Once you have captured a reader's attention with your headline, don't assume that you will keep that attention after the first line, second line or third line.
Most readers won't read your entire web page. Most will bail well before the end.
How come? Because something you write will make them feel that you are not taking them directly towards finding what they want.
Here are 3 ways to ensure that you keep moving forward in a straight line …
Follow these three guidelines and you will significantly increase the number of people who read all the copy on your page and, of course, you will increase the number of people who take action at the end of that page.
#1. Be clear about your page's objective.
Before you start writing, determine the objective of the page. What is its purpose?
And if you're thinking, "Well, there are a few things I want to achieve with this page", be very careful. Because by writing to a few different objectives, you are giving your readers a few different reasons to bail on you.
You'll achieve far higher conversion rates by sticking to a single topic or message per page.
In fact, that's why landing pages were invented. Marketers understood that their general web pages were not converting very well. So they started creating stand-alone pages, or landing pages, which were created with a single objective in mind.
The need for landing pages tells us we are not very good at creating and writing regular site pages that are focused on a single, clear objective.
#2. Let your readers see the final outcome, from the beginning.
In other words, let your readers see where they are going.
For instance, if you want to sell me a vacation in Greenland, let me see the road ahead.
A typical way of doing this would be to write a headline that says something like, "5 reasons why Greenland has become the #1 travel destination for adventure lovers."
When you write a headline like that, the reader knows where you're taking them, and they know you are trying to sell them a vacation. They even know there are exactly five steps between the beginning and end.
But if the headline were to say, "Greenland grabs hearts of outdoor adventurers," then I don't really know where you're taking me. Is this a general description of the country? Is this about travel, or about conservation? Are you trying to inform me? Or sell a vacation package?
When you make the purpose and objective of the page clear from the beginning, the reader doesn't have to be distracted by these questions.
#3. Write in a straight line, without detours.
When writing editorial there are some excellent reasons for taking the scenic route.
You can add character and depth to a story with a paragraph that begins with the words, "Which reminds me … " Or, "By the way …"
These scenic diversions make editorial content all the more interesting.
But when you are writing to sell, you would do better to take the direct route.
When people come to the web to make a purchase, they are task oriented, impatient and anxious to find what they want and get the task completed quickly.
This means readers want their sales information given to them straight. No meandering. No side trips. Get to the meat of the message quickly, and tell them why your product and service will deliver exactly what they want and are looking for.
The reason behind the need to build your sales argument in a straight line can be found in that last section.
Compared to print or other offline media, users of the web are impatient and generally have a specific goal in mind before they even arrive at your page. If they want to buy something, then they want to find what they want quickly.
No side shows. No diversions.
Keep your sales pages direct, straight and uncomplicated.
And if you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend that you learn about my course, Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts.
This article is by Nick Usborne and appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/.