“This is my website text,” said L. as he handed me four pages of densely written script in French. I perused it for a few seconds and thought at first that he had mistakenly handed me an academic article.
As a highly qualified chiropractor and coach looking to serve a high-end market, L. is both fascinated by and enthusiastic not only about helping people achieve greater physical and mental wellbeing, but also the mechanics of how that happens in the body. It’s all about the interplay of our posture, our metabolism, our emotional state and our energy. A lot of deep study has gone into the field, and you can go as far down that particular rabbit hole as your brain will carry you, even down to the level of the ganglion (not to mention the basal ganglion and the pseudoganglion, naturally).
The question is, do you need to share that depth of insight with your clients, when in fact you’re trying to sell them a series of top-of-the-range health and wellbeing programmes, including weekends, homestays, or entire weeks with a range of treatments, massages, consultations and even meditation.
Quite possibly not.
And yet L.’s original “copy” set out to do just that. It was all about the rationale for the service, with a few details of the “features” (time, price, etc), while completely omitting the “benefits” (what the service will actually do for your client and how it will change their life in some way).
For anyone without a profound interest in and knowledge of neurophysiology, it was pretty hard-going.
Not, in other words, the kind of text you expect to see when you searching for an opportunity to combine treatment for your back pain or reducing your stress levels with a little break for you and your loved one
I suggested as much to L., who then decided, after I’d explained in more detail how I would approach it as a writer, to try me out.
So after our initial consultation and a further interview, we began to re-engineer the whole sitemap. And in terms of the copy, the starting point became not “Who we are” or “What we know” but “Here’s how we understand your problem.”
We did a quick tour of who the most likely customers were, what their motivations were for seeking out such a website in the first place, and above all, what the likely benefits were to them. It’s not hard to work out: better physical and mental health speaks for itself — but that doesn’t mean you can assume everyone will automatically conclude that unless you spell it out.
That provided a much stronger basis for our “pitch”. The first thing your customer wants to feel when they arrive on your site is that you “get” them, that you understand them. And that all comes down to what you write.
To show them you’ve got the right service or product, you have to start out by talking about them more than you talk about you, your life story, or the magic of what you do.
By all means go into the details of the mechanics elsewhere in the site, for those who are really interested, and want to find out more. It’s never a bad idea to show you know what you’re talking about. But that shouldn’t be your opening gambit. Your Home and About pages are crucial for reeling the customer in, by seeing the world through their eyes.
So to begin with, ask yourself three crucial questions:
1. Who is likely to come to my site?
2. What pain or problem or fear has driven them to look up the service I provided’
3. How exactly will what I do help them?
Once you’ve nailed these three, then the copy will flow of its own accord.
As long as you hire a decent writer of course.
If you speak French, check out what we finally did with the Optimum Health site at https://optimumhealth.fr.