Creating a good first impression comes down to a number of factors, but in this article I want to talk about your website’s words, its copy. I want to help you to assess whether your copy is fulfilling its primary objective: to win over prospective clients. You want your site visitors to pick up the phone and arrange a meeting.
Effective copy comes through a rock-solid understanding of your place in the market, your core strengths and your clients. I call this “foundation work”. Spending even two hours on your foundation work – before you open the laptop – will improve the efficacy of your copy and your website.
So put aside a couple of hours and let’s begin.
Step 1. Core strengths
You’re usually really good at something because you enjoy it. So what do you really enjoy? As an architect you need to be across a zillion things. You’re not doing everything brilliantly but you will excel at the parts you really enjoy. Your job here is to tease out these strengths and work out how they benefit your clients. For example, let’s say you love detailing. You love the challenge of bringing together disparate materials and surfaces. All your projects illustrate this fine resolve; the client benefits by having a home that should look and wear better. It could need less maintenance and add more value at resale.
When you articulate and communicate your core strengths you attract clients who appreciate these strengths, which means you get to do more of the type of work you love.
Aim to list three to five core strengths, and how they benefit clients.
Step 2. Competitors
The purpose of this step is to assess the website copy of your five chief competitors. Do they advertise core strengths to prospective customers, and what are they? What key vocabulary are they using (or overusing)? What subject matter does their content cover?
Step 3. Clients
This section will assist you to keep clients’ needs front of mind so that you create client-centric copy. You do this by creating user profiles or customer personas, which help you to think through your clients’ “pain points”. Create up to five user profiles, and fill in these sections:
User profile (In order of priority)
- Profile (What type of person they are: psychographic, demographics and so on)
- Scenario (Why they’ve come to you and what they’re hoping to achieve)
- Pain points (What questions do they need answered?)
You can download a free sample template to help you do this.
Step 4. Difference
Now that you’ve got a grip on your competitors and clients, and what you’re really good at, this is the time to decide on what points of difference define your business. What makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace? You’re looking for ways to play to your strengths, and opportunities to offer something different.
These points of difference can be noted in a ‘message hierarchy’, a list of the key points, in order of importance. They will inform your business writing. For example, one of my client’s message hierarchy included ‘upfront fees’; another included ‘transparent project management’.
With this foundation work done, you can now start your copywriting with more confidence and certainly of its purpose. Good luck.
Verity Campbell specialises in copywriting for architects and other design professionals. You can learn more by visiting her website www.veritycampbell.com.au