Myths About Web Copy Are Holding Your Business Back From Success

There are many common myths in marketing about what makes web copy successful—here are a few to debunk before developing your website's strategy.

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There’s no doubt that a company’s website plays an important role in building credibility and brand awareness. But for many marketers, optimized website copy isn’t their first priority—or even their second or third. 

Let’s look at that. As the world turns increasingly digital, users expect everything—information, reasons to buy, success stories—at their fingertips, and are willing to act on these data points in the here and now. That suggests websites that convert may be the cornerstone of your revenue generation strategies. And yet, our growth team receives numerous inquiries from marketers eager to grow traffic and generate leads, while clear-headedly acknowledging that their website copy isn’t up to par. 

We believe it’s because many of the following misconceptions prevail or linger.

Myth 1. Our website copy doesn’t have to convert, since we get new leads through word of mouth referrals, ads, social media, SEO, and/or outbound sales efforts. 

This one strikes us as odd. While other channels may account for the bulk of your brand’s leads, companies that rely on those avenues to the exclusion of a great website miss a huge opportunity. Not only do inbound leads represent a large audience outside your natural network, they’re often pre-qualified, eager to engage, and most importantly: remarkably easy to close. Improve your website, and your sales teams will thank you forever. 

What’s more, all leads—whether gained through ads, SEO strategies, word of mouth referrals, outreach, or other means—will naturally do their homework and seek out your website. It makes no sense to invest in those other channels, only to showcase a website that doesn’t live up to your brand’s actual, remarkable value. You’ll just undo the efforts you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Myth 2. ‘Any’ writer can write web copy. We’ll hire one or tap someone in-house—and they’ll produce the pages we need. 

Effective website copy appeals to every stage of the buying funnel. It provides information and insights that your most coveted audience wants and needs—and presents it to them in a way that’s digestible and easy. But for writers not intimately familiar with the way a website unfolds, it can be a bear to try to write. 

Professional website copywriters that specialize in conversion have a different take. They’ll understand how to wrangle whole strategies, winnowing your complex brand positioning down into a single glorious line or five, missing nary a key concept. 

They’ll know how to appeal to audiences everywhere along the buying funnel—giving the right hat-tip to connection and rapport, trust and proof points, persuasion and urgency and action. These focal points aren’t really templateable: they’re vastly different across brands, value propositions, personas, and micro-eras. Even within a single website, they differ widely across sections and pages and phrases. There’s no one right way—but there is always a way that measurably works.

It’s not realistic to expect in-house marketers, freelance writers, and journalists to master these principles and whip out effective web copy, with zero practice. We recommend a copywriter with on-point experience, perhaps overseen by a strategist with hundreds or thousands of websites under their belt. 


Learn why the best return on your marketing dollar comes from copywriting.

Myth 3. No one “reads” a website. 

Even though 79% of people only “scan” the web pages they look at, that doesn’t mean that the words on your page aren’t important. In fact, that makes the words even more important. What else do you think those eyes are scanning for? Your subheads need to capture the essence of each paragraph so scanners still have a takeaway—even if they don’t want to settle down to read. Oh but if you give them something super relevant to their lives? Your website copy is suddenly juicier than the best novel in the world. 

Myth 4. Effective web copy needs to tell a story. 

The truth is, effective web copy doesn’t always have to tell a story—at least, not a classic story with a beginning, middle, and end. Usually there isn’t enough space for that. Instead, the writing needs to be pithy, succinct, and compelling. It needs to be well-positioned. And it needs to drive an objective, in a way that will resoundly work. 

Myth 5. Effective web copy needs to be salesy (and who wants salesy copy?). 

Actually, the opposite is true. Effective web copy should connect with the right readers at the outset, and guide them through an effective journey—without overtly selling. 

 

MarketSmiths Case Study 

Sotheby’s International Real Estate (SIR) are a highly respected name in international real estate who needed a commemorative 40th anniversary advertorial for their upcoming New York City publication. They decided to take on the MarketSmiths team of copywriting experts to deliver something truly memorable—and they weren’t disappointed. The team worked closely with SIR to pinpoint what makes the brand special, and then harnessed those learning into inspirational, motivating copy. The result? SIR’s top exec signed his name to it.

> Read the full study 

 

Myth 6. Since it’s short, writing web copy should be quick and easy. 

Short, pithy copy often takes more experience, higher skill, and better efforts than other formats. It requires research, focus, and strategic thinking. 

Debunking these misconceptions is step one. Next step: read our post on how an effective strategy comes into play—and how to get it

In short, strategic and well-positioned website copy might not aim to convert—but it can pull qualified leads into your sales funnel, then continuing to deliver value to them until they’re ready. And if it doesn’t, your brand may be missing an opportunity to gain a stream of inbound leads: ready to engage or buy.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business succeed.

Jean Tang

Jean Tang

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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