The Challenge Of Copy
We’ve recently done a re-design of the product website for Qwilr (the reasons for which are detailed +here+).
Besides the site architecture and visual design itself; our biggest challenge was writing the copy to describe what Qwilr is and what it offers.
This seemed simple. But proved very difficult. Or more specifically, it proved very difficult to do without writing an essay-length ode to how great Qwilr is and how much everyone loves it. The breakthrough for writing effective copy was this: Have an out of body experience.
Okay Dylan; sweet click-bait; but what does that actually mean?
The Product Website
Your product website exists to communicate a value proposition right? It is the honey-trap for new customers; and in the world SaaS businesses it can be the lifeblood of customer growth. The sole mission of your copy then, is to explain your product. What it does and why its the best solution to a given problem.
Your product website exists to communicate a value proposition
As a founder its pretty easy to write about your own product. Founders are deeply educated about their problem space, intimate with the nature of their solution and passionate about their product. The problem is when you, as a founder, try to communicate some breadth of this knowledge in your product-site copy. Of course you want to capture all the details and multiple facets that make your product so great. Its only natural.
But this is a serious mistake. The founder mindset is in many ways antithetical to that of your audience. Your audience are Potential Customers. They’ve just stumbled across your website and are probably having their first ever contact with your product. Truth be told: they really don’t care much about your product (yet!). They’ve got very limited patience for your enthusiasm. Pressing work emails, Facebook or that funny-monkey-video is only a click away. They want a clear answer for “What Does This Product Do?” and they want it in the smallest amount of time possible.
The founder mindset is in many ways antithetical to that of your audience, who really don’t care much about your product.
At Qwilr, we certainly made this classic founder’s mistake, and wrote from our own perspective. After a lot of re-writing and head scratching about why the copy wasn’t working as well as we’d like, we realised that we needed to have an out of body experience. Once we started writing as if we were the audience; everything else fell into place.
As a founder, there’s a bit of bruised pride here. Explaining your product from the mindset of the audience means not saying a lot of the awesome-amazing-cool things your product does; it means perhaps describing the offering in terms that perhaps aren’t aligned with your ultimate grand vision for the product; it means marginalising a lot of points you think are really important. Honesty is key. And sometimes honesty can hurt.
See your product through the prism of your audience; and you can start to focus on what matters to them; not to founders. Your product will thank you.