This 1 simple writing tip will improve any business website
Imagine a luxury hotel in a popular family seaside resort. It’s a gorgeous period building with décor that exudes more 20’s charm than the Orient Express. And the owner has won an award for hospitality. Chin-chin!
But guests are dwindling.
The owner thinks she needs a better online presence. So she gets a website that’s almost as gorgeous as the hotel.
There’s pictures so stunning it would make a travel blogger weep with joy. An About page detailing the hotel’s history.
In bold font, the Sandbanks Prestige Award she won in 2014. An invite for readers to email or call to book a room.
Finally, the offer of a fair price because this hotel doesn’t advertise via third-party OTA’s who take a commission. Perfect! The owner waits for business to pick up.
Why is no one staying on the site? Why is no one staying at the hotel!
Because the content’s written from the wrong point of view.
People who can afford luxury hotels tend to work full-time and can travel only in school holidays. They won’t want to call or email. They’ll want to check availability for their dates and book online, instantly.
They won’t care the place has been open for 20 years, but will want to know if it provides activities for their kids, the proximity to the beach and attractions, and how the hotel make their holiday better. Is there a spa? Room Service? Good Wifi?
They don’t know what a Sandbanks Prestige Award is. And chances are, they don’t know what OTA means. While they may work out it stands for Online Travel Agent, they’ll resent having to do so.
Here’s the thing. Effective website content isn’t about the business. It’s about the customer.
Think about your last online purchase, and this makes total sense. Chances are, the website was tailored to you, served your personal preferences. Gave you the info you wanted upfront, with no unnecessary content or annoying jargon to make you feel confused, bored or excluded.
Be honest, the best websites make you feel that it cares about you. If you haven’t done already, make this shift in your own writing and you’ll see the benefit.
It’s easy to forget this rule with all the distractions of running a business. Even the biggest companies fall into this trap. Remember the Co-op’s recent and short-lived ‘’treat your daughter to an Easter egg for doing the washing-up’’ campaign? It sparked a backlash among their customers who for some reason didn’t want sexist values imposed on their kids. Oops.
Whether you’re an ecommerce or a bricks and mortar business, your website isn’t a place to showcase info about you. It’s a place to offer great customer service Even your About page can be about your customer!
Want your content to be more customer-focussed? Here are some pointers:
- Step into your typical customer’s shoes. What are their real goals for buying your product? Do they want to be successful? Be seen as successful? Look younger? Live longer? Provide for their family? Describe how your product or service will achieve them.
- Avoid formal, stiff writing, but address your customer directly, as if you were chatting face-to-face. ‘’You’’ is a powerful word. It beats ‘’our customers’’ every time. And speak your customer’s language. Avoid industry-specific words they won’t be familiar with.
- Anticipate what your customer wants to know and tell them this and only this in your content. Leave out any stuff that’s not relevant. Think about what questions he or she will ask, then set out to answer them.
The most persuasive content you can write doesn’t need to be clever or have catchy slogans. It’s the content that’s closest to what’s going through the reader’s mind. Make them feel that you get them. Make them feel special. And they’ll love you for it. They’ll stick around on your website.
And they’ll want to buy from you.