- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 05/29/2009
- Writing for the Web
When independent professionals begin marketing their businesses online, they need to begin by describing who they are and what they do. But when most professionals describe their services, they usually begin by talking about their process. “First, clients fill out an intake form. Then we meet for an hour. Then they take one of my assessments. And from there..” Clients will be interested in your process, but first they want to know if you can help them solve their most pressing problems. Typically, clients call you because they are experiencing pain and distress. When a prospective client arrives on your website, her first question will be, “Am I in the right place? Will I be likely to get some pain relief here?” If she’s not sure, she’ll click away in about 5 seconds. Therefore, copywriting for your website begins by creating a message based on the benefits you deliver. Your message has three parts that answer these three questions. Who are your clients? What are their greatest struggles? How do you help?
The first part of your marketing message answers the question, “Who are my clients? Who do I serve most effectively?” For example, if you are career coach, you might serve women over 50, mid-career executives seeking freedom from the corporate world, or sixty-something professionals who want to keep working after retirement. If your prospective cli
ent can’t see himself in your website, he will hesitate to ask for a consultation. Second, your marketing message also needs to focus on your clients’ most painful struggles. For example, if you specialize in warehouse design, your clients are outgrowing their warehouses. They have tons of inventory and no place to put it. Yet they don’t want to invest in moving to a new building. You need to show that you understand where they’re coming from and that you can supply realistic solutions. Sometimes your clients are also struggling with fear of picking up the phone to call. For example, if you’re a lawyer or psychotherapist, prospective clients wonder if you will be supportive or judgmental. They wonder if you will really listen and accept their needs and values. Finally, you need to show what results your prospective clients can expect if they hire you. Even if your service feels fuzzy (such as life coaching), you can give examples that get far more specific than “take your life to the next level.” You can paint word pictures and tell stories.
If you want to attract more clients from your website, stop thinking of using your website to sell services. Instead think of your website as a place to demonstrate your ability to deliver results for a very specific set of problems experienced by clients who share certain qualities. Your whole website marketing message should focus entirely on your clients and how much better off they will be after you help them.