Message in a Throttle

I have talked to scores of people in your exact situation. You got a website up and running, but not much happened, so now you are looking into how much you should spend on marketing and SEO.

Those are good steps to take, but before you do that, I want you to take a deep breath and take an outsiders’s look at what customers might see if they come to your website.

Because all that money that you’re about to spend on marketing, ads, and pay-per-click will all be in vain if you don’t have your messaging right.

Connection In A Noisy World

The majority of business owners I’ve run into in the last year are interested in marketing. Like you, they see a correlation between site traffic and boosting sales. In almost every single case, the pages that they were spending money to send traffic to were not written for their target customers, or there was not enough information there for customers to make a positive decision.

We all have something that we want to sell. Your target customers have something they want to buy. But you’ll still need to convince them that your business is the best choice to solve their needs.

Customer service is about listening. It’s about hearing what they keep asking. It’s finding out what they think, and making adjustments.

Perhaps the most overlooked part of web design is focusing on the messaging of the site.

Sending Out A Message

Your message is what you want to get across. It’s the reason customers will want to do business with you instead of your competitors. It’s the reason that customer loyalty exists. When your customers resonate with your message, they are willing to come back and do business with you, year after year.

Even if it’s not in vogue to say it out loud these days, words are the most important part of designing your website.

How else are customers going to choose you except by the messages and words you use?

If you understand what your customers want, what they feel, and what they’re looking for, you have a damn good chance of crafting messages that will reach them.

But thinking about what customers are thinking, and then putting that down in words that are compelling is often a difficult task for business owners. Writing is a muscle that, frankly, most people don’t exercise. As a result, many websites have very thin content, or have messaging that is not speaking from the customer’s point of view, but usually from the business owner’s point of view.

These two personas usually have different perspectives and needs. There’s a subtle shift here that needs to take place to have effective website copywriting.

Heroes and Villains

One thing that I’ve had to work hard at myself, is making sure that the customer is the hero of all my stories, and not myself. I’ll say that one more time for the people in the back:

Your customer should always be the hero of the story, not you.

What do I mean by this?

Every great story has a hero, a villain, and a mentor. The customer is the hero. The situation or circumstance that they are trying to change is the villain. Your product or service is the mentor.

Your customers are looking for a solution to their particular problem. Your business is the Mickey to their Rocky, the Yoda to their Luke, the Gandalf to their Bilbo.

The messaging on your site should play that up to the maximum. Your customers are coming to you needing help with their problem. And whether that problem is big or small, your product or service is going to have a positive effect on their situation. In some cases, even a transformative effect. Be the mentor, but let them be the hero. Make your customers the star of their relationship with your business.

Bringing It Back Around

Both you and I are in complete acknowledgement that marketing and driving traffic is important, but what I’m trying to stress is that you need to have the copy on your landing pages set up to resonate with your prospects, so they end up converting or making a purchase. Make them feel like they came to the right place and leave no doubt in their mind that you’re listening to them. This will bring better results than just going free willy with marketing and traffic spend on traffic, without getting your website copy primed for success.

Author: John Locke

SEO consultant for manufacturing and industrial companies.