10 fast ways to make your website more persuasive
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve probably put a good deal of time and loving attention into your website. You’ve made sure your website has visual appeal. And you’ve packed your site with what you think is the most important information to help your customers make a decision.
But how good is your website at doing what it’s supposed to do — persuading a potential customer? Is your website doing everything it can to convince your visitors to take the action you want them to?
If your website isn’t persuasive, what is it for?
So how can you make sure your website is as persuasive as possible? You can have a professional copywriter check your website, but in the meantime, these tips will get you started.
1. Speak in your target audience’s language
Imagine you’re writing persuasive web content for an academy catering to former police or military officers. How do you appeal to such a unique target market?
Does that sound awfully specific? That’s because the copywriters at Taleist did indeed write copy for an online course creator matching that description. You can see more details in that case study, but in summary:
- One way to build trust with your target audience is to use words, phrases and concepts that are familiar to your audience. This is especially important for audiences with their own slangs and shorthand, or if you’re writing for readers in another country.
- The need to sound familiar (therefore unthreatening) is why it’s important to understand who you’re writing for. A 25-year-old and a 65-year-old might want the same product, but you’d talk to them in different ways. A person working in construction might not respond to the same persuasive writing as someone working in advertising. Understanding who your product or service benefits and what they’re looking for key to writing persuasive web content that draws them in.
2. Personalise your message
The word “you” feels personal. The more you write “you”, the more your reader feels like you’re the only two people in the room. Pair that with writing that sounds like you know them and you have the ingredients of a connection.
It sounds basic, which is why this is a fast tip to being more persuasive in your marketing. Not only does “you” build a connection, but it encourages the reader to picture themselves benefiting from whatever you’re selling. It’s the difference between People drink cocktails in our hot tub and Imagine yourself sipping a cocktail in our luxurious hot tub…
People come to your site because they want a change —from where they are now to where they’ll be after benefiting from your product or service. So keep your copy focussed on the change and the benefit that your reader is looking for. That’s what they’re interested in. Every word you write should tie directly to that.
3. Use simple language in your web content
You might have been taught to write formally at school. But your teachers were teaching you to impress examiners; they weren’t teaching you to establish a human connection with a real person with flesh and blood desires.
Think about the last time you spoke to a mechanic or car dealer. How much of a conversation about “aspect ratios” and “E-REVs” would you have understood? Or if you speak fluent mechanic, imagine talking torts and rules of evidence with a lawyer.
Your web content is no different.
It’s easy for digital marketers to fall back on jargon and fancy words because they think bullshit makes a message sound authoritative. But bullshit at worst alienates readers altogether. It’s definitely going to confuse people, and confused people don’t buy. That’s why simple language trumps confusing lingo every time.
Only use industry jargon if you’re absolutely certain they’re familiar words to your audience. You must also be certain those words mean exactly the same thing to everyone who thinks they understand them. (That is rarely the case, in our experience.)
4. Complement your website content with high quality images and visuals
We like to think of ourselves as rational human beings. Who knows what other people do, but we make decisions based on facts and reason. However, the truth is that our emotions influence our buying decisions more than logic does. We feel first and rationalise afterwards.
As the saying goes, there’s the reason we tell our partner why we bought something and there’s the real reason.
One way to tap into those emotions is through visuals. Images can be used for many purposes in web design. This includes creating emotional responses or making a text-heavy page appear more interesting. Images provide context and give additional meaning to web content by illustrating concepts in ways that text alone cannot accomplish.
When you’re including images on your website, it’s important to use images that match the brand and tone of voice you’ve established. Don’t just reach for the first stock image that comes up when you type “growth” or “sustainability” into the search box.
The way you arrange your basic text also has a visual impact. You can also enhance the visual appeal of your key points by using subheadings, bullet points and bold text.
5. Create a pathway of low resistance
Not all of us are website wizards. That’s why your website content needs to be accessible to visitors at all times. Your content isn’t accessible when you offer up too many links, too many options, too much clutter.
To much of that and you’re throwing up nothing more than irritating obstacles to your visitors. If you want to persuade people to take action on your site, you need to design your website in a way that makes it effortless to take that action.
A complicated navigation structure or cluttered homepage design will only cause confusion, increase bounce rates and even turn off search engines. That’s not in anyone’s best interest. And if your website visitors can’t figure out how to get the answers they’re looking for, they’ll leave to find someone who gives them what they need.
6. Create content that answers your audience’s questions
Your potential clients are landing on your website for a reason. Many of them are there to figure out if this is the right place for them to spend their time and money. Will you have the answer to their unique problems? Can your products do what you say they can do? Do you offer a better solution than the other businesses selling the same product or service?
Answering these questions, and answering them well, should be your highest priority. Don’t make readers sift through blocks of web content before they actually get to what they’re looking for. Make sure the most important information for your audience is easily available in every page of your site.
But you can’t know what your target audience is looking for without doing the research. Spending time on forums or talking with different groups of people — including current and former clients — will give you a better idea of what your prospects need from you. Sometimes the answer might even surprise you. That’s why here at Taleist, we say writing persuasive web content is 80% research.
7. Persuasive website content offers proof
We love buying things but we’re scared of buying the wrong things. Who hasn’t made a purchase they regretted? In the worst cases, we wish we could Marty McFly our way to the day before the purchase. The more that happens (the older we get), the more wary we get about pulling the trigger.
Providing social proof in your content writing is one of the ways you can build trust and make your message sound much more convincing. In fact, social proof is one of the six principles of persuasion promoted by psychologist Dr Robert Cialdini (Otherwise known as the Godfather of influence and persuasion) in his book Influence. There’s more about it in our Six Shortcuts to Persuasive Copywriting.
Studies show 84% of customers trust testimonials as much as personal recommendations. So embed positive feedback on your website copy that proves you have an exceptional product or service.
Social proof is a favourite of professional copywriters, but we have a long list of types of proof you can use in your copywriting.
8. Toss out superlatives
In every industry you can think of superlatives are being sprinkled like candy on Halloween.
“We’re the leading property investor in Australia.”
“We’re the top in digital marketing innovation.”
“We have the best customer service.”
This is puffery. Puffery is making exaggerated statements that most people don’t take seriously. Sure, you might ask what harm there is in a little exaggeration. The answer is plenty.
First, puffery takes up space that could be used to do something more substantial.
Second, puffery wafts over the reader. They’ve read it before. They don’t believe it. And the harm? They think you’re just like everyone else. Puffery smothers your difference, and difference is what gets people to buy.
So what can you do without falling into the trap of puffery? Find a way to prove you’re better than all the rest. Build trust by showing, not telling, and your credibility will soar. And with soaring credibility come soaring conversion rates.
9. Inject urgency in your website content
Everyone wants to be part of the “in” crowd.
FOMO may have only recently become part of the mainstream culture. But this fear of missing out has been used to great effect by digital marketers and copywriters for years. When a prospect is worried they might miss out, they’re focussed on taking action.
So how do you create FOMO-inducing site? Write content that shines a spotlight on what prospects stand to lose if they don’t take the desired course of action on your website. Aggravate the discomfort of consumers who drag their feet.
Persuasion works best in the heat of the moment. The longer your readers remain on the fence, the higher the risk of you losing them. So embedding your web copy with a sense of urgency is the best way to push readers to carry out a quick (and emotional) action.
Now you’re thinking about FOMO, you might also be interested in FOBO, an acronym coined by the same guy. You can also use FOBO in copywriting.
10. Turn every web page into a landing page
We tend to think of the home page as the front door to your website. But that doesn’t mean your home page will be the first site a user will visit. Unlike a book, where people begin at chapter one and work forward to the end, visitors may start on any of your web pages. That makes every page of your site a potential landing page.
So if all of your web pages are now landing pages, what does that mean for your site’s structure and web copy? Well, here’s what you can do to optimise each web page for maximum lead generation:
- Every web page should contain skimmable and scannable content.
- Every web page needs to reinforce who you are, what you do and why you are the only solution for your prospects.
- There should be a call to action on every web page. The call to action on different pages doesn’t necessarily have to mimic each other. On one page, you could have a link that takes readers to your contact page. On the next, you could have a call to action for a lead magnet.
For more, see our online course on copywriting a landing page.
Make your website irresistible to potential customers
When it comes to writing persuasive web content, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While we can’t cover every element of persuasion in one blog post, we hope that you’re inspired to try out some (or all) of the strategies listed here.
These psychological approaches will drive more visitors into your marketing funnel and convert casual visits into sales. Start by testing out a couple of different techniques in your content writing. See which ones work best for your target audience. Always be sure to track your results so you can see what is and isn’t working.
If you want even more help increasing your website’s persuasiveness, feel free to pick up the phone and give the team at Taleist a ring or drop us a line.