A Sales Perspective on Web Copy That Converts

November 11, 2015 Sean Work

Sometimes the easiest way to bring in leads is to let your website copy do the work. You have visitors stopping by each and every day, taking a look at what your product or service has to offer.

Your website is usually the first “sales person” visitors meet before they enter your sales funnel.

With this in mind, you may have a few questions:

What is my website saying to these prospects? Is it even on target?

What do these visitors think of us? Are they impressed? Are they interested in what we have to say?

Wait a sec. Are we saying too much? Are prospects answering their own questions and leaving?!? Are they doing so without talking to a real human sales representative? OH NO!

Your website copy is incredibly critical to your sales process. On one hand, all the jargon and information you vomit out on to your webpages brings in search engine traffic. On the other hand, the way it’s said can make visitors click away instantly.

Most companies focus on just the first part: get the pages up and the traffic coming in. Very few carefully consider how the copy should covert or direct prospects toward the next step.

The SEO Dilemma

Obviously, before you do anything, you need traffic. You need to get people to your homepage.

In order to get search engines like Google to know what your website is about, you should create several pages based on your business offering. The general format I recommend is this:

  • The homepage – Really boil down your unique selling proposition and value proposition. What’s the one thing you do well? Use this information for your homepage title tag and webpage copy.
  • Individual webpages for each product, service, benefit and use case. Creating individual pages is a strategy to attract targeted traffic for the things you do; hopefully, the things people are searching for. Again, by crafting your title tags and page copy for unique URLs, you will get the targeted search engine traffic to the right page, where you can hopefully convert those visitors.

basic website structure

When you’re making these pages for the first time, it’s completely acceptable to be long-winded and to pile on the description, details and jargon. It’s actually your best shot at getting that organic traffic to ramp up. Well, that and a killer PR launch strategy.

Over time, this type of copy will probably not convert very well. As a matter of fact, it might keep visitors from contacting you or filling out a lead generation form. This is when you’ll need to take your web copy to the next level with a new strategy.

Get Your Testing Hats On!

What you’re about to embark on is an A/B testing campaign. But instead of the hypothesis being formed from a marketing hunch, it’s coming from a sales perspective.

The hypothesis is:

If we write copy that doesn’t explain everything we do, but rather creates interest and most important – questions, our visitors will be more likely to actively inquire about our products and services.

The next step will be to design your variation web pages with either a contact or lead generation form (in case your current website is lacking that kind of functionality).  Alternately, you can create pages where the visitor is urged to call a phone number. Either way, pick a call-to-action that makes the most sense for your company.

There are some testing rules you’ll need to be aware of too:

  • You need enough traffic to get statistically significant results. You’ll want to calculate the appropriate sample size before you start any tests.
  • You’ll need to test for a long enough duration before you call a “winner.”
  • Make sure you test over a couple of weeks to cover all the nuances of your typical business cycle.

Read this article for more information on how to operate a proper A/B test.

How Should This Variant Copy Read?

I’ve always had my own conflicting battles on whether website copy should be about the benefits or about the features (or a mixture of both). Most people will say, “IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE BENEFITS! DUH!” But I’ve worked at places where just talking about benefits didn’t really seem to work.

When I worked at Kissmetrics, we had fairly obscure website copy that focused on the benefits only. And every day I would run into people who would ask me: “What does Kissmetrics do exactly?”

Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise. Again, going back to the idea that if your visitors really want to know about what it is you do and can’t figure it out from your website copy, they may be more likely to make an inquiry.

Let’s now put on our copywriting hats and do what all good writers do. Let’s get a little crazy. We’ll start by writing and iterating some homepage copy. Here’s the first attempt:

“Are you confused about what we do? Let me answer your questions!”

As crazy as it sounds, it might be on the path to a gold mine of leads. You can always refine the messaging to something like:

“You hear of people using our software, but you’re still not sure what is it we do – right? Let me answer your questions.”

And after some more iterations and refinement, you might come up with:

“Let me give you three reasons our software will make your life as a ______ easier. If, after we talk, you still don’t think it will help, then I’ll send you a free ________.”

It’s possible that this style and tone doesn’t fit your brand image. In another (more mild) testing campaign, you could simply test different edits of your existing website copy as a new testing variation. In your variations, you would remove some of the extra detail from your copy (remember, the idea is we don’t want visitors answering their own questions and moving along) and highlight the call(s)-to-action more.

This will build up the number of questions in your prospects' minds, making it more likely that they will start a conversation with a rep. As a bonus, you could make your call-to-action explain that they will be chatting with your founder or CEO (that would be a fun test!).

Let’s look at a real life example for the sake of analysis. The Pure Chat homepage doesn’t talk about any features in detail. But their homepage does get right to the point:

pure chat example

If I were looking for a chat solution, I would be pretty much sold. But then again, I am a web developer, so I know I can implement this myself in 3 minutes.

Perhaps if I were less technically inclined and was sent on a bird-dog mission for live chat software, this wouldn’t necessarily sell me.

Maybe a better thing to say would be:

“What are you looking for in a Live Chat solution? Let’s chat now and see if we’re a good fit.”

And in the spirit of crazy:

“What are you looking for in a Live Chat solution? Let’s chat now and see if we’re a good fit. And if we’re not, we’ll recommend a solution that we think will be best for your needs.”

You would obviously A/B test this second variant copy to your original. If you found that this second variant copy generated more leads, it could be possible that you won prospects over with your honesty and integrity.

There is one final lesson that we should go over from this example. Notice the FAQ link in the navigation:

That page could be their downfall.

That’s where someone who would be a good prospect might visit to get all their questions answered. And then leave. Never to return.

It might be wise to make your FAQ section accessible only to registered users. Or write your FAQ section carefully – make it more of a lead generation page than a support document. Again, this would be something worth testing.

Finally, if you are just starting out, a homepage like this is really bad for SEO. There isn’t much copy on it. And since your homepage is really the most important page for SEO, having a page heavy with descriptive text will really help Google send targeted traffic to your site.

So, for all of you who are just starting out, you might want to consider getting long-winded on your homepage at first. Get that traffic coming to your site. Let Google know what you’re really about, and then make copy refinements later down the line.


The point of all this is: let sales come up with some website copy. They know what works with your customers since they are on the phone with them all day. I would challenge marketing departments to regularly A/B test copy that sales thinks up. Their insights might form the winning hypothesis for your next test!

About the Author: Sean Work is the VP of Inbound over at Crazy Egg.

Featured Image Source: Woman Working on Macbook Air Laptop by Kaboompics License Kaboompics 

About the Author

Sean Work is the founder of Judicious Inc.

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