Your website is all about you, right? It should carry your praises on the wind and shout your greatness to the sky. It should circle and underline all of the reasons why you’re awesome, with full-color photography of you in all of your resplendent glory. The very internet itself should vibrate with glee as your site ticks off your accomplishments to droves of adoring fans. That’s Website 101, right?
No. It’s not. Your website isn’t about you because nobody cares.
People don’t visit your website to learn how amazing you are. They certainly aren’t looking to bask in the glow of your bullet-pointed feature lists. They wander into your site because they want to know what you can do for them. They’re interested to learn how you can solve their problems and how you can do it economically. They may not realize it, but they’re not interested in learning about you. They want to know how much you know about them.
In short, your website isn’t about you. It’s about your prospects and your customers.
It’s a subtle change in perspective, but it can have a dramatic effect on your message’s power. Focusing on solving problems instead of shouting your praises demonstrates to potential clients that you understand them. It creates an immediate connection. They’ll see that you know their pain points and have worked diligently to provide appropriate solutions.
Because they don’t want to read about how great you are, they want to know how you can make them great. That requires thinking about your website differently.
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Get to Know Your Customers First
Before you can craft compelling website copy that your prospects will identify with, you need to examine who they are. This means talking to them, researching your market, and listening without preconceptions.
You may think you know why your customers choose you over your competition, but if you’ve never actually asked, you may be operating under false assumptions. Solving problems is crucial for strong website messaging, but first, you have to be sure you’re addressing the right issues.
Think about the people in your life that you feel most connected to. Those with whom conversation is easy, enjoyable, and fulfilling. What is it about those relationships that make them work so well?
We don’t presume to know you and your folk, but we can wager a guess. In most cases, you feel connected because you feel heard. You know without reservation that they understand you and your concerns. They have your best interests at heart. They elevate you above themselves, and you return the favor.
That’s what your website should do for your customers. It should validate their feelings and make it clear that you’re in business for them. It’s a story about their needs and desires. It’s about relieving their difficulties and making them happier, smarter, richer — just better in whatever way they need.
So how do you do that? Shifting your perspective is the first step, and keeping your audience as the focal point of your narrative will do wonders for your messaging, but sometimes that’s not enough to help make the mental shift. What follows are practical changes you can make that will help refocus your messaging.
Focus on Benefits Instead of Features
When people want a pencil, they don’t actually want a pencil. They want to write something. They want to sketch a concept or detail future plans. Maybe they’re interested in penning a heartfelt message to a friend. They want to communicate.
Smart sales messaging should focus on helping them express themselves, not on the features of a pencil. They’re not going to care that your pencil boasts the perfect shade of yellow, or that you source only premium cedar. A pencil is a pencil is a pencil.
But you’re not selling a pencil. You’re selling the ability to jot down thoughts instantly. To drop notes of encouragement in a son or daughter’s lunchbox. Customers will buy your pencil because of what it can do to make their lives better, not because it has a jaunty green eraser.
When you focus on how your product or service benefits your customers, you’re telling them what it can do for them. Features are just descriptions. Benefits translate those features into immediate language that directly answers your customer’s concerns.
Write to Personas, Not Demographics
Website messaging is most effective when it seems to speak directly to the reader as if it were written specifically for them. That’s no easy task, but using customer personas in your content development can help push you in the right direction.
Often website designers will write with broad demographic categories in mind — African American females between the ages of 25 and 40 or white males over 65 that own a smartphone. The problem with this practice is that demographics are too broad, and when you write with such a wide audience in mind, you wind up with a shallow customer experience. People are much more than just a top-level category.
Personas fix this issue by personalizing your audience. You can think of personas as biographies of fictitious people that fit your target audience, rendered in granular detail. They give your customer a name and detail their drives and motivations, their goals, and fears. Personas list behaviors and preferences. And of course demographic information as well. The idea is to sculpt a detailed description of the sort of person most interested in your product or service. Often you’ll create more than one persona to fully capture your market.
Then, when you write, write as if you’re speaking directly to them. Address their pain points and reference their goals and desires. This process creates deeply resonant copy that feels profoundly related to the real experiences of your target audience. It will seem tailored to them because, in a very real sense, it was.
If You Remember One Thing, Remember That It’s Not About You
Have you ever had a conversation with someone that blathered on incessantly about themselves? Most people have. And most people would agree that those aren’t the “conversationalists” they generally seek out.
Don’t let your website make the same mistake. We can help flip it from pompous braggart to selfless humanitarian. From the blowhard that everyone avoids to the charismatic charmer that people can’t help but be drawn to. From Tom Green to Tom Hanks. Justin Bieber to Justin Timberlake. Nickelback to…well…somethings are irredeemable. But not your website. Let us help realize its true potential.