May
24

Coaching Sites That Convert: 5 Tips from a Pro Copywriter

conversion text, business bloggingTime is currency online. The same person that will spend five dollars on a single cup of coffee won’t spend more than 15 seconds on your website.

Unless you know how to pull them in and keep them there.

According to Ginny Soskey at Hubspot, one of the industry leaders in online marketing, 55% of your website visitors will spend less than 15 seconds getting to know you.

The same is true of your blog posts and email, by the way. I know exactly how to convert readers into leads and sales for virtual assistants and business coaches, and I’m going to share some of my best blog and website conversion tips with you.

Ready to get started?

Before you begin, just remember that building a site that converts is a process anyone can learn. It takes a bit of testing and tweaking to make sure it speaks directly to your client, but that’s where the fun begins. And the rules for writing a website are the same for writing a blog post that converts, too.

As you evaluate your own virtual assistant or coaching site with this checklist, keep the 15 Second Rule in mind and the entire process makes total sense.

The Number One Problem of Sites That DON’T Convert

Typically, business owners and potential customers aren’t seeing the site from the same perspective.

When I do a site audit for a client, the first thing I do is read the content from their potential customer’s point of view. There is only ONE goal on your homepage, and you may be surprised, but it isn’t to convince them to hire you.

A homepage should answer one question: Can this person solve my problem? Click To Tweet

Your potential client needs help or they wouldn’t be there. We call that a pain-point. The key to a site that converts is to build a home page that paints a picture of their problem — solved.

Your goal is to answer that question in a way that creates a personal connection. You want them to talk to you about their specific problem. If you can’t make that connection…time’s up!

If your site highlights you, rather than your customer’s pain-points, you’re probably going to have a conversion problem.

Ask yourself a few basic questions.

  • Is the site friendly and inviting?
  • Does the copy focus more on you, or the client?
  • Did you inspire confidence that YOU can solve their problem?

It’s important to appear professional and efficient, but don’t lose the personal connection. You’re in a service profession and people feel connected to someone who is easy to talk with. They’re asking you to help them build their business. That requires earning their trust, so make your site approachable, friendly, and easy to navigate.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

We have a term in copywriting that you should get to know. When you open a website and you see the first screen — without scrolling — this is called “above the fold.” It’s a favorite newspaper/journalism term that means the most important stories are placed front page, “above the fold.”

The same principle applies to websites, blog headlines, and email. The most important information should be above the fold. Why? Remember that 15 seconds? That’s how long you have to make a professional first impression, and convey the most important information.

You’re probably catching on. The first few seconds of contact are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing. Hit ‘em with your best shot, right up front!

You’ve probably heard of the marketing funnel. Moz wrote a terrific article explaining the process, but basically, your website and blog are top of the funnel. People are shopping for someone to solve their problem. They may not be ready to call or ask for contact. They’re learning. They’re researching.

The content on your site, if it’s written with the potential client’s interests and problems in mind, will draw them further down the funnel. It narrows. It brings them closer to you and builds a connection while at the same time, increasing their confidence that you know what you’re doing.

The content that you put above the fold on your homepage is essential for beginning the sales funnel. Yes, in 15 seconds.

To convert, you MUST answer 5 questions above the fold:

  • Who are you?
  • What can you do for me?
  • Do you offer a way to keep me in the loop? (A.k.a. free give-away, newsletter etc.)
  • Can I contact you with ONE click?
  • Do you make site navigation extremely easy?

Explain who you are and what type of solution you offer. Notice I didn’t say what business you offer. Your business is the solution, but they don’t know that yet. Offer a solution. Tell them about the problems you solve. And tell them that you do that as a Coach or Virtual Assistant.

Your business is the solution. Offer solutions not marketing. Click To Tweet

Offer a way to stay in touch and place that prominently. Newsletters are still a great option with excellent conversion, but they are also labor intensive. If you can’t commit to a consistent schedule of content in addition to your blog, consider a short success story or guide to using a virtual assistant, for example.

And above all, if you should get that once-a-year client that wants to talk right away, make it extremely easy to contact you. Put your business phone number at the top, right-hand side of your page along with a clickable link to your contact form. The key is no more than one click or statistics show you’ll lose significant conversion.

Keep the navigation links clear and easy to understand. There are some SEO issues we won’t get into here, but it’s important to keep them easy to identify — no cute page title links. Stoney G deGeyter from Search Engine Journal explains in detail if you want more.

Learn to Write a Killer Headline

The second thread you’re probably beginning to understand is that website visitors are an elusive bunch. Let’s get real. Some have the patience of a toddler. You have to coax them a bit to keep them interested.

Enter the magic of a well written headline.

Headlines are an art, but it’s one you can master. Remember, time is currency online, so if you want them to spend time getting to know your business, you have to give them a reason. A well written headline does exactly that.

Here are a few tips for great headlines.

  • Give them something of value
  • Make a promise
  • Draw a picture
  • Connect an emotion or desire
  • Add keywords for SEO

I love it when I can help someone else succeed. I think you can relate. When you write a headline, offer great value that can be of immediate use to someone, and then over-deliver in the content.

Offer great value than can be of immediate use and over deliver! Click To Tweet

Keywords for search engine optimization is a behemoth of a subject, but they play an essential role in the art of a headline so make sure to use them. Just remember to choose keywords that are relevant to the reader and use them at the beginning of the headline where possible.

It’s super easy to make a promise, and in my professional opinion, you should really work this one to make it worthy. It’s too easy to write, “Lose 20 Pounds by Next Weekend!” Sure it gets attention, but you’re bordering on click-bait, which is a way of playing on a promise that is almost too good to be true. Almost. People click to be sure. But if you can’t follow through with a truly amazing promise, you risk your reputation.

Hubspot has a great tagline, which is essentially a headline for their business. Where Marketers Go to Grow. It creates an immediate picture in your mind. “If I go here, my marketing skills are going to grow. I’ll have more value to offer others as well as my own business.” They paint a picture, offer value, a promise, and make you feel empowered and confident.

The ultimate goal of a good headline.

Know Your Customer

This sounds very basic, but actually, it’s the small things that count when you are creating a business website that converts.

Know exactly what makes them tick. Is their business exploding quickly? That’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Maybe they’re looking for help because they’re nervous about not being able to deliver.

Or maybe they would love to hire a virtual assistant, but they aren’t sure exactly what tasks you perform. No one likes to look uninformed. Both sound like great blog posts that provide value, create a connection, and build your reputation. A win-win.

Find out as much as you can about your potential clients, especially if you’re in a specialty niche. Build a file that includes:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • What social media they prefer
  • The tone of voice they use when talking to their own clients
  • What professional associations they may belong to
  • Which trade journals they read

Anything that helps you strengthen the connection and enables you to offer the highest quality service is a perfect addition.

The Most Overlooked Point of Conversion

At the end of the day you’ve built a customer-focused site, provided value, over-delivered and written pages and blog posts that already help with their business. You’ve earned their trust.

Have you missed the one essential step to converting visitors to clients?

Ask for their business!

We call that a “call to action,” and it’s possibly the most overlooked component. You can’t have a site that converts if it’s a one-sided relationship. Don’t be shy. Let them know you’re looking forward to working with them and you’re available to talk if they have questions.

“Build it and they will come,” is a myth. As we know, it takes more than building a website. But if you want a site that converts, follow the five basic rules of writing for an online business and then invite them in by providing customer-focused content. They will come.

So what about your site? Are you ready to dive in and convert more visitors to clients? I hope I’ve given you some ideas that will help. I’d love to hear your comments. And if you like the tips, don’t forget to share!

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Ursula Vogt

Ursula Vogt is a professional B2B copywriter and sustainability marketing specialist. She specializes in helping small and medium-sized companies market like a rock star! You can read more at The SME Marketing Blog. You can also email Ursula@UrsulaVogt.com.

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