnold, users begin reading websites in a kind of Z-shape, based on four quadrants. Think of the top of your homepage.
That means that quadrant four, or the ‘Terminal Area’ is likely to be a good place to put your call-to-action button, as it’s the end of the viewing pattern. Of course, for the best results, it’s worth doing some A/B testing, but this is a great place to start.
Another study, conducted by the Nielson Normal Group, shows that on text-heavy pages (think blog posts or sales emails), people generally read in F-patterns. These kinds of studies highlight the prime real estate across various mediums, so that you can place your most important copy in those areas.
3. Clear sub-headings
Sub-headings are like lifeboats to wandering eyes. They’re a great structural tool and are especially useful when you’re writing a blog post or even a sales email. The eye is naturally drawn to headings, especially when they are also visibly larger than the rest of your copy. For the best results, keep your sub-headings short (six words), so they can be understood in practically a single glance.
4. Use simple language
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again – jargon is a barrier to creating meaningful emotional connections with your ideal customers. That’s because it creates distance. When users read online, the greater the flow, the easier it is to scan. The easier it is to scan, the more pleasant the user experience and the longer they stay interested. Jargon creates friction – the user experience becomes bumpy and the more bumps along the road, the more users just want to jump off it altogether.
Use simple language, that’s easy to understand and contains few syllables. If you want to check your readability score, use a tool like the Readability Test offered by WebFX to find out how easy your website is to understand.
Scan your way to success.
Writing copy that can be easily scanned by your audience is important to creating meaningful connections with your ideal customers/ clients. While it is a challenge, adopting a few or all of points above will make all the difference in the way your message is received and help you to get heard online.