Stop writing what all other translators write. Read these 6 guides to boldly go further where only conversion copywriters have gone before
You are ready to create a website for your translation business, show the world that you are serious about your profession, and start attracting new clients. But there are so many things you need to consider! And all of them seem equally important.
Branding, logo, domain name, forms, and social media accounts, not to mention the actual writing for your website — how do you know which task to tackle first, and how do you get this done in a reasonable amount of time, while still working on your projects and finding time for hobbies, friends, and family?
Branding and logos — while important — are shiny objects, and should not distract from the more important (and definitely less fun) things like actual words, website structure, and your goals.
Even if you already have a general idea of how you’ll work on your website, here’s a handy list of steps to make sure your website is not just sitting there in the World Wide Web, but actually bringing in customers. Just imagine: you could be getting queries from people excited to work with you instead of requests for free trial projects!
Step 1: Find Out What Your Customers Want
How often do you know what your customers want and why they wanted it in the first place? If you work with agencies, probably not very often.
And yet (assuming that you’re not targeting agencies, —a topic that is well covered from every angle), unless you know what your customers are thinking, you won’t be able to speak to them convincingly.
Here is how Peter Boyle explains why you need to find out what your customers are saying about your services (or those similar to yours) in The Crazy Egg Guide to Conversion Copywriting:
If your prospect sees a headline which perfectly mimics their own thoughts back to them they’re more likely to click.
If you can mirror more of the language your users use back to them, they’re more likely to take note of what you’re saying.
But that mimicry of language also helps build trust.
In a study by Northwestern University, mimicry of language was found to have a direct correlation between trust and lexical mimicry.
Using the right language to convey the right message at the right time is what this is all about.
Use the research you’ve completed to understand not just the issues your users face, but how they talk about solving those issues and you’ve got a recipe for maximum effect copy.
While we probably won’t benefit from Amazon review mining, reading other publicly available reviews can still help. If you dig deep enough, you’ll uncover motivations that go beyond “fast,” “on time,” or “at a reasonable price.”
Step 2: Determine Your Value Proposition
You know what your customers want, so now you can use words that will resonate with them to explain what you’re offering. Ideally you’ll be able to do so in the headline.
Unfortunate, but true:
To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.
How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages?, Nielsen Norman Group
Ready to start? Read this article by Conversion XL: Useful Value Proposition Examples (and How to Create a Good One).
If you feel like what you’re offering is entirely the same as what others are offering, some inspiration:
If you don’t feel like clicking the links, here’s the short version: your customers probably don’t know what you (or everyone else) are doing to get the results. So you don’t need gimmicks to stand out. You just need to uncover that hidden remarkable benefit the Copyblogger article mentions.
Step 3: Unleash the Power of One
If you have a separate distinctive target audience you want to talk to, structure your website in a way that will allow you to address one audience at a time. But it’s not only a question of speaking to one reader. Michael Masterson explains how the Power of One works:
The Power of One is not only one big, central idea. It’s a fully engaging piece of copy with five necessary elements.
One good idea
One core emotion
One captivating story
One single, desirable benefit
One inevitable response.
The Power of One – One Big Idea by Michael Masterson
You might have been able to unearth that “single, desirable benefit” during Step 1.
If, after going through Step 1, you still have no idea what your ideal clients want (and you don’t have any clients you could reach out to, you know no one who works with that kind of client, and you do not know where to find them), a one-page online resume might work better for you.
Step 4: Learn about Website Design Best Practices (Sliders are EVIL)
Appearances matter, and your website should look like it represents a legitimate business (True story: the 2011 redesign of the ATA website made me think wasn’t a real professional association).
User experience is important, too. I look forward to being able to find information I need on the ATA website once it’s redesigned again. (Have you ever struggled with the ATA Certification Exam section? It makes me want to bash my head against the keyboard, and that’s on a good day.)
Design best practices:
Do not confuse, befuddle, or flabbergast your visitors into leaving your website:
Nielsen Norman Group on why sliders are not good for you, how users read on the web, and how they read pages
Also, Translation is UX, because I really like it.
Step 5: SEO
The point of SEO is to make sure people can find your website, which makes sense. It also helps you understand what your potential customers are looking for and which words they use.
So this step helps you refine your results from Step 1.
Step 6: What Do You Want Your Website Visitors to Do?
How many clicks will it take to get your visitors to do it (and how many visitors might drop off at various funnel steps)?
And why would they want to do it?
Are they still there, or did they get lost along the way?
Do they realize they need to click that button? Or fill out that form?
How can you persuade them to do so?
This should actually be Step 0, but this way you already know what to look for in your website design and your copy, you have a value proposition that is relevant to what your customers want, and you have optimized your texts for search.
Now you can go back to the beginning and go through Steps 1–5 and make changes based on your goals for the website.
Some resources on getting the visitors to stay with you:
Bonus Content: Emails
Even if you feel like this is not something that could possibly be relevant for you, consider this:
For every $1 spent, email gives back a whopping $38 in ROI, and offers the broadest reach (CampaignMonitor).
If you also want to use email marketing and email automation to stay in touch with potential and past clients, some resources to make your emails bring in business:
Bonus for A-listers: THE BLOG (capitalized out of respect for the time-consuming monster that it is)
There are multiple quantifiable benefits to maintaining a high-quality blog, as this article shows.
Conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%). (Source: Aberdeen)
However, if done right, blogging takes up a lot of time. Before committing to a blog, make sure you will be able to get it done right:
Don’t have time to figure out how to apply this information to your business
Ekaterina Howard is a bilingual copywriter, the current Administrator of the ATA’s Slavic Languages Division, and a Copy School Graduate. She believes that both freelance translators and interpreters and T&I companies can do better than “great quality at a reasonable price” and blogs about the ways in which they can make their copy more relevant and more persuasive.