Homepage Copywriting

Go on – write your own home page for that most important marketing document: your website

The home page of a website can be either an extension of the ego, or a powerful marketing tool. Research shows that web browsers finding a website take 4 seconds to decide whether it is worth reading (grabbing their attention). If they don’t think so, they click out. If they decide that it seems to be worth their while, they take another 15 seconds to decide whether to read all the information (arousing their interest), or click out.

To entice them to read all the information, and react positively to it, the internationally accepted AIDA approach is extremely effective:

A         attract Attention
I           arouse Interest
D         create Desire
A         instigate Action

In the times we live in, very few “gaps” are still available where you will be the sole player in the field. The question is therefore not why the prospective client should use the product or service, but why he should buy it from you and not from a competition firm. Unique Selling Points play an important role in this decision. For the copywriter to write an effective home page, he should know and understand the USP of your business or organization.

In practice, the AIDA approach catches the reader’s attention by addressing negatives he may have experienced, be experiencing, or is anticipating. Then his interest is aroused by painting the ideal situation for him. Desire is created by the solution offered by your product(s) and/or service(s). On a website, action can be called for in various ways – like, for instance, making it very easy for the reader to contact the firm and, if feasible, making (a) special offer(s) within a limited time frame (as in an ordinary sales letter) etcetera.

The first requirement for success of a home page is of course that people who do an internet search must find it. For this reason the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialists provide meta-tags to build into the copy, that will be found by the search engines. To prevent cosmetic copy adaptations to accommodate the meta-tags, the copywriter must have them at his disposal when writing the copy so they can form an integral part of the text, not stick out like clumsy sore thumbs and ruin the natural flow and emotional content of the text.  NB: Do you know that search engines do not pick up “flash” (photos/illustrations); and that the optimal word count for a home page, according to the SEO specialists, is 600 – 800 words?

Perceptions play an important role – how the client perceives your product/service and what it will do for him is more important that the product/service itself. Placing yourself in the position of the reader is more difficult that it sounds because, in order to do that, you must be able to distance yourself from the business that you know inside out. A professional sales copywriter does not have this problem.

The emotional content of words is one of the most overlooked aspects of copywriting. Compare, for example “Cheapy Corner” with “Bargain Basement” (Cheap = something of no or little value; Bargain = something of value at a very good price); or “Queries” v. “Enquiries”. The first indicates a problem, a question mark that you put behind something. The latter means that you want to know more.

The bottom line is simple: Don’t think you can write your own home page because you know the business inside out; or that your Grade 11 daughter can do it because she writes such beautiful essays. Commission the services of a specialist copywriter, experienced in writing that very important “sales letter” – your website’s home page.

My fee for writing a homepage is R950; and a one-hour pre-meeting at your premises – which I recommend – is R300 (applies to the Greater Pretoria area. Outside it, a travelling fee of R2/km is also payable). NB: Capital City Business Chamber members pay even less.

NB: If I am doing Marketing Strategy Development for your company, there is no need for a pre-meeting, and I only charge R600 for writing the home page copy (CCBC members pay even less).

NNB: I write homepage copy for businesses in any English speaking country worldwide.

“Polishing” the balance of your website copy can be negotiated.

This is what a satisfied customer had to say about a sales letter I wrote for him…

Where I used to get 2 or 3 appointments with my old approach, with the first try using the approach that you had worked out for me, I got 10 appointments – some of the firms even phoned to make an appointment before I could do a follow-up on my letter of approach.

Willie van Rensburg,
ITO Focus Network

Here are a few examples of Homepages on diverse topics written by Marnus Roothman, and  what some clients say about the Homepages he has done for them:

represent the whole business spectrum: • private business • the public sector • non-profit organisations • welfare organisations.

A few examples of web sites we have done copywriting for include:-

  • http://www.dreamfieldsguesthouse.com

Here are a comment by a satisfied Homepage customer:

Hi Marnus,
They were not lying when they said you were the best. Thank you! I love the write-up on my homepage!

April Stubbings Internationally qualified Personal Trainer

P O Box 11425, Queenswood 0121, Pretoria, South Africa; Telephone: 0796341340
Fax: 0866103375; E-mail: bodymind@lantic.net
(international telephone code: +27 and drop the 0)