"Can you give me some feedback on my website?" a life coach named "Kevin" asked his e-zine subscribers. "I just revised my site - -finally!"
Naturally, I couldn't resist clicking over to see what Kevin had done. I knew Kevin was a thoughtful coach with a reputation for high integrity.
Kevin's new site cried out for a re-makeover. He had paid a designer to get drop-down menus and a bit of flash. As a result, Kevin admitted, "I have no budget to pay a copywriter."
After skimming a few pages of the site, I emailed Kevin. "Who is your target market? What do you offer? How are you unique?"
Kevin replied, "I asked for feedback. I don't have time to answer a lot of questions. And everyone tells me the site looks professional."
Okay. I can take a hint.
Sure, the site looks professional. But Kevin admits he's in trouble. So far, he's gotten nothing but compliments -- no orders and no calls.
What can we learn from Kevin?
(1) Copywriters can save you money.
Often I (and other experienced copywriters) can save clients money on web design. Kevin didn't need all those bells and whistles. In fact, some Internet marketing gurus claim they do more harm than good.
And Kevin didn't understand HTML, let alone CSS. A copywriter might serve as go-between, translating Kevin's requirements into web design language. Your web designer saves time - which translates into saving money.
(2) Copywriters help you earn money.
Reading between the lines, I discovered Kevin could be a stand-out. He has developed an innovative 5-step process to help clients overcome obstacles and take charge of their lives.
But Kevin doesn't realize why he's unique, so his website reads like five thousand other life coaching sites: vague promises of "take your life to the next level," "discover what's important to you" and "enjoy the work you love."
Naturally I'm disguising the details of "Kevin's" story, but I really don't have to. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of sites sound just like Kevin's.
(3) Copywriting is collaborative.
Like Kevin, my clients often think they can show me a few pages of a website and say, "Make it sell!" Copywriting requires energy and planning, whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or a firm believer in outsourcing to a specialist.
My clients often invest many hours answering my questionnaire. As they write, they often realize there's a hole in their business strategy. Or they're sitting on buried treasure.
Until I know what Kevin wants to do with his website and his business, I can't make realistic recommendations - even as a casual ezine reader. I need to evaluate Kevin's copy in the context of Kevin's own goals, target market and unique selling proposition.
Kevin could do this himself. But, like most busy business owners, he didn't want to invest the time. And he wasn't sure what questions to ask.
When clients hire me, we have the luxury (and fun!) of creating a marketing message that hits the target market squarely in the center of the bull's-eye.
Bottom Line: Websites deliver messages. Without a message, a website is a calling card - nice when you have more business than you can handle.
Most of the time, revising copy brings traffic and sales. Websites typically earn back the copy investment with just a few new clients, not to mention saving energy and funds by avoiding a makeover to recover the makeover.
And one day you realize you're not getting compliments... but you *are* getting sales.