No matter that this sub-heading is correct, nevertheless just forget it.
“But why”, you may ask, “should I simply set aside the knowledge and skills I spent years acquiring?”.
Well, I don’t mean you should ignore what you’ve learnt; in fact, I insist that you use those accomplishments to persuade your reader that your firm is their problem-solver and that he or she need look no further.
What I mean instead is that your reader, your prospective client, does not need to hear how well-respected your firm is, nor how long it has been established. You will fail to impress with assurances of high professional ethics, your enthusiasm and efficiency, and how good you are at practicing your profession.
Believe it or not, your lay reader already assumes you’re suitably qualified to do the job he or she needs to have done. There is no need to claim to be an expert in your field –your website visitor takes your expertise for granted. And every client expects that you will act properly and honestly.
First And Foremost I Need To List The Firm’s Services
“Well”, I hear you retort, “surely the reader needs to know the extent of services the firm offers”. Well actually, no.
Most members of the public who seek your assistance will not want to scan through the firm’s specialisms. They will probably not be sure precisely what each covers, nor within which category their particular problem falls.
What you do need to make clear immediately a visitor lands on your website is the general nature of your firm’s activities. The reader will then have an idea whether or not you’re likely to be of help.
If you run an architectural practice, for instance, you need to state the nature and scale of the buildings and structures that you design. Are they residential, commercial, industrial or all three? Do you emphasise the need for ‘green’ design factors to be incorporated, such as energy efficiency and low carbon emissions?
If yours is a law firm, do you act for the individual and family, and the small business? Do you prepare wills and handle the client’s affairs after they die? Do you act in the sale and purchase of property? Are you employment lawyers, criminal lawyers or personal injury lawyers? Do you act for married or de facto couples whose relationships have broken down? Are you corporate and finance specialists?
Let the visitor know as soon as possible whether he or she has found the right place. Do it in ways that assist the prospective client by giving broad pointers in words he or she will readily understand.
They will thank you for it.
I Need To Impress My Clients With Erudition
I suppose I shouldn’t complain at the apparent compulsion of many professional practitioners to fill their writings with jargon and terms of art. After all, it’s my bread and butter to explain and correct this self-defeating and needless habit.
Lawyers, especially, are renowned for it. It seems that whenever I open a legal firm’s website its text is infiltrated with language that obscures its meaning, trades on esoteric jargon, and confuses the lay reader.
It seems few solicitors can wait to unleash a quill pen on the parchment and proceed to cover the page with 'testamentary dispositions', 'letters of administration', 'affidavits', 'injunctions' and 'plaintiff' or 'defendant'.
These expressions of legalese go on and on, wrapped in the heavy solemnity of jurisprudence.
Dickens tried his best to illustrate how impenetrable are the processes of the law, but he failed to convince lawyers that a better way exists when it comes to communicating with clients.
Professionals are highly-trained and skilled in their particular fields, Their level of knowledge and technical expertise rises over time as innovations and new techniques necessitate a programme of continuing professional development. This daily immersion in the intricacies of their individual areas of expertise tends to alienate them from their lay clients.
There are some firms who recognise that what is put into a Statement of Claim to the court may not be appropriate language when writing on the internet. But so often assurances that they adhere to plain English are quickly forgotten, as if they simply can't break the habit.
I have written more extensively on the need to use plain English when communicating with clients in my musings Plain English and Written Clarity.
I Have No Need Of A Copywriter To Secure New Clients
“Why should I consider working with a copywriter?”, I hear you ask. “I can write text for the firm’s website perfectly well, just as can my staff. I would be unnecessarily adding to my costs to hire an outsider.”
Of course, you’re right – up to a point. But drafting a technical document or preparing a set of accounts requires skills that are very different from writing persuasive copy that will target your prospective client and make him or her want to read on, to learn more about your firm.
You see, first and foremost a client wants a problem-solver. He knows that he requires the skills of a professional but he does not need to know the intricacies involved. So copy for your website should reassure the reader that if the problem falls within your field of expertise you will solve that problem. Peace of mind is what a prospective client is looking for. That is an important distinction that needs to be understood.
Different skills to those of the professional practitioner are required to show your visitor that you understand his or her needs, that you’re ready and waiting to assist them and to persuade them to take the next step towards giving you instructions. A good copywriter possesses those skills.
When it comes to the cost of hiring a copywriter, you need only compare what you would forego in fees were you to spend the time drafting the copy yourself. Don’t forget, a copywriter will include within his fee an initial draft of the end-product and an agreed number of revisions. And, of course, there will be a deadline for submitting the final version.
Your copywriter will request extensive information about your firm and about the characteristics of the clients who have sought your services. The copywriter will want to know who your competitors are, how you differ and what particular benefits you can offer that distinguish you from them.
You may say that you already possess all that information, and it would only add to costs to brief an outsider. But don’t forget, that to paint a true picture of your firm, and to identify the full extent of the advantages you hold over your competitors, requires an objective pair of eyes and ears.
An outsider who knows what questions to ask, and who writes copy about your firm that attracts visitors to read more, will very soon become an insider whom you will learn to trust.
In fact, it does take a copywriter to know what words and writing style are required to attract the attention of the reader and to lead him or her to take the necessary action to seek your services.
Nick Fielden Copywriter www.nickfielden.com.au
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