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Increase Your Site's Response Factor in Three Steps

"What am I supposed to do?"

You may not know it but that's a question your visitors may be asking right now. And it's also one you need to avoid at all costs, or else it will cost you in traffic and sales. In other words, if people become lost on your site at any point, you, in turn, will lose them. Forever.

Granted, your website may compel your visitor's attention and present an irresistible offer. But if it fails to propel their actions, too, you will probably wonder why it's not producing any sales or why it's getting such a poor response. If that's the case, let me offer a few suggestions you can implement.

Does Your Website Ask For The Order?
One solution is to visually take readers "by the hand." Tell them or show them what you want them to do, even if what you want them to do is simple, intuitive or obvious. Adding simple "hand-holding" components to your web copy may seem trite. But it's not about obeying the rules of web usability, it's about using common sense. And today, it's also about surviving.

For instance, I often make the case that a book or magazine is limited by its front and back covers. But a website, however, is not. If the goal is only to inform your visitors, and like the closing of a book once it's finished, the only thing left to do will be to close the browser window or leave the site.

But if you require some kind of response, even if it's to just to keep reading, then you must integrate words that direct the reader and elicit some kind of response. Whether it's to join, subscribe, buy, call, email, fill out a form, download or just click a link, incorporate words like "click here," "download this," "buy that," "join now," "read more" and so on.

Give Your Visitors A "HEAD" Start
In order to encourage longer stays, repeat visits and, above all, online sales, you need not only to direct your audience to take some kind of action but also to make it easy for them to do so. And the most important step in accomplishing that is to first direct your visitors' attention (i.e., their eyes).

Online, people don't read. They scan. Unlike a book that's read from cover to cover, people don't read entire web pages from top to bottom. How often do you read entire newspapers, for example? You likely scan them and stop at a headline that captures your attention, piques your curiosity and pulls you into the article. Reading web copy is a more wearying task.

Therefore, don't write to be read. Write to be scanned. Keep your paragraphs short at around four to five lines deep, and incorporate many headers throughout your copy by adding one at every two to five paragraphs. Use different sizes, colors or fonts that make them stand out. And above all, write a header with the assumption that the preceding text was not read.

Pull Them In To See What's In
When scanning, what people will read the most is what stands out the most. It includes headlines, headers and underlined text links. Therefore, use words that are inviting, invoking and intriguing with these components. The words you use must force them to stop and feel what follows cannot be ignored.

Avoid overused and hackneyed expressions, such as "Welcome to [Whatever]." Start with an active verb that tells your readers exactly what to do or what they will be doing. For example, if it's for a product description, don't use words like: "Here's a Description of Our Widget." Instead, use: "Discover how to get [benefit] with our widgets now!"

Here are more examples:
  • Rather than, "Professional Debt Resolution," write, "Break Free From Debt And Sleep Better at Night With Our Guidance!"

  • Instead of "Home-Based Business Success," use, "Uncover Profitable Business Opportunities Hidden in Your Own Home!"

  • Rather than, "Affordable Diamond Business," say, "Mine Your Own Business ... At 'Rock' Bottom Prices, Too! Here's How."
In The Final Analysis

When I conduct copy critique consultations, about 97% of the websites I analyze are lifeless, confusing or unproductive, or fail to adequately lead visitors to take some kind of action. As an example, many of my clients tell me, "Our website is for branding, not sales!" But then they wonder why people aren't joining their mailing lists or returning to their websites.

Whether your website is for branding or direct marketing, the fact remains that you probably still want to elicit some kind of response from your visitors. Direct your visitors to take some kind of action or lead them to a specific outcome. Write your copy by integrating some form of direct response formula (i.e., words or mechanisms that compel readers to act).

For instance, add calls to action, even if they're as simple as asking your visitors to continue reading. Don't distract them with too many things to do, including too many external links or marketing messages. If you offer too many choices, visitors will find it hard to make one. Instead, offer choices later on based on the specific path or paths a user follows.

Ultimately, transform the words on your website into blinders that will steer visitors in the direction of your choosing.

About the author:
Michel Fortin is a copywriter, author and consultant dedicated to turning businesses into powerful magnets. His specialty are long copy, email and web sales letters. Get a FREE copy of his ebook and subscribe to his FREE monthly email newsletter, "The Profit Pill," by visiting right now!

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