When having that initial talk with a new client, whether they just opened their business or just need a website redesign, I find that my customers need a short lesson on how to speak to their customers. Not in person of course, but speaking to them using their website.
They want to help because they honestly don’t know how or where to begin. They know they are good and have something unique to offer or they wouldn’t be in business. I have a worksheet I send them to help spark some ideas, but there is still a conversation that needs to occur before they really understand the kind of content I need for each web page.
I tend to remind folks to steer clear of content that can be summarized as, “we exist and you should buy from us.” Well, I hate to say it sometimes, but it needs to be said, your customers don’t… really… care. I know, sorry, but it is true. Your prospective customers do not care that you have a business and they don’t care or are tired of hearing about your quality service, your unique perspective or how you can exceed expectations. Then you send them to the dreaded laundry list of services.
Honestly, the only thing they want to know is that you will be helping them SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM. I will say it again in a different way.. your customers have a problem; how will you solve it? They found you on the web or were referred to you and they are hoping you can solve their problem. Can you? Will you? How will you show them that you can?
This is where your website content will help make the sale. Most content on websites are filled with what is called ‘self-centric’ copy. It is filled with how great the company is, how great their services are, and how they have so many features. The problem is that your customers have already been to or about to visit your competition and probably heard the exact same thing.
So what do you need to do? To begin, talk with your customers and ask questions. What are those questions? What do they answer you with?
- Be Unique. The biggest question you need to ask yourself is, “What makes me unique from my competition?” Yes, everyone has quality service, fundamental values, customer driven protocols, blah.. blah…blah. But what is different about your service or product? Do you offer boutique-style, one-on-one consultations or do you have a staff of professionals with 15 years combined experience? Do your CPAs work individually with you and your bookkeeper, provide specific reports just for your business type? Do your doctors attend the latest conferences each year to keep up with the latest techniques in skin care? Does your company offer fast turn-around or no-hassle returns?
- Be A Problem Solver. Ask yourself the many, many questions your customers have asked you and answer them on your website. I told a client to imagine that his is sitting in front of his biggest or best customer (the general manager of an auto dealership). You have to sell to him or her that you have what it takes because you have a staff that you personally train, you ensure that each member knows the proper techniques and on-time service, and that you’ve been doing this type of work for 10 years. If you are an A/C repairman, what are the typical problems folks come to you with? Cool air isn’t so cool? Need regular maintenance on your A/C? Ask the question.. then give them the solution.
- Remove the Jargon. We know that your customers are probably familiar with your services and many may already know your industry jargon, but my take is to make the content simple enough that anyone can read and understand what it is you do. You never know who might be the researcher who passes on your name to decision maker. Technical jargon can mean different things to different people. Now to be fair, there are websites that are clearly not meant to sell a service. There are websites that we build that are only meant as a tool for bidding purposes, so using jargon can be important. But, typically, I try to stay clear of them.
- Be Super Clear and Simple. Scanning is generally how a customer will read your website. Don’t hide your services behind cute, poetic sayings and long paragraphs. Folks don’t have time. Use bullets and short paragraphs with bold words and headlines. Be poetic and long winded in your personal blog not on your company website.
- Show Yourself and Have Fun. Okay, I said to not be cute, but don’t be afraid to show YOU. It is okay to be a little informal and offer some personality. Don’t be so stiff so that you come off as superior. Maybe photos of your staff in goofy hats to show how you all work well together and talk about how serious you are in your business but still have fun.
Be up front and clear about what it is you want your clients to do. That is the bottom line really. Stop talking so much about yourself and listen to your customers and clients. What do they want to learn from you to make them buy from you. What will help them make that crucial decision to call or email you? The days of online brochure websites are over, people want value.