May 12, 2020

Where To Find Sticky Phrases

How to make your website copy pop with this simple activity

You’ve been given the job to come up with the words for your new company website. So you’re doing all the research you can to figure out what the hell is supposed to go in a great website.

You read blogs, google questions like “How to write great website copy” and buy books that outline what a winning website looks like.

After all your research you sit down to write. You finish the first draft and you definitely don’t love it. The words just feel flat.

So you pull the team together and brainstorm again. And then you have more meetings. And more meetings. Often it's the most dramatic person in the room who ends up picking what your website header will end up being.

I might write a second blog post on the wasted time and money spent in endless meetings about copy with a team of so called experts… Why is Jon in this meeting? What makes his opinions on effective websites matter? Well he does have sweet arm tattoos… And his instagram account does have a vibe about it…  

The meetings don’t fix the broken website. And you leave every meeting frustrated.

Why? It’s because your team is in an echochamber.

Too many people on the team have fallen in love with their own ideas.

You all struggle with the curse of knowledge. You're too close to your product or service to communicate what you do effectively.

The reason why your website copy sucks is because you are too close to it to be able to say what you do in the way that humans speak!

Well I got news for you… finding the golden ticket to communication is right at your fingertips!


Customers describe what you do in their own words, not yours.

Testimonials aren’t just persuasive proof, they become the place to discover sticky phrases.

So often I’ll be doing an interview with someone and I’ll yell out in excitement, “say that again!” because they nail a powerful phrase that just pops.

For example: in 2013 worked with to boost the conversion rate on their homepage.

The original website header said this:

Collaborate & Share & Store - Online
Keep&Share Makes it Easy

Copyhackers came up with these ideas:

End the Headache of Constantly Emailing Files
& Appointment Requests Back-And-Forth


The Only Small Business Collaboration Suite
That Anticipates Your Every Move

I would say Copyhackers did great and everyone could move on happy. However they didn’t settle with their own ideas. They dug deeper into their research and customer testimonials and found this gem of a quote:

“We love our 25-seat multi-user business account. How are we using it? To eliminate 99% of our paper files!”

A new heading was tested:

Eliminate Up to 99% of Your Paper Files

I’m sure you know which headline performed the best. This last one performed 103% better than the test headline.

So before you call another brainstorming meeting, instead call some customers!

Ask them questions like:

  1. What pain points were you trying to solve in the first place when you first were looking for a product or service like ours?
  2. How would you describe what our product or service does?
  3. Why did you end up choosing us over someone else?

If all you ask are these 3 questions, you’ll get so much information on how to communicate more effectively. If you can, do a mixture of written surveys along with doing some phone interviews. These don’t have to be long. 5 minutes max!

Scheduling real person to person interviews are amazing because then people can just “riff” using real conversational words. So often this is where you discover the gold needed to make your copy pop!

Additionally, analyze their emails and social media posts. Look for those phrases that pop off the page that you can swipe for your new winning website!

Finally--one of the biggest reasons why researching your customers is so amazing… It kills meetings trying to decide whose ideas are best. There is something powerful about saying “Well our customers are saying this…” to make arm sleeve tattoo Jon shut his opinionated mouth!