5 Reasons Why Your Website Copy is Driving Prospects Away

authentic branding resonance story copywriting website design Oct 29, 2023

Maybe you've already gone through a website redesign at some point. Actually, if you are like most clients, maybe you’ve gone through several iterations of your website. And it’s still not converting leads. 


In fact, I just heard it the other day from a prospect when he was referring to the process of branding: 

“Lee! I’ve done this so many times already!”

(He was realizing that what I was proposing was THE step he had skipped and the one that would solve his problem.)


He’s in the same boat as so many I talk to. You do all the work, get the website all ready with design and functionality for the entire site and you launch…  expecting that all those leads will come pouring in. After all, you have set up the website to do just that. Haven’t you?


But your list doesn’t grow. The leads aren’t pouring in.  Now you regret all the thousands of dollars you spent on a new website, and all for nothing. 


It’s because the one thing you needed to do, you didn’t. The one critical element of your website that is sadly overlooked - and the most important when it comes to converting visitors: your website copy


Most times, copywriting is shoehorned into the process, or sidestepped at the beginning. You answer those standard “eight” questions, and hand it over to your website person for them to then build your site. 


They go to work - taking your money without doing the deep work: 


Truly understanding your business, your clients’ needs, and your vision going forward.


It may be a great website. It looks great, and offers a nice feel. The functionality of it is probably solid. 


But before you call another website designer, before you try the next marketing tactic, you might want to take a look at your content and see if it can be improved. 


Let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons your website copy isn’t resonating with prospects and how you can make it more compelling and increase your success for your inbound marketing initiatives.


1. You don’t explain how your product or service helps your prospects solve their problem.


When talking about your product or services, the tendency is to list out the features. For example, if your service is helping women become more financially successful, and the first thing you think of is building a custom portfolio, that is a feature, a component of your service, not a benefit.


A common mistake on websites is messaging that mixes up features with benefits. We want to always make sure we are answering this question: “How are you going to make their life better?” 


In our example, if the feature is the portfolio, then a benefit would be feeling in control of the direction of your life. They can feel that - it speaks to them on an emotional level. 


I’m not saying listing features isn’t important - but what will get people to take action is to let them know you really understand them. You have taken the time, or had the experience, to clearly state exactly what they are grappling with. You understand their problem. They will get that by reading the copy. 


“It’s not the logo that creates the connection. It’s a person’s ability to see that you understand their problem.”


If you want your prospects to easily identify your solution as the thing they need, then you must clearly articulate how your solution is going to solve their problem



2. You aren’t upfront with pricing

Regardless of your industry, people want to know how much something is going to cost them before they buy it.


This automatically brings up a lot of resistance for many reasons such as: 


  • People won’t understand the value to justify the cost
  • The cost is customized, and depends on different factors that are revealed in the sales process
  • Competitors will see how much you charge


But because people will pass you by if you don’t, let’s break these down. 


  • Provide a professionally designed, downloadable PDF document detailing why you charge what you do. If your visitor feels like it’s too much, then they are not a good client for you. Good! You vetted them out! No one wants to waste time on discovery calls only to find out they can’t pay you. 
  • Include a general range and talk about the determining factors that can move the cost up or down. You can say, “Investments beginning at $5,000.”
  • What are your competitors charging? If you know, that should tell you something. Because listing your prices, they will know yours too. Besides, this doesn't really matter if you have positioned yourself powerfully, and have followed the rest of the tips in this article. 


Here is an example of one of our clients who is a book marketing consultant and who goes into great detail of the features (this is a good place for features;-) and then she adds her pricing. 

Notice too that she offers a free downloadable PDF to answer questions as prospects are considering this program. And under that is a testimonial speaking about a client’s experience with this program.  

3. You talk too much about yourself

Try this little exercise: Go to your homepage (or any page) and count the number of times you refer to yourself or your company. Look for when you use “we,” “our,” etc.


Now count the number of times you refer to your prospect and buyer. You will be using words like “you” and “your” - as if you are speaking right to them. 


You get the idea. Which survey has the higher number? 

Hopefully not the first where you are talking way too much about yourself and not nearly enough about your prospect. 

You know what people care about? NOT you! 


They could care less about what letters you have behind your name, where you went to school or how many awards you’ve won. They care about one thing - “How are you going to make my life better?”


They care about what your product or service is going to do for them.


Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes, and one of my favorite marketers, explains this so well when talking about writing for your homepage:


Part of understanding your customers is truly knowing what motivates them. When you know what that is, you’re able to communicate how you can help them. You want your homepage to say, ‘We get you. And what’s more, you belong here. We understand your challenges, your fears, your pain, your hopes, your needs. We shoulder your burdens. We’ve got your back. We’ll give you a leg up.’ 

"Whichever of those metaphors you prefer, the main headline on your page should communicate that customer-centric value. Remember: your value is not what you do or what you sell, it’s what you do for your customers. That shift may seem subtle, but it’s everything.”



4. There’s no proof that others have used your service

Online reviews matter. Research shows  that:


  • 98% of people regularly read online reviews,
  • 46% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 
  • 68% form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.


I always read the reviews. I can’t imagine buying something over a few hundred dollars without reading the reviews first. Hell, I read reviews when I’m shopping for a $50 sweater! 


I want to hear what others are saying about it. 

And guess what!? Social proof is often cited as a key element to include on your website. 


People look for social proof on websites. When it’s missing, it feels like your company isn’t as trustworthy or credible as it could be.


Case studies, testimonials, and reviews on your site all provide prospects with context as to how your product or service impacted your customers' lives. 


The more specific you can be, the better. Adding their photo is a must as it makes the person real. 


Highlighting real people and real companies who are your clients will help establish trust and give confidence to your visitor to take the next step. 



5. You don’t provide information so prospects can self-assess fit

We are savvy buyers. Gone are the days of easy persuasion, a few well-placed reviews, and attractive design. Today's buyer wants to be in control of the buying process. 


Buyers today have done research to determine what they think they need. They want to verify they are making the right choice by choosing you and your firm. 


But if your brand story is falling short in telling them about the problems you solve and the solution you offer, they won’t be able to discern. If they’re unclear, then it’s a guarantee they’ll move on to look for another site that clearly makes them feel understood and their proposed solution is worthy of a deeper look. 


Blogs, like this one, are a great way to answer the most common questions your prospects ask. This pre-paves the way for a more effective discovery call.


This way, they find the answer themselves, they feel in control, and are more likely to take the next step. And when they do, they’re that much closer to making the decision to engage you.


Make your website more useful to buyers, and start to see shorter sales cycles and better-fit customers.



Where to start?

I know! All this is overwhelming. Where to begin addressing all this? 


First – stop, take a breath.


There is a lot here to address so don’t approach it with a ‘checklist’ attitude. 

Instead, be excited and inspired about your new website. 


Focus on your buyer. Ask:

  • What are the biggest challenges they face every single day
  • What do they really want their life to be like each day? 
  • How does your product or service solve those challenges? What’s in it for them?
  • What would their life be like in a year if they don't engage you in your solutions?


I love doing Customer Insight Interviews. Talk to your clients and your sales team and really listen to what they say. 


What's next? Start writing.  🤓  Breathe and just start. 


And if you would rather eat a dill pickle with a spoonful of sugar on it instead of writing, let’s chat.


We can help. 




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