Is the Problem Traffic or Copywriting?

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I recently worked with a client who has a beautiful website. The graphics, layout and branding are perfect. So why wasn’t she getting more sales?

The first thing we needed to do was some detective work.

Why? Because we don’t know if her problem is that she’s not getting enough traffic to her website or if the problem is that the visitors aren’t converting because of poor copywriting, website design, etc.

Here’s How to be a Website Marketing Detective

First, you must have access to your website statistics. I always recommend that you have Google Analytics installed on your website. The statistics that come with your standard website hosting package are probably not strong enough to help you do the detective work.

Second, you have to know how to find, read and interpret those statistics.

This is just about the time that most people’s eyes glaze over, so let me short-cut the process for you and make it simple.

How Many Visitors Are You Getting Per Month?

In Google Analytics, look at the menu on the left side of the page. Find the section called “Audience” and open the menu, and then click on “Overview.”

How many visitors are you getting to your website? Is there an upward trend?

What I have discovered is that the concrete, exact numbers don’t matter as much as the direction they’re going.

Look at your visitor numbers over the course of several months. If the number of visitors is trending upwards, then you’re doing a good job with driving traffic to your site.

Also note that in some months, the visitor count may be down. Sometimes it’s because you’re not doing your marketing properly or consistently that month, and sometimes it’s because it’s a month when your audience traditionally is away from their computers or distracted with other things, like summertime months and big holidays months. So don’t make assumptions about your visitor traffic; get to know your audience and know when they’re most likely to be paying attention to your website and when they’re likely way on vacation or holidays.

Recent studies show that 79% of visitors who come to your website are not ready to buy. If you’re not getting enough traffic to your website, you won’t have enough people interested in buying from you.

Which Pages Are the Most Popular?

Now it’s time to figure out if your visitors are looking at the website pages you want them to look at.

Go back to the left-hand menu in Google Analytics and find the section called “Behavior.” Within that section, there is an area called “Site Content” which gives you information about how visitors are using your website. Go to the “All Pages” sub-area under “Site Content.”

Which pages are viewed most often? You can find this on the chart on the right-side of your screen once you select “All Pages.” (See example chart below.)

The two key statistics to review are:

How many Unique Page Views does each page get? You will see two numbers: Page Views and Unique Page Views. Why are there two numbers? Because Google Analytics counts every time the page if viewed, even if one visitor views the page two or three times. So in the example chart, you can see the What Is  a Mastermind Group page got viewed 9,015 times, but only 8,034 unique views. This means (roughly) that 981 people viewed the page twice. Unique Views gives you a more realistic guide to how many unique visitors viewed the page and is a more reliable number to watch.

How long are they staying on the page? In the same example, the average visitor viewed the What Is a Mastermind Group page for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Why do we care? Because if it takes a visitor 3 minutes to read a page, and the average visitor is only on that page for 1 minute, it means they’re not reading your text! Here’s how you can tell how long it should take someone to read your page: Set a stop watch and read the page out loud to yourself, slowly. Because you’re used to seeing this text, you’re likely to skip over words and sentences. By reading it out loud, you are forcing your brain to re-see all the text.

What Results Are You Getting?

So now you know how many visitors are coming to your website, and which pages they’re viewing once they get there. Now look at your actual results.

  • How many sales are you making?
  • How many prospects are calling you to ask about your services?
  • Are they buying your products, classes and groups directly from your website?

Conversion Ratios

Let me give you a concrete example. In my client’s case, she got 113 people to visit her services page in the past month. She got three phone calls after people visited her website. Her conversion rate is 2.6% (3 divided by 113). Average website conversation rates are around 1%, so that means that her website copy is converting prospective clients into paying clients.

Because of this data we can conclude:

Her problem isn’t that she needs to re-write her website copy or design. Her problem is that she needs to drive more traffic to her website.

Conclusions for You

How can you know if you have a problem with driving traffic to your website, or if your problem is that your copywriting needs work? Do the math above.

  • If your conversion rate is less than 1%, then you need help with your copywriting or website design.
  • If people don’t stay on your pages long enough to read them, you need help with your copywriting or website design.
  • If the number of visitors you’re getting to your website is low, or if the trend is not on the rise, you need help with driving traffic to your website.

Note that if you’re driving traffic to your website through email marketing or social media marketing, and your audience is a devoted following, you conversation rates should be much higher than 1%.

Now that you know how to read these basic statistics on Google Analytics, you can take control of your marketing and make changes for the better!

Was This Helpful?

I know that statistics can be daunting. If this was helpful to you and you’d like me to show you more (simple) ways to get important data from Google Analytics and interpret it for your small business, please let me know in the comments section below. I love statistics because they let me play marketing detective and figure out what’s true in my business — and that’s how my business remains successful! I’m happy to write more blog posts like this if you want this type of information. 🙂

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business, Website Planning
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6 Copywriting Steps for Non-Copywriters

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It’s “back to basics” time, so let’s talk about copywriting your marketing materials! Here are the steps to any marketing copywriting, whether you are selling services or products.

In a previous blog post, I gave you some formulas you can use to write good headlines for your sales pages and newsletters. (If you didn’t see the post, you can still read it on my blog: 3 Headline Formulas for Non-Copywriters.)

Here are the basic six steps you’ll need:

First, know thy audience.

This sounds so familiar, right? But do you really know what it means and how to DO it? Before you begin writing, close your eyes and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who are they? Specifically, who is your ideal customer? It’s important for you to spend some time thinking about them as real people, not a mass of humanity known as “my prospective customers.” They’re not a mass of faceless humans. They’re real people with real dreams and challenges.
  2. What do they want? This is no time to lack bravery. Do not take the simple way out and say something banal here, like, “They want to be happy,” or “They want to grow their business.” Instead, ask yourself what they specifically want. What are they trying to achieve in their personal and professional life? What problems get in their way? Where are they stuck?

Now, write a headline that promises to help them create the life they want, or helps them solve a problem.

You can read more about writing headlines here in this blog post. Remember, the whole purpose of writing a headline is to grab their attention.

Next, help them to get to know you and trust you by honestly talking about their dream or their challenges.

Give them some practical tips. Give them examples. Tell them a story about how you have been where they are, and/or how you helped others to create the life of their dreams. Above all, educate them so that they receive real value from you. This isn’t the place to fluff it up.

This next one is the hard part, the part where nearly everyone falls down: You have to make the offer.

You have to tell them what you are offering, and ask them to buy. Be clear and straight-forward here. Tell them the benefits of your product or service, exactly what they’ll get, the price, and how to buy. Answer any questions you think they might have about your product or service.

This is no place to be shy. If you don’t believe completely in what you are selling, why should your customer? You don’t need to be aggressive or manipulative; just tell them how you can help them and make an offer. Trust their own intelligence that they’ll know if it’s a good fit or not.

To help build your credibility, share testimonials from your satisfied customers.

Testimonials that tell how the customer benefitted from your product and service are best. It’s far better to have a testimonial that said, “I was able to create my lesson plan and teach my first class within one month of taking Karyn’s program,” than to have a testimonial that says, “Golly, Karyn is a great teacher.”

What were your customers able to DO after using your service or product? What outcomes and results did they get?

The final step is the Call To Action.

What action do you want them to take? Should they visit your website for more information? Should they click a button to buy the product or service? Should they call your office to schedule a time to talk? You have to tell them exactly what to do next so there is no confusion.


Copywriting is no mystery. There are some straight-forward formulas that work every time. But you have to be willing to ask for the sale.

Are you ready to try these copywriting steps in your own business? Where can you tweak your existing copywriting to make it more compelling?

I’d love to hear your copywriting stories, comments and questions! Share your stories in the comments below. 🙂

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

The Myth of Written Messages

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Wandering down the street in New York City early one morning, I noticed a group of people standing in front of the doors to Macy’s department store. Since it was 9:00 a.m., I assumed they were waiting for the store to open.

But as I walked by I noticed a sign in every door that clearly said: Store Hours 10AM – 9PM. So why were they standing there an hour before the store opened? Was some sort of special event going on?

As I walked closer to the huddled group, one of the women motioned to the Macy’s security guard and asked, “What time does the store open?”

I am not kidding. She actually asked that, even though she was just six feet away from the Store Hours sign. She had been standing and staring at the door for at least three minutes. The store hours sign is in every door at eye-level. Yet she still preferred to ask another person to verify the truth of the sign.

What does this mean to the small business owner?

  • Just because you put something in a conspicuous place doesn’t mean they’ll see it, whether it’s on your office door or on your website.
  • Just because you write about the benefits of your product or service doesn’t mean people will never have a question about whether those benefits apply in their particular situation.
  • Just because you write something in your marketing brochure doesn’t mean people will read it or understand it.
  • Just because you have Frequently Asked Questions on your website doesn’t mean people will read it, or believe that it applies to them.

We work so hard to craft good written messages, but for many people, the written message is only half of the picture. So what are creative solutions?

  • Use graphics and images to also portray the message.
  • Use audio so they can hear you as well as see you.
  • Repeat the message often.
  • Be prepared to answer questions in a gracious and courteous manner…even if you’ve answered those same questions a thousand times before.

The security guard at Macy’s was a gentleman and a customer service expert. He said in a genuinely pleasant and smiling manner, “Oh, yes, ma’am, the store opens at 10:00 a.m. and I hope you’ll have a wonderful shopping experience here at Macy’s.”

Smart cookie.

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Category: Marketing
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3 Headline Formulas For Non-Copywriters

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This article is for the rest of us – people who are NOT professional copywriters, but need good copy and good headlines for our websites and email newsletters.

Let’s focus in this article on writing good headlines. Or, in the case of email newsletters, good subject lines.

The purpose of a headline or subject line is to grab the reader’s attention and motivate them to want to read further. If you can’t get them past the headline, the rest of your copy is wasted, no matter how elegantly it’s written.

Most of the examples are funny, but you’ll get the point. When you’re done, check out my companion blog post, 6 Copywriting Steps for Non-Copywriters.

I’ll share 3 headline writing tips today:

  1. Use numbers
  2. Tell a secret
  3. Use emotion

Use Numbers


  • _____ (number) _____ (adjective) Ways To _____ (thing they want to do or to have or to become)
  • _____ (time) to Learn/Get _____ (topic)


  • 10 Easy Ways to Wash Your Dog
  • 5 Exciting Ways to Make Spinach That Children Will Eat
  • 20 Minutes to Learn Chess Like a Pro
  • Get a Complete Personality Makeover in 10 Minutes or Less

Tell a Secret

Everyone wants to the learn the insider secrets of people who have been successful.


  • My Secret Formula to _____ (thing they want to do or have or become)
  • Insider’s Guide to _____
  • Easy Success Secrets to Create _____


  • I’m Drawing Back The Curtain and Revealing My Secret Formula to Buying Pencil Holders
  • 10 Secrets Steps to Finding Online Grammar Mistakes

Use Emotion

People are only motivated by two things: to go towards pleasure and to get away from pain. But pleasure and pain can be subtle. For instance, I find it a pleasure to learn something new, to increase my mastery of a subject. So if I see a headline that promises to teach me something, I will always continue reading.

Another thing that motivates people is scarcity. If you TRULY have a limited number of items available (don’t lie to people about this, folks, they can see right through a scam), then telling them how many are left can get them to read the rest of your web page or email newsletter. Also, if there is a time limit, that motivates, too.

Think about what emotion your customer wants to feel. Confident? Energetic? Free? Safe? Take a moment and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Then you can write a headline that speaks to their emotional needs. (Look at the photo above…who would respond to a Stop sign like that?)


  • _____ (number) Keys to_____ (topic or outcome)
  • Learn _____ (topic)
  • How to _____ (outcome)
  • Only _____ (number) of _____ (item) Available
  • You Have Done _____ , Now Try _____
  • Do You Have _____ (name of problem)?
  • _____ (name of problem) Got You Down?
  • Do You Want _____ (name of desired item or outcome)?
  • Never Be _____ Again!

To increase the motivation level, use phrases like hurry, last chance, and only.


  • 3 Keys to Better Prison Life
  • Learn to Buy Fresher Bread
  • Only 5 Seats Available for Seat Sitting 101 Seminar
  • Last Chance! Special 1 Percent Off Coupon Expires Wednesday
  • Do You Want a Better Goldfish?
  • Find Your Keys. Find Your Children. How to Solve Your Clutter Problems.

Plain and Simple

Don’t forget the basic, informational headline. You don’t always have to get jazzy with your headline or subject line; sometimes just saying what the article is about is motivating enough. What if you were to see these simple headlines or subject lines?

  • 50 Percent Off All Classes
  • How To Type Faster
  • The Recording Is Available Now

TAKE ACTION NOW: Now take these headline tips and write three possible headlines or subject lines for your next article or email newsletter. Play with them until they feel right. Then try them out and watch the results!

Want more information on copywriting? Let me know in the comments area of this post and I’ll create more copywriting blog posts in the future! I could write about this stuff all day. 🙂

40 comments for now

Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

Men Won’t Eat What They Don’t Understand

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Aly and I had lunch the other day with my Mom and Dad at a trendy fusion restaurant with a really creative menu. While we were trying turkey wraps with butternut squash inside, what did my Dad have? A steak sandwich and a Coke.

“Dad,” I said, “Why not try something new?”

My Mom (as many Moms do) answered for my father:

“Because men won’t eat what they don’t understand.”

I cracked up laughing because it seemed such a preposterous and over-the-top statement, especially since Aly was sitting next to me trying quinoa for the first time.

But on the way home I got to thinking: maybe she’s right!

Aly had asked the waitress: What Is Quinoa? She gave him a full description of what it was, how it was cooked and how it would taste. She took the mystery out of this new item and made Aly feel safe in trying it.

It’s not just men who won’t try something new unless they feel safe about it, it’s all of us.

When you’re doing marketing and explaining to your customers the service or product you’re offering, you must help them to understand everything that’s involved with it:

  • what it does
  • what it doesn’t do
  • who it’s for and who it’s NOT for
  • who are you and why should they listen to you
  • what it costs
  • how much time they’ll have to invest
  • what to do if they don’t like it
  • what outcomes to expect
  • how to buy it
  • what will happen after they buy it

Some buyers are risk-takers and love to have the newest, latest thingie regardless of whether there might be some glitches or not. They want to be the first to have something or to be in on the newest experiences. Often these are the customers who already know you and trust you, so the risk isn’t actually too high. But they still won’t buy if they don’t see a benefit or if the price seems too high for the benefits they’ll get. You need to help them see that the price is equal (or less than) the benefits.

Next you have those customers who don’t want to be “bleeding edge,” but they do want to get in on a great service or product that will help them. They have to think about it, weigh it in their minds. They can take days and weeks to decide, so you have to keep your offer in front of them, and answer any questions they have. Sometimes they’ll call you with questions, sometimes they’ll email you, sometimes they’ll post a blog comment. Your job is to be present on whatever channel they use to communicate, and answer their questions thoroughly so that they understand the offer completely.

Because customers won’t buy what they don’t understand.

Do you have a story about a time you walked away from an offer you didn’t understand? What comes up for you when you try to put together your words around your service or product? Please share your stories, questions and comments on my blog…I’d love to hear from you!

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing
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Online Copywriting Resources

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mad at myself It’s so important for you to learn the basics of copywriting. There are a thousand times each year when knowing how to write good marketing text, even just the very basics, can change your marketing and communication efforts.

Here’s a great site full of resources for copywriting,

“Online Copywriting 101: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet”

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

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