Small & Medium Business Owners Have a Variety of Skills
Among countless other talents, business owners have the technical skills to operate their company and the management skills to keep it afloat. They deserve an enormous amount of praise for all the work they do, but they also need to know when to ask for help.
Writing Text for Websites Is a Specific Skill They Often Lack
Consider this scenario:
A welding company contracts a web developer to build them a new website. The owner agrees that they don’t have the technical skills to code the website, nor the design skills to make it visually appealing. They supply all the text (a.k.a. copy) that will go on the site. A year after the website launches, they still don’t notice a significant payoff from the work and money put into the site.
A few seconds on their homepage can explain why. The copy they supplied is full of industry-specific jargon, lengthy paragraphs, and leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Their Analytics show that most people spend less than 10 seconds on the site before leaving (likely to a competitor’s site).
It’s common for business owners or long-term employees to write website copy for the company — but they aren’t the best ones to do it.
Even though business owners have the most knowledge about their company, it takes specific skills to communicate that knowledge effectively through a website.
Copywriters have those skills, and love putting them to use.
Copywriting is a specialty in marketing, just like graphic design and web development are specialties, as well.
A course from Digital Marketer phrases it well: “copywriting is persuasive writing with the intent of driving an action.”
These specialized writers are great at taking complex information and communicating it in a way that’s easy to understand. Plus they use a host of techniques to help accomplish the goal set out for the site — whether it’s collecting leads, converting sales, spreading awareness, SEO optimization, or something else.
5 Reasons Why SMBs Shouldn’t Write Their Own Website Copy
Since small & medium businesses (SMBs) usually don’t have marketing departments, writing often falls onto owners, managers, or long-term employees. Here are the common mistakes we see when this happens.
#1: They Write With Ugly Jargon
A lot of owners and managers have a habit of inflating their writing with big words to make them or their company sound intelligent. We don’t blame them — they have a lot of expertise and they want to show it (plus that’s how most formal education teaches you to write, anyways).
But there are better ways to show expertise (which a team of marketing specialists can do for you).
Copywriters are trained to write in simple language because, if they don’t, the reader will daydream about literally anything else.
For example, the instruction manual on Tub Kits by Safety Bath’s website says:
✔ “Lay cardboard on the floor in front of your tub and inside your tub. Tape it down to protect your bathroom floor and bathtub floor.”
✘ “Secure a protective material with temporary adhesive on all surrounding areas of your bathroom floor and inside your bathtub floor in case of potential damage from tools or stains from excess silicone waste.”
OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration — but you get the point.
Your offer should simply be the solution to their problem. Don’t bore your readers with words they don’t need just to make your company look smart.
#2: They Forget to Explain Things for the Average Consumer
Business owners work in (or on) their business every day; they’re used to talking in terms that are well-known in the industry. But a conversation with an employee is different from a conversation with a customer who knows little or nothing about the industry.
If the word is necessary to explain your product or service, use it — if there’s an easier way to describe it, do it.
Copywriters will consider the outside perspective when they write; they imagine that your target audience is reading your website and potentially hearing about your company for the first time.
They simplify your message so the average consumer doesn’t feel like they’re lost in a bowl of alphabet soup.
#3: They Make Their Message Too Complicated
A well-written website guides the reader through a mini customer journey. At the top of the site, the reader must know what the business does. Sections that follow should show people why they need the product or service, build trust in the company, and show the reader how to take action.
But we often see sites that miss some of these steps.
Sometimes the header is unclear and leaves the reader wondering if they’re on the right site.
Sometimes the features are listed instead of the benefits (that’s boring).
Sometimes the reader subconsciously looks for a reason to trust the company (like 5-star reviews) but can’t find any.
Sometimes the site over-explains things in long paragraphs and the reader loses attention.
Sometimes the reader gets to the bottom of the page and isn’t sure where to go from there.
We get it. Businesses have a lot of information to communicate to their consumers—but having too much or too little information can cost you sales.
Copywriters make sure your main message comes across to your audience. They feather through your information and choose the most impactful parts to include for your particular audience.
#4: They Miss SEO Opportunities
There’s a lot to be said for SEO copywriting. SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the work you do on your website to help it rank on Google and other search engines. You want your website to show up as high as possible in search results, and writing your website copy with this in mind is very important.
The biggest SEO opportunity that’s missed when a small business writes copy for their own website is keyword research & implementation.
We do keyword research to compile a list of words that your company should be ranking for, then we work them into your site. There’s a delicate balance between a site that ranks well and a site that sounds like a robot wrote it (look up keyword stuffing).
If written properly, your website will have a much better chance of showing up on Google’s front page which means more awareness & potentially sales for you.
#5: They Lack Skills & Techniques for Great Copywriting
Copywriting is an underrated specialty in marketing. Most people don’t know what the word even means. But words matter.
While copywriting isn’t taught in many marketing programs, there’s a slew of techniques and skills that copywriters collect and apply on a daily basis. Even if your small or medium business has a staff member responsible for marketing duties, it doesn’t mean they’re a trained copywriter.
It’s not just about grammar, it’s about applying consumer psychology. If you’re not using a trained copywriter to write your website, you’re missing out.
The Solution? Hire a Team That Includes a Copywriter
Yeah, you could contract out a web developer… but you can do better.
When an entire team works on your site, each person applies their particular specialty, whether it’s photography, graphic design, web development, SEO, or copywriting. That’s the value in hiring a marketing team to build your website; you get an expert in each area.
Now, you may be thinking, “If the people who know my company the best aren’t writing my website, then how do you make sure the right information gets out there?”
We have our ways. We have lengthy conversations with each client to make sure the right information is included. We analyze all your current digital assets to gather information. Then we have more conversations to nail down technical information.
So while upper management and owners of SMBs have a lot of information to communicate, a copywriter can translate that information onto a website in a way that’s free of jargon, simple to understand, easy to follow, written for SEO, and full of proven copywriting techniques.