What question is, or should be "front and center" in
every web marketers mind?
"How do I attract new visitors to my
It doesn't matter whether you are a fresh "newbie", or a
"weathered web veteran", the same question confronts us all. Rather than look at
all the various techniques for generating traffic, I want to focus in on one
small but significant step, writing a compelling description in one or two
You will from time to time have the opportunity to plug your
site with a one or two line description, particularly if you participate in some
of the discussion or chat groups that are becoming more commonplace on the web.
In such an instance, you want to powerfully, succinctly, and compellingly invite
people to your site in a way that engages them. Now, if you do not spend some
premeditated time thinking about this issue, then you will discover that your
invitation is neither inviting, nor powerful, nor compelling. It could be
succinct, CLICK HERE, but we want to do a little better than one out of
So what would be the considerations? The dynamics are very similar
to writing a compelling headline, with a little bit of USP mixed in. The
initials, USP, stand for "Unique Selling Proposition", and it is a skillful way
of differentiating yourself, your product, or your service, from your
competition. I personally believe that a "Unique Selling Proposition", or USP,
is a valuable tool in your developing marketing arsenal. Although I wanted to
mention USP as a concept, it is beyond the scope of this article to examine it
On to the compelling description ...
When my two boys were
little, if they were particularly proud of a new concept or idea, they would
say, " I just thinked it up!" So let's take a few minutes to "think up" the
elements of a great description.
1) Start with the Prospect in mind,
2) Incorporate some element of your USP
1) Start with the Prospect in Mind
times have you seen a marketing statement or slogan which totally ignores the
prospect. AAA Widget Company, the best widgets on earth! It is all about "the
company". The cold, hard reality is,
"Prospects don't care about you or
your company, they care about themselves and the ALL important question, 'what's
in it for me?'"
WIIFM, or "what's in it for me?" is the question that
directly or indirectly must be addressed if your objective is to create a
compelling description. Here are a couple of questions to help you focus on
answering that question:
1) What benefit would the prospect receive in
exchange for the valuable commodity of their time?
2) What is the
ultimate advantage that your prospect will gain by interacting with you, on any
(This is the essence of the web, if you don't get anything else I
say, GET THIS POINT! Would you agree that in the last couple of decades we have
all experienced severe time compression? Every one is busy, there is little time
for the frivolous, and even less time to squander on a site that does not
deliver genuine value in exchange for the almost priceless commodity of
So the first order of business is to make sure that your site, or
your offer, or your product, or your service, or whatever it is that you are
attempting to "sell" has great intrinsic value. You'll have to think through
this a bit, but it is an exercise that is well worth your time.
a clue. If you can't identify the value or benefit to your prospect, you need to
stop right now, go back to the drawing board, and create intrinsic value in your
offering. Don't even bother trying to develop a compelling description until you
have a valuable offering.)
Once you are confident that your content has
intrinsic value, try to think about your offering from the prospect's
perspective. If I, as a prospect, decide to invest my valuable time to visit
your site, or send you an email, or request an auto-responder, what will be the
ultimate advantage to me? A better lifestyle, a more attractive persona, the
promise of more time, etc. Once you have identified that ultimate benefit, that
becomes the "focal point" of your description.
2) Incorporate some
element of your USP
If at all possible, incorporate some element of your
"Unique Selling Proposition" into your description. Again, the USP articulates
the elements that distinguish you and/or your offering from the thousands of
other competing products/services.
Now, in my opinion, this element is
not as important as the first issue of answering the question of WIIFM from the
prospect's perspective. So if you are constrained in the amount information you
present, go with #1.
However, if you have the opportunity to
"distinguish" yourself, then this is a great chance to do so. Chances are there
are hundreds, or even thousands of others who are offering essentially the same
thing that you are. If you can separate yourself from the "pack", it will be to
As previously mentioned, USP deserves a much more
comprehensive explanation than has been presented here. If you would like a more
comprehensive examination of USP, then send an email to
mailto:USP@cism.com and I will be happy to address the concept more fully
in a subsequent article.
3) Literary techniques
You may notice
that there is a hierarchy to the elements I am presenting. With the exception of
the last item, each is less important than the previous. I debated even
including this third element, as it is more difficult to implement. Ultimately,
I decided to include it as something to consider as you develop and test your
You may or may not be able to incorporate this technique
into your description, but it is a valuable concept to keep in mind as you
search for the perfect combination of words to articulate your offering. Whether
or not you employ this technique will be up to you, and the amount of time and
effort you are willing to put into it.
Using rhyme and
Everyone knows what rhyme is (Ronald McDonald, etc.).
Alliteration is the repetition of a sound at the beginning of two or more words
in a phrase, (Coca-Cola, biggest bookstore, insider internet, etc.) I don't
profess to be an authority on why these techniques work. My guess is that it
these techniques plug into a long forgotten historical consciousness going back
to a time when there was an "oral tradition" in the storytelling and
dissemination of historical facts. It is rather like music, it touches something
emotional, deep within the neural connections of our brains.
would not classify it as essential, if you are able to incorporate rhyme or
alliteration into your description, it will be beneficial.
Professional marketers test incessantly. They test everything in an
effort to fine tune the offer and ultimately produce more and better results. If
we are to be serious about our marketing efforts, we would adopt the same kind
of mindset. It is well known by the professionals, that sometimes changing one
word in a headline can have dramatic effects on the results, double digit
To put some flesh on this concept, let me present
a hypothetical case. Assuming all things being equal (i.e. the rate of
conversion once you get a visitor to your site), let's look at the bottom line
results of changing a description (or headline) to gain a meager 10% greater
response rate. Understand that I am just pulling numbers out of thin air, they
may be more, they may be less, but I think you will get the
Assumptions Your description is seen on a given day by 10,000
people (not unreasonable in web terms). Your average response rate is 1%
(arbitrary) which means that you would typically receive 100 visitors from your
headline or description. By increasing your response rate by a minuscule amount,
from 1.0% to 1.1%, you increase your number of visitors from 100 to 110. Can you
visualize the impact of this minuscule improvement over time? What if you could
increase the response rate from 1.0% to 1.3%, or 1.5%, or even 2.0% I hope you
can see that particularly in the web economy, it is a valuable investment of
your time to test, refine, and test some more.
So how do you test? One
way is to use your compelling description when you post messages on various
discussion groups that you may participate in. Another great way is to use "Free
For All" links to test headlines and descriptions. Of course, in order to be of
value to you, it requires that you begin to analyze and track your traffic on a
regular and consistent basis. (Ooops, that looks like another article topic! ;-)
So how do you write a compelling description?
Start with your
prospect in mind and answer the question of what's in it for them. Incorporate
some aspect of your "uniqueness". Use rhyme and alliteration if possible. And
finally, test and refine.
You don't need to increase response by a
hundred fold in order for this to be a profitable exercise. Even a fractional
percentage increase, over time, will be a benefit to your bottom