Copywriting Course Autoresponder Series
Below you’ll find the subject lines and text for my nine-part e-course called Seven Home Page Content Mistakes. I used GetResponse to deliver this series over a period of about two weeks.
Subject Line: Thanks for subscribing to “Seven Home Page Content Mistakes”
Thanks so much for subscribing to this seven-part series on home page web content mistakes. You’ll learn about the first mistake – an extremely common one – tomorrow.
Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll receive a total of seven short emails with quick tips on writing effective web content.
Although the tips are short, they’re powerful!
I’ll also be sending occasional emails with information on the rapidly changing field of website creation, notifications of blog updates, or special offers. I promise I won’t inundate you with emails!
You can unsubscribe at any time, using the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of this and every other email you receive from me.
Thanks again for subscribing! If these tips make a difference in your website’s success, please let me know!
Subject Line: Home Page Mistake #1: Your headline says “Welcome to (Name of Business).”
This first home page copywriting mistake is extremely common. So if you’re guilty of this one, you are not alone:
Mistake #1: Your headline says “Welcome to (Name of Business)”
Web visitors decide within about 15 seconds whether or not to stay on your website. What do they read to make that decision? The headline. So it needs to work hard for you. Be sure the headline includes the benefits of using your product or service. Answer the reader question “what’s in it for me?” (so important that copywriters just call it WIIFM).
Here’s a nice post with some good tips on writing headlines:
If you only follow the first two tips, you’ll be far ahead of any competitors who begin with “Welcome to…”
If you’d like take it a step further, here’s an excellent article that goes into more detail:
It’s fairly long, but well worth the read. The headline is the most important part of your home page copy.
In a couple of days, you’ll find out what the second common home page mistake is and how to fix it.
Subject Line: Mistake #2: The home page copy is stiff and formal.
How are you doing with your headline? If you’re still working on it, that’s a good thing. Just because these emails come every two days doesn’t mean you should be completing the work that quickly.
But if you can find time to review these tips as they come, they’ll be easier to digest. You can go back and use them whenever you’re ready.
So, as the title of this email reveals, the second common copywriting mistake is writing stiff, formal copy.
In most cases, a warm, relaxed conversational style will pull visitors in, while a formal style will drive visitors away. If your target audience prefers a very formal style, this won’t be true. But in most cases, prefer a friendly style.
One recommended way to do this:
Imagine that you’re writing your copy to a friend who needs or wants exactly what you offer. If that doesn’t apply to any of your friends, just pretend it does. When you write your copy to one person, it’s usually more appealing and effective than if you had written it to a group of people.
In a couple of days, you’ll learn something surprising about who your website is about.
See you then!
Subject Line: Mistake #3: Your website is about you.
There’s a good chance you talk about yourself a lot in your copy. It’s natural. You want to prove that you’re the right choice, that you’re the best. Don’t do it. At least not at the beginning of the copy. When you write copy, talk to your readers and speak to their needs, their concerns. Use the word “you” a lot in your copy.
Compare these two examples:
Welcome to Acme Guitar Store
Acme Guitar Store is the leading guitar store in eastern Massachusetts. We offer the finest instruments at excellent prices. We also offer guitar lessons for adults and children. . .
This copy is all about Acme Guitar Store. What’s wrong with that? Persuasive copy isn’t about the company, it’s about the reader.
Here’s a possible alternative (of course, I get to make up all the good stuff about this store, since I made up the store):
You’ll get the lowest prices on Martin & Taylor acoustic guitars at Acme Guitar Store, guaranteed!
Got your eyes on a Taylor? Been dreaming of playing that gorgeous Martin? Your dreams are about to come true. We’ve got the lowest prices on the finest names in acoustic guitars, and we guarantee it. If you find the same guitar for less, within a year of purchase, we’ll refund the difference. . .
Can you see the difference? The second one was about the reader. And it emphasized the benefits to the reader (actually, I doubt any guitar store could really offer this – but hey, I can dream, right?).
Remember, the use of the word “you” is just an easy way to do the more important work of thinking about what your ideal clients’ needs are and letting them know that you care and that you can address those needs. Once you’ve got their attention, you can talk about yourself, and why you’re the ideal person to meet their needs. But continue to write from their perspective.
Are readers selfish?
Some copywriters convey this concept by saying that readers are selfish. I disagree. They’re not selfish. They probably care about a million things. Just not you. You’re a stranger to them. So here’s a better way to look at it, in my opinion, and one that will serve you well: This technique encourages you to truly care about the needs of your customers and clients. Keep that in mind when you use the technique.
In a couple of days, you’ll learn the fourth of seven common home page mistakes.
Subject Line: Mistake #4: You list your product’s or service’s features, not its benefits.
So by now, you know that, in most cases, your web content will work best for you if it’s about your readers and it has a friendly, approachable tone. You also understand the importance of a headline that sets you apart from others in your field.
So how do you tell your readers about your product or service, and make it about them, not you?
By telling them about the benefits of what you offer, rather than its features.
So what’s the difference?
I wrote a blog post about this a while back that explains the difference:
Take a look at the blog post. And keep in mind what you learned in the last email. When you focus on benefits rather than features, you’re writing about your readers rather than yourself.
At this point, you’re more than halfway through this series. And frankly, this is a lot to take in. If you have any questions about this, feel free to write to me at Janet@HeartBeat-Coaching.com.
In a couple of days, you’ll learn when to move on and write about yourself. Yes, you do get to do that, eventually!
Subject Line: Mistake #5: You fail to build trust.
Have you been writing about your readers, and not about yourself? Good!
Now, at long last, you get to write about you.
Why do you have to wait so long? Again, your reader doesn’t care about you. She cares about whether or not you can solve her problem.
So wait until you’ve got her hooked. Now she’s wondering whether or not your solution is as good and effective as you say it is. Now it’s time to build trust, by letting her know that you are a good, honest person who can deliver on your promises.
How do you do this? Here are a few common techniques to try:
- Testimonials are excellent for building trust and should ideally include the client’s full name and location, but only with permission;
- Even better, include client stories – again, only with permission, and change names if clients request it;
- Keep your website information up-to-date;
- Offer a guarantee or some form of risk reversal;
- Create an “About” page that tells us who you are. This can and should include credentials. But don’t be afraid to get a little warm and fuzzy about why you chose this career or why you chose to offer this product. It’s usually best not to tell readers everything about yourself, including hobbies, marital status, etc., unless it’s relevant to the story of you as owner of this business.
- Include a photo of you and your staff (if you have one). While it should be professional, it should also convey warmth in most cases.
These are a few elements that help a reader to connect with you, and also to know that you’re qualified to offer the product or service you’re offering.
Of course, you must continue to build and earn trust after a client relationship is started, but here we’re focusing only on the website copy.
In a couple of days, you’ll get your sixth home page copywriting tip.
Subject Line: Mistake #6: There are no subheads or bullets to break up the copy.
How did you do with building trust? I’m guessing you weren’t able to do all that work in two days. But do keep those tips in mind as you write your website copy. While your home page copy’s first job is to capture your reader’s attention and draw her in, once you’ve got her attention, you must earn her trust.
Will your website visitors take the time to read your home page copy?
Your sixth copywriting tip is to use subheads and bullets to break up the copy.
This tip might mislead you into thinking short copy is best. That’s not usually the case. A reader needs to know enough to be inspired to take some sort of action, such as:
- clicking to another page on your site;
- signing up for your email newsletter; or
- making a purchase (although for most businesses, few visitors will make a purchase on their first visit).
It’s unlikely your reader will take any of these actions if your content hasn’t whet his desire for what you’re offering, and then built trust.
Studies have shown that long copy outperforms short copy.
If you don’t believe me, do an internet search on long copy vs. short copy. Among your results, you’ll find a nice article by a copywriter I like and respect, Michel Fortin:
Of course, you need to avoid the mistakes covered in this mini-course. And one of those mistakes is a whole page of website copy that has no subheads or bullets.
A big block of text is not fun to read.
Do you ever get emails from a friend who writes in one big block of text? I do. It takes me more time and effort to read those emails.
If my friend just broke up her message into paragraphs it would be easier to read. So how do you make a longish page of website copy easier to read?
Go beyond breaking up paragraphs, and add subheads and bullets.
Breaking your copy into subheads and/or bullets makes it more digestible. Some readers will first scan subheads and bullets before deciding whether or not to read the copy. So ideally, readers should be able to get a feel for what the page is about just by reading the subheads. Keep that in mind as you write your subheads. If that’s too difficult, just do the best you can. Simply having subheads and bullets will make a difference.
If you want to learn more about subheads and bullets, there’s plenty of information about those topics – especially bullets – on the internet. Yes, believe it or not, you could spend years learning about writing bullets. But for now, if you simply use them to break up your copy, you’ll be doing just fine.
If the subheads and bullets in this email made it easier to read, use that fact to help you understand how your readers will respond to your use of the same.Your deeper understanding will help you use this copywriting technique more effectively.
In a couple of days, you’ll be getting your final copywriting tip!
If you have any comments, questions or feedback about this email series, feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be very glad to know if I can do anything to improve this mini-course for you.
Subject Line: Mistake #7: You fail to include a call to action.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the seventh and final copywriting tip:
Always include a call to action.
That simply means asking your website visitor to take some kind of action. Maybe you want them to sign up for your email newsletter. Or sign up for a workshop with you. Be sure to ask your reader to do this near the end of your web page.
You may think this is implied, so it’s not needed. But it’s been shown to increase response to an offer when the call to action is included.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. But let prospects know what you want them to do clearly, and give them the means to do it, whether a phone number, hyperlinked email address, or contact form.
Don’t write a call to action too soon. That can be jarring to your readers. Wait until you’ve told them how our offering benefits them, and offered some trust-building content. It makes sense to simply put the call to action at the end of the page.
Here’s my call to action:
I offer one-on-one coaching to help solopreneurs who find marketing uncomfortable, confusing or overwhelming. If you’d like to see if one-on-one coaching is right for you, you can register for a complimentary session at:
I hope you enjoyed this series and found it helpful. Please let me know what you liked about it and how I can make it better. I welcome your feedback!
Subject Line: Bonus: Your Home Page Copywriting Cheat Sheet
You’ve learned about seven copywriting mistakes and how to fix them. But they’re spread into seven different emails.
I thought you might like having these seven tips in one place, so I’ve attached a PDF file with a summary of the tips.
The emails have a little more information, so it’s a good idea to hang on to them. But when you want a quick review on home page copywriting, I think you’ll find this one-page sheet helpful.
If you need more help writing your home page, I offer one-on-one coaching. Just contact me at Janet@HeartBeat-Coaching.com for a complimentary session to find out if coaching is a good choice for you.