I spent a few hours on Betalist this morning, and …
A lot of startups have a hard time explaining why visitors should care about their service or product.
Some of my favorite vague or confusing descriptions include:
- “Discover and share the things you enjoy.” (So… Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?)
- “(Service) lets you create an online survey and determine what your customers think about your products.” (Another survey service, I guess. But what’s different about it?)
- “A brand new way for people to save and invest for their dreams and future. If you like sharing pics, posts and updates on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, we think you’ll love (Service).” (This attempts to be descriptive, but it’s actually not saying much. Anyone who likes Facebook – so 1 billion people – will love your service? And how does posting on social media sites relate to investing? There’s a missing connection here.)
Your startup may have a smart, innovate idea that could change the world. But if you can’t explain what it does clearly, no one will care.
Not potential investors.
Not potential users.
Only your team and your mom will care about what you do.
But by revising your website copy, you can improve the chances your website visitors will
- Understand how what your startup can benefit them
- Sign up to use your product or service
These 3 tips will help improve the copy on your homepage and deliver those 2 benefits.
1. Focus on Benefits, Not Features
Too many businesses, including (especially!) startups, focus on features, not benefits.
This distinction is a bit tricky to nail down (especially if English is not your native language), so I’m going to recommend this article over at Copyblogger that describes features, benefits, and “fake benefits” – a common pitfall for amateur copywriters.
By focusing your copy on benefits, not features, your website visitors will be more excited to learn more about your product.
(Here’s a rule of thumb I use to remember to focus on benefits: Sell a good night’s sleep, not the mattress.)
2. Highlight Differences
Remember the startup who claimed their service would allow users to “Discover and share the things you enjoy”?
How is that any different from the many, many services I already use?
(For the record, this service actually allows users to create lists of their top movies, apps, books, and more, and then share it. It’s a social list-sharing app, and I think there’s a place for that in the market. But their copy doesn’t indicate this!)
Highlighting the differences between your startup and existing services will allow you to quickly connect with users who have the same pain points that led you to create your startup in the first place.
3. Show How Your Audience Fits
A final problem I see a lot is startups trying to show how a website reader is a good candidate to use the product, but instead being overly vague or broad.
For example, the startup I mentioned above whose copy read, “A brand new way for people to save and invest for their dreams and future. If you like sharing pics, posts and updates on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, we think you’ll love (Service).”
With a simple change, such as, “A brand new way for people to invest in their dreams and futures – a way that’s as simple as sharing pics, posts and updates on Facebook,” would both make me feel included and make me interested enough to learn more.
Writing copy for startups is tricky. With so many new apps, products, and more arriving daily, startup web copy has to INSTANTLY communicate the benefits, differences, and passion a product or service delivers.
If you’re a startup (preferably Silicon Valley or NYC based), contact me. I’ll help review your current website copy and see how we can improve your messaging – and your profits.