What has your website done for you lately? If it’s not supporting your bottom line, a simple mind shift can make a world of difference.Regardless of the industry, most business owners fail to take full advantage of the Web. It's unfortunate when you consider a website's ability to cost-effectively promote a business 365, 24/7. Hiring employees at $30 an hour to market your business every hour in the year would equate to 8,760 hours or $262,800. Alternatively, a well written, properly designed and fully optimized website costs just a fraction of that. Additionally, you don't have to deal with several other human resources costs and issues. That's why Webcopyplus encourages business owners to revisit fundamental views of websites. They're not merely tools, but rather virtual ambassadors. Accordingly, if you arm your virtual ambassador with the right information, direction and tools, it'll deliver your message across the street or around the globe. It'll connect with prospects, help turn them into customers and provide after sale support. To be sure, when properly equipped, websites have the means to relentlessly build your brand, your business and your bottom line.

What's your purpose?

Most businesses don't provide their virtual ambassadors the right direction and information to do the job. Ironically, it's often because business owners don't even know what they want from their websites. I often ask clients and workshop participants: "Why did you launch your site?" It's a simple question, but almost always triggers perplexed expressions. After a few seconds of contemplation, the answer is usually: "Because my competitors have them" or "Because my clients expect me to have one." Bad answers. And these responses aren't limited to small business. Mid-size companies with executives discussing $150,000 websites sometimes provide the same ill reasons. Good answers include, but are not limited to: * Sell products online * Produce leads * Create awareness * Build a brand * Attract members * Generate feedback If you haven't defined your site's objective, chances are you're wasting time and money. It's like dressing up an employee in company colors and getting him to aimlessly roam the streets. No purpose. No message. No results. A pointless action that's regrettably carried out time and time again on the Web. If you're a consultant, for example, your website's main objective might be to generate leads. That's a good start. As simplistic as it sounds, many business owners fail to establish such fundamental elements. Next, determine what action your visitors must take to fulfill your objective. This naturally shapes your call to action. Again, as a consultant, perhaps it's to subscribe to your newsletter to establish yourself as an industry leader and build rapport with prospects. Or it might be to request an information package, or simply to get your visitors to pick up the phone for a free initial consultation. Whatever the case, identifying exactly what you want potential clients to do allows you to plan, write and design for an action. And if you focus all your resources and messaging toward achieving that action, you will significantly improve your conversion rate and overall success.

The right tools for the job

Gear your virtual ambassador with the proper information and tools to accomplish its mission, including: Your message Your web copy needs to speak directly to your audience's needs. Frankly, what can you do for them, and how and why can you do it better than the competition? Your preference Speak to your ideal client to attract your ideal client. Moreover, when you focus on a specific audience, you can more effectively recognize and target their psychological trigger points (what makes them take action). Your manners Stay classy if you want to appeal to mature business types. Get an edge if you're looking to tap into a younger crowd. Establish a personality and keep it consistent. Your pitch The most effective way to entice people is through their emotions, so cater to their needs and wants by bringing benefits to light. Your reason Provide your visitors relevant information to logically justify their decisions. Does anybody really need a $127,000 convertible Jaguar? Probably not. But providing specs on horsepower, rain-sensing windshield wipers and new lighting technology helps consumers rationalize desires. Your direction Guide visitors, making it easy for them to take the preferred steps. Many website owners expect visitors to wade through layers of complex and irrelevant content. People are impatient on the Web. Waste their time and they'll jump to your competitor. Your close Ask for the sale. Be straight forward, and respectful. Don't keep your virtual ambassador in the dark. Equip your virtual ambassador with a clear mission, and the right information and tools. It'll put you in a better light and reflect well on your bottom line.

About the Author

Rick Sloboda, Senior Web Copywriter at Webcopyplus, has been writing for websites since 2001 for some of the world’s largest service providers (Cingular, Scotia Bank, etc.). He speaks frequently at Web-related forums and seminars.