Online Marketing For Service Businesses: It’s a Jungle Out There!

Online Marketing For Service Businesses: It’s a Jungle Out There! image copywritingjunglecopywritingjungle“When writing for the Web, writers should always keep one analogy in mind: the Internet is a jungle and Web users are information foragers within it.”

That’s a great analogy from an article on website copywriting. Read the full piece here.

So just how does jungle foraging work?

Make your information easy to find.

It’s no accident that edible plants in a jungle tend to stand out with bright colors. Foragers literally look for the lowest-hanging fruit because they’re hungry and they have to move fast: predators are right behind them.

Your buyers aren’t scared of predators who want to eat them (literally) but they’ve got plenty of anxiety to share. For example

– they’ve moved to a new city and if they don’t find an apartment fast, they’ll be sleeping in the parking lot

– they’re getting edgy and irritable because of nagging non-urgent medical conditions, such as corns or boils

– they just decided to drop twenty pounds so they’ll look good at their son’s wedding (and of course they might feel better too)

So they’ll reach for low-hanging fruit that practically falls into their laps. Think “page 1 of Google listings.”. Forget about the esoteric Google algorithms, and high-priced SEO experts. Choose good keywords and use them on your page. Update frequently. Get inbound links (legitimately, not by link trades).

I’ve been on page 1 of Google for important keywords, just by creating a strong website. Google looks for things like ease of navigation and consistent content.

Incidentally, journalists forage through the Internet for leads when they’re looking for people and businesses to feature. I’ve been interviewed by major media (including the New York Times, Money Magazine and WSJ). I didn’t look for them. They found me!

Make it easy to grab

Once you’ve got their attention, make it easy for them to get what they came for. Foragers will prefer food they can grab-and-go. They can pull fruit right off a tree. That’s handy when you can’t stop to analyze the situation because somebody else thinks you‘re the dinner.

Foragers also need to recognize food and distinguish “edible” from “”harmful.” And they need to decide fast.

On the Internet, buyers need to see benefit right away in the headline and opening. When something’s not working, either you haven’t communicated the benefit or your market doesn’t care about the benefits. That’s like offering a tasty watercress salad to a hungry tiger. Seems interesting, but no thanks.

And once they want it, can they get it as easily as plucking fruit from a tree? Sometimes an offer seems tempting but it’s buried behind: long forms or the order form might be tucked away in the nether regions of the website.

Make it appealing

Who hasn’t been tempted to grab a luscious-looking strawberry from a wild vine?

To make information more appealing, set up your content with lots of white space. More and more, we are seeing copywriters use images throughout the text. Websites feature more images, although if you rely heavily on images your readers get confused. It’s beautiful, but is it food?

Many people start with images and then go track down a copywriter. Sometimes they burn their budget (or their own energy) with graphics and there’s nothing left for content. Even if you’re creating a heavily visual site, such as a site featuring a designer, you need a message. Your copywriter will keep your site from turning into a picture book and even help you select images.

I use images more and more. My own preference is Photoshop Elements, but you’ll find many ways to crop and manage your images. I rarely use stock photos “as is,” because they’re seen all over and people recognize them as stock photos. I also avoid stock photos of people, especially in the header.

If you’re at all photogenic, get a friend to take a dozen pictures of you in different poses. You might be sitting at your desk, walking on the beach, playing with your dog, lecturing to an audience or sitting at a conference table for a client meeting. Sprinkle these images around your website, along with images from your city or region.

To see if your website is jungle-ready, check out the Copywriting SOS program: a quick and easy way to get objective guidance and direction for your DIY website.

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