Part 1 of my guide for ensuring your website content is genuinely customer-focused.
There’s an anecdote in How to Win Friends and Influence People, where author, Dale Carnegie recounts the story of meeting someone at a party who talked nonstop about themselves. Carnegie hardly said a word, but after the party the person recounted to a mutual friend what a joy it was speaking with Carnegie and what a great conversationalist he was.
We all love it when it’s all about us, and we love people who make it all about us.
That’s important to remember when it comes to your website copy.
Visitors care less about your ace credentials, unparalleled product features and level of expertise than you think. But they’ll remember if you can show that you “get” them and understand their needs, concerns and joys.
I realize that’s way easier said than done even for the most empathetic marketers. So I’ve written a little 3-part series to help you ensure your website copy is genuinely customer-focused.
- Part 1 presents general guidelines
- Part 2 provides tips for your high-value web pages
- Part 3 goes into action items like your navigation, CTAs (calls-to-action) and more
Ready for part 1? Grab your buyer persona by the hand and let’s get customer-focused:
Less is more helpful.
You have a full course to feed visitors to your site, but remember, prospects like to nibble. If they like something, they’ll dig in. But that will never happen if you present too much text. Opt for short paragraphs with bold subheads. Avoid dense, lengthy copy chunks that require reader effort.
If there’s simply too much to say, create a separate page or blog post with the information. (Hint: don’t worry about having to add another section to your already-crowded navigation bar. It can be hidden like this page. Just as long as people who want more information can click a link and get it, you’re good.)
David Ogilvy told me to tell you to “Be interesting.”
The father of advertising would want me to remind you that you’re always selling to a human being. And humans like things that are different, unexpected, intriguing and entertaining. Concision is critical in writing for the web (see above), but not if means you have to resort to jargon and cryptic shorthand. Strive to address customers’ challenges and needs – and don’t be afraid to bubble a bit.
Ask yourself, “Do people really speak like that?”
Keyword-stuffed messaging is a turnoff to readers. It comes off as overly strategic and jargony. Keywords are for attracting the robots and getting ranked high on the page. But robots don’t purchase your product or service. Write conversationally, like humans speak…if you want to attract humans.
Give prospects something unique to remember you by: “Oh, they’re the ones who donated their trucks to deliver aid after the hurricane, “Oh, that’s the logistics company with the female CEO.” Business buyers make decisions for emotional reasons, too. So have an about page that lets people in by letting your guard down.
Excuse me, but your strategy is showing.
Your strategies, mission statement and value prop are important…to you, but not to your prospects. The words that provide powerful motivation to your team internally can have the opposite effect on prospects. To them, those elements just come off as B.S., no matter how sincere you are about them.
Showing beats saying.
Ironically, the same consumers who want it short and sweet today also want proof. Here are a few ways to provide it:
- Back up your claims with case studies (a.k.a. social proof).
- Demonstrate how much you value your employees by featuring them on your about section.
- Show how you treasure your customers by addressing every complaint you receive on social media.
- Prove your commitment to the community by pasting your sustainability certificate on your home page.
Make a difference by making it all about them.
If your bounce rate is a virtual super ball or your conversion rates are barely bouncing along, hopefully these tips will help. Want more pointers? Check out Part 2 to learn how to make your high-value web pages more customer-centric or Part 3 to see how to write CTAs, navigation terms and more with persona-appeal. And if an outside perspective would speed things up for you, just reach out. I’d love to assist.