- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 04/16/2009
- Writing for the Web
Online business owners often wonder what they can do when their websites aren’t producing revenue. Begin by asking yourself, “What are prospects thinking when they come to my website?” You don’t have to be psychic to know they are probably asking three questions – and they want to see answers on your home page. Question #1: Am I in the right place? Clients want to know if they’ve landed on a site that relates to their challenges. Online customers aren’t out for a stroll. In the mall, we walk past a store we’ve never seen before. We think, “How intriguing: a whole store of children’s toys.” Or “Who would buy t-shirts with pictures of cats on them?” But online, visitors are searching. They’ve arrived at your site for a reason. Let’s say Jane has just gotten the word: her job will be gone in six weeks. When she lands on a site, she wants to know, “Does this site help people find jobs? How? Does it offer coaching? Info products?” Clients and customers think in categories. So Jane wants to know if you’re a coach, therapist, counselor or recruiter. She needs to know if you work by phone or locally. Those are just some of the basics.
To take another example: Tom wants help with a new dog who’s chewing up the sofa. His questions would be, “Does this s
ite help with problem dogs? Specifically, do they offer consultations by phone?” Question #2: Do you help people like me? From a copywriting perspective, visitors want to see themselves mirrored in your website, especially in the headline and the opening. If Jane’s an executive earning $300K a year, she wants to feel that you’ll be comfortable working with people at her level. She wants to know if you work with people who are unemployed (as she soon will be) or if you specialize in coaching currently employed executives who want to move up or out. Tom the desperate dog owner would want to be sure that this site works with dogs (not cats, birds or children) that have chewing issues. Some sites specialize in training aggressive dogs and some want to prepare your dog for the show ring. If he has a big dog, he’ll want to be sure the site helps owners of big dogs – not just toy breeds. Question #3: Why are you a good resource for me? Visitors want to know more about you and your qualifications. Even though you have a complete “About” page, visitors want a quick glimpse of what you offer. You don’t need a complete bio here. Just talk about your training, expertise and success rate.
Of course, some service professionals use their own background as a sales promotion strategy. These are the folks who proclaim, “I started with nothing, and now…”