The Federal Government is the biggest spender in the world. While the budget is set at about $4 trillion, after taking out defense and social services, etc., we find that everyday product and services spending is about $500 billion. Much of that is spent with small businesses.

When looking at SAM and the SBA DSBS, many businesses seeking government sales don’t even have a website listed in either SAM or the SBA DSBS.And those that do have websites, well….I’ve discovered that most business owners suck at writing copy for themselves. I am not talking Photoshop capabilities, logo design, color selections…I am strictly talking simple marketing and advertising copy points that would help attract government, commercial and consumer sales such as;

  • Headline
  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What my problem is
  • How you solve it
  • How it benefits me
  • A call to action

Headline/Mission

The headline is the most important piece of your marketing copy. It’s the first thing people see, and it’s what gets customers to keep reading. What’s the headline? What’s the mission?  It’s shocking how many websites simply omits this crucial element that must be above the fold. On some, I would have accepted, “Welcome to the Website of ABC Company” but only about half the ones I saw today had anything like that.

There are many ways to use a headline to your advantage, but the ones which convert best usually convey a promise or guarantee of some sort. Say you have a website marketing firearm courses, which of the following is more likely to get you to read further;

  • Concealed Carry Training
  • Gun Safety Training for All Family Members
  • We provide hands on training to women in firearm protection while also providing a heightened sense of self-confidence.

Who are you?

This is as simple as saying, “Afghanistan veteran with 7 years on the police force, I’ll not leave your side until you are comfortable and confident holding and shooting a firearm“

Of course, that’s a start, but I have seen some very lean “about” pages that pale even to that one sentence statement above. We know it’s tough, because the toughest person to write about is yourself. It’s also what will get your customers to align themselves with your brand and remember your company. This is one reason a copy writer can improve your site’s conversion rate.

What You Do

Keep in mind, this is the most basic element of your website. If people don’t know what you do, why the hell would they buy anything? Yet some websites mangle even this objective.

I came across more than one website with a business name, contacts, phone numbers and emails and not a lick of information on what they do.

Identify The Customer

Who you are is just as important as who I am. That is, you have to tell your customers that this product is right for them. If you’re a novice gun owner, you’ll be looking for a completely different course than an experienced shooter looking to expand their skills and learn about new shooting techniques.

This is could be as simple as, “We make the uncomfortable become very comfortable with a handgun. Don’t have one? Feel free to use one of ours.”

Bam! Now I know that if I’ve never so much as held a gun in my hand, I’m in the right place. Of course, almost half of the business websites I looked at didn’t have this kind of information. That leaves doubt in people’s mind whether this is the right thing for them. When people are in doubt they don’t buy, it’s as simple as that.

Identify My Problem.

As a customer, I’m on your site because I have a problem. It’s your job to identify that problem and show me how you solve it.

If I’m a woman that is considering carrying a handgun, I’m going to make sure it covers this problem, and I want to know very specifically how you’re going to address this problem.

My Problem: My husband knows I have a fear of firearms.

Your Solution: NRA Sanctioned Gun Courses for Women, Taught by Women

How Will You Fix My Problem

Be careful of overlooking the actual solution and just listing results. Most of the websites I looked at simply made a promise without telling me how they’d get there.

While this may be ok for a headline, it does nothing to convince me that you actually have the capability to do what you’re promising. Tell your customers exactly what they’re going to get from you.

Does your website or blog identify a problem, then offer a solution? Many sites use vague terms to tell customers what they think about themselves. This is the kind of lifeless, wet noodle copywriting which many business owners write about their companies.

That’s because they’re too invested in their own ideas of what their company should be that they fail to think about it from the client’s and potential customer’s point of view. It’s painfully obvious many business owners have never tried to put him/herself into any shoes other than their own, and probably doesn’t even know the benefits their own company offers. More than likely never even practice an elevator pitch for any government buyer that they might come in contact with, much less get that elevator pitch on the homepage.

And that brings us to the big one…

Offer a Benefit.

The most important aspect of your sales copy is your benefit. You’ve probably heard this a million times, highlight benefits over features, yet so few businesses do this.

This is a feature:

We teach you how to safely carry a handgun.

This is a benefit:

You’ll learn how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Features are good to explain, but benefits are what ultimately sell your product. They can work together, however a list of features only gets you halfway there. It doesn’t close the sale.

Speaking of which, all your beautifully written sales copy doesn’t do a damn thing if you don’t tell your customers what to do next. The most shocking thing I found is that many miss a call to action entirely.

Call to Action

Whether you want customers to sign up for your mailing list, take a free trial, stay connected with updates, send an email, or give you a call, the only way they’re going to do that is if you tell them to do it.

The call to action should be the first thing you think about when starting to write your copy. What do you want your customer to do?

The entire website, from the headline to the benefit, should be focused on getting people to contact you. That’s the only reason you’re doing any of this. Yet somehow business owners didn’t even include a button of any kind. What’s the point?

I saw menus without a contact, nor in the footer, only to find it in a site map. I saw a commercial electrician site with no phone number ANYWHERE. They did have a contact email form, but not even a phone number there, or in the footer, or anywhere. Does an email form really help when sparks are coming from an outlet and the office computers are all about to get toasted?

Again, even if you just nail 3-4 of these for most businesses it would be a vast improvement. Nail them all and you should be looking to hire as you are growing so fast. Here they are again.

  • Headline/Mission
  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What my problem is
  • How you solve it
  • How it benefits me
  • A call to action

 

About the author: Mark Cordy

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Mark Cordy – Senior C/G Analyst at TABB Solutions, LLC – Mark has spent decades in advertising and marketing. From Borden Snack Foods, to water filters, to the Royal Bank of Scotland, The Berry Company Yellow Pages, to US Government contracting to TABB Solutions. TABB Solutions, LLC helps small business with effective responsive web design, SEO, web presence and government/commercial marketing strategies.

This article was first published by Mark Cordy