Home > Articles > Webmaster resources > Writing to sell

Writing words that sell

Identifying the reader and his concerns is the first step to a successful web sales pitch, according to Bryan Eisenberg, author of 'Persuasive online copywriting: how to take your words to the bank'.

"Step two is to work out the action you want them to take," he says. "Step three - and this is where sites usually fall down - is to find out what information that person needs to take that action. The only way to convey that is through words. Every link should be an imperative with an implied benefit, for example 'click here to start saving today'."

"The internet is a participatory medium," he says. "It's not like radio, TV or a print advert. The real power to choose where to go is held by the user. If you're not answering his unspoken questions, you're going to lose him. You've got to keep resonating with his needs and wants, address his concerns and propel him to take action."

His company Future Now found it could double the conversions on a job-seeking website using two words: we're hiring. It made it clear the site was recruiting directly (and wasn't an agency) and also got the message across quickly. "The reader was thinking 'I need a job, I need a job, I need a job', and when he saw 'we're hiring' we got his attention," says Eisenberg.

Although marketers often suggest using buzzwords to attract attention, Eisenberg disputes their importance. "You're better off with poor writing that addresses the concerns of the reader than good writing that doesn't," he says. "Some buzzwords do work. Everybody loves the word 'free', but only use it if it pertains to what the visitor wants and needs."

Future Now has created a customer focus calculator to check how focused a website is on the visitor's needs. "It's affectionately known as the we-we machine," says Eisenberg. "We say that people we-we all over themselves because their copy is all 'we're great, we're the best provider' and never addresses what's in it for me, the reader. It's the biggest problem across the board on every website."

Related links


© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

Visit www.sean.co.uk for free chapters from Sean's coding books (including Mission Python, Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Coder Academy) and more!

Discover my latest books

Coding Compendium

Coding Compendium

A free 100-page ebook collecting my projects and tutorials for Raspberry Pi, micro:bit, Scratch and Python. Simply join my newsletter to download it.

Web Design in Easy Steps

Web Design IES

Web Design in Easy Steps, now in its 7th Edition, shows you how to make effective websites that work on any device.

100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

Power up your Microsoft Excel skills with this powerful pocket-sized book of tips that will save you time and help you learn more from your spreadsheets.

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Scratch Programming IES

This book, now fully updated for Scratch 3, will take you from the basics of the Scratch language into the depths of its more advanced features. A great way to start programming.

Mission Python book

Mission Python

Code a space adventure game in this Python programming book published by No Starch Press.

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps book

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps

Discover how to make 3D games, create mazes, build a drum machine, make a game with cartoon animals and more!

Walking astronaut from Mission Python book Top | Search | Help | Privacy | Access Keys | Contact me
Home | Newsletter | Blog | Copywriting Services | Books | Free book chapters | Articles | Music | Photos | Games | Shop | About