Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Short guide to help busy business owners to improve their websites, 24 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers (Kindle Edition)
This is a well written, short book that covers the basics of copywriting for websites by an author based in Manchester, UK.

There are six chapters:
1 How are you writing for?
2 Benefits and problems
3 Your value proposition
4 How to write persuasive website content
5 How to edit your text
6 How to optimize your web copy for search engines

That last chapter is the shortest and the one I felt most uneasy about. Google in continually changing its algorithm and after the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, tactics that worked in the past are now penalised if done too much.

Elsewhere, I'd have liked to have seen more emphasis on testimonials and proof elements. They are mentioned but it's a common area of weakness in copy. I don't recall seeing any advice on risk reversal and guarantees.

The author wants you to focus on the benefits of what you sell. That's fairly standard with the emphasis of moving from features to advantages and finally to benefits. I've seen that advice lead to superficial copy so beware of ignoring the features. They can give credibility to your benefits and may be a criteria the buyer is using to narrow search selection. For example, this fancy computer will help you to get more done (benefit) because it is very quick (advantage). That's because it includes Intel's latest chip, the super-fancy-widget (feature).

The author downplays the idea of a unique selling proposition. I think you need to be careful.

Yes it's virtually impossible to be unique in the world but is that really what is needed? Most buyers are usually much more constrained in choice because of practical issues like location.

You need to know your ABCD. You need an Advantage that's Better, Cheaper or Different.

The entire point of a search engine is that it groups like items together. It's like the Yellow Pages on the strongest steroids in the world. Concentrating on benefits can make your copy very similar to your competitors and your business disappears into a sea of sameness.

Look at your list of benefits. Look at your closest competitors benefits and be honest. Is there much difference? I've encouraged clients to play a game of marketing bingo (or Yellow Pages bingo) to emphasise this point. If customers can't see a difference, then they are usually guided by price and convenience.

I like the book and recommend it to business owners and marketing specialists who don't have a deep knowledge of copy and who want a short guide. If you're a copywriter, there's next to nothing that you won't have read before.

If you are prepared to read more deeply, I highly recommend The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (And Why They Don't). It's astonishing value as a Kindle book at the moment at just £3.70.
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