Four Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their Web CopyMonday, October 12th, 2009
Message from Michelle
Welcome to this issue of Sumèr’s Secrets. Thanks again to all of you who were on the call Tuesday night. I’m excited about the number of people who’ve already signed up for my four-week bootcamp, “The Secrets to Influencing Your Online Market,” which begins October 27th.
This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets focuses on the common mistakes businesses make with their website copy. It’s often easier to write about something or someone else than it is to write about yourself. It’s no different when writing your company’s marketing materials. When you’re too close to something, it can be difficult to see what isn’t clear and needs revising. What you think makes sense may not make sense to your intended audience.
I’d encourage you to read the article below and take action. Go back over your website copy and see how you can better connect with your target audience.
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Feature Article: Four Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their Web Copy
1) Is your website too self-centered?
“We’re so great at this, so great at that. Want to see all the awards we’ve won? No? Well we’re going to tell you about them anyway.” This might seem over-the-top, but too many business websites do just this. I’m sure businesses that do this haven’t stopped caring about the prospective customers and started caring only about how they look to others—it’s human nature to want to showcase strengths and people are attracted to it—but it won’t work on a website.
The key to influencing your market and attracting clients is all in how your website copy speaks to your customers and how it illustrates your company’s goals, values, and, obviously, products and services. Your web copy should work to build relationships with your prospective customers and illustrate a transparent business message.
2) Do prospects understand what services / products you offer?
How many times have you stumbled across a website that describes its services / products and you have no clue what they’re talking about? While many businesses have the intention of trying to stand out and be completely unique from the competition, all they end up doing is stringing together a bunch of fancy words that have no meaning. It’s nearly impossible to express your uniqueness when you say that your “creative services are unique.” (What does that even mean?)
The key is not about saying you’re different from the competition, but rather, it’s about showing your prospective clients that you offer something different from the competition. This is expressed in a clear, result-driven brand message. When you become clear on your brand message, your target audience becomes clear on what you sell.
3) Do you even know what products / services you offer and to whom?
You may think you know what products / services you offer, but how clear are you? Businesses evolve. Services change. And so does the market. Often, what happens is companies add information to their website over a period of time. The result is a smorgasbord of information that can easily confuse prospects.
If you aren’t specific about the product / services you offer and how they benefit your target market, it is extremely difficult for you to convert prospects into customers. Similarly, if you don’t follow shifting markets, how can you expect to sell products to a customer you no longer know?
4) Are you speaking “Greek” to your prospects?
Your business is unique, and this uniqueness sets it apart from the competition. But, there’s a difference between expressing that uniqueness in industry terms, and illustrating it in layman terms. You understand the industry jargon, but do your prospective customers? Probably not, which is why you need to understand who your target market is and how your brand message and language can be written to connect with them. Remember, it’s important to speak to your prospects and not at them because, many times, they are your peers, not others in your industry.
Tip of the Month
According to the new FTC guidelines, which came out Monday, October 5, 2009, “The post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.” And according to WebProNews, bloggers who do not respect these new guidelines can be fined up to $11,000.