New entrepreneurs have wonderfully enthusiastic energy about them; it’s an exhilarating time for sure. They’re ecstatic that their vision is coming to fruition, and thrilled to showcase the website they created.
Naturally, they want to tell the world about what they do and have big hopes and dreams for being inundated with leads that will keep them joyfully busy.
But then I come along and burst their bubble.
Well, sort of.
You see, some business owners already have a solid grasp of online marketing, while others don’t, and sometimes it’s necessary for me to share my wisdom on the finer details of how to create a successful website.
Some will gratefully appreciate the advice I provide on how they can best present their business to the world, while others feel they have a pretty good handle on the whole process and just want to hand over their marketing materials and have us take care of promoting their business.
In any case, typically, they anticipate being able to just sit back and wait for the money to roll in.
But if their website doesn’t appeal to potential customers, then that’s probably not going to happen.
So if you’re wondering how to build a successful website, then this article will give you a great place to start.
It explores one of the biggest mistakes business owners make while building their websites, and it’ll help you understand why website copy is so important to building an effective website, and why it needs to focus on potential customers, rather than your business.
I know it might sound strange, but just hear me out on this. Once you read through this article, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
When Building an Effective Website, You’ve Got to Focus on Your Customers As a web developer and online brand specialist, one of the biggest challenges I face is when clients insist on having everything done their way.
Understandably, they know their business and industry better than I do. But what they aren’t quite as well versed in is the psychology behind brand positioning and how they come across to potential clients.
So, what am I getting at here?
Well, more often than not, business websites tend to read like self-indulgent lists of achievements.
Sentences usually start with “I” or “We” and they’ll say something like, “We’ve been in business for more than 25 years, we’ve won these industry awards, we’re very capable in these areas,” and so on and so forth.
And what is the result? Typically, this is a huge turn-off for the reader.
Now, I know it’s a natural tendency for us to want to talk about ourselves and our offerings, and it is important to communicate these things clearly to potential customers.
But when your website focuses solely on your business and doesn’t put any focus on your customers, unfortunately, the message received by the reader goes more like this:
“Welcome to my website, I’m so excited you found it. Here’s all about me and my products and services. Please buy, I could use some sales here!”
As I always say, first impressions are one of the cornerstones of business success.
That being said, you don’t want your website to give this kind of an impression, do you?
I mean, how do you feel when you encounter websites like that?
Do you enjoy listening to someone go on and on about themselves? Probably not.
So, why would you expect others to come to your website only to hear you go on and on about how great you are?
Realistically, no matter how much you want to, you shouldn’t. And if you do have this expectation, you’re just setting yourself up for one huge disappointment.
Because let’s face it – no one is interested in you or your business until you’ve built up some credibility in their eyes.
And even if you are perceived as credible, the fact of the matter is, most people still won’t care about the accolades of your business.
What they are interested in, however, is if what you’re offering can take care of their needs, solve their problems, or make their life easier.
So, now that we’ve got the pep talk out of the way, let’s talk about how to actually put this into practice.
Building an effective website requires a deep understanding of your target market. Without this knowledge, it’s going to be pretty much impossible to write compelling copy or come up with a design that’s going to appeal to your ideal customers.
So, if you want to know more about how to build a website that will appeal to your target market, ensuring you get more leads and sales, then this article is for you.
It discusses some of the best methods for building an effective website, including analyzing your target audience, empathy-based marketing, and keeping things as simple as possible.
Getting Inside the Heads of Your Customers Yes, the purpose of your website (usually) is to sell whatever it is you’re offering, but how you do the selling is what makes or breaks its effectiveness.
And regardless of whether you run a B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) company, you still need to capture the interest of potential customers.
Some of the best ways of doing this include showing empathy toward them, letting them know that you understand their struggles and can relate to what they’re going through, and assuring them that what you’re offering can help them to alleviate those issues.
But in order to do this, you need to get inside the heads of your customers.
What I mean by that is you need to understand the psychology behind how they think and why they do what they do.
This means thinking about things like the mistakes they’re making that are causing their problems, the beliefs that influenced them to make those mistakes, and the consequences of those mistakes.
So, let’s go through this exercise using the owner of the hypothetical website we discussed above as an example.
First, we need to identify the mistake they’re making that’s ruining the effectiveness of their website, which would be making it all about them and their business, instead of focusing on potential customers.
Next, we need to identify the belief that caused them to make that mistake.
In this case, the belief would be something like, “If I don’t share my expertise on my website, and talk about how great my business is, then no one will believe I’m capable of helping them and they won’t be interested in what I’m offering.”
Then, we need to think about the consequences of this mistake, which include things like a high bounce rate, lower sales, fewer leads, and losing customers to the competition.
No matter what your offering is, you can apply this formula to your potential customers, and use it to make your website copy more appealing to that audience, and therefore, much more effective.
But remember, it has to focus on potential customers and their problems, not you or your business.
How can you do that?
Well, let’s assume, for example, you own a business that manufactures lawn mowers, and you’re certain you have a lawn mower that will make it faster and easier for people to cut their lawns.
In this case, instead of writing something like, “We make the best lawn mowers known to man,” and then proceeding to drone on and on about their features, it would be exponentially more effective to simply put the focus on potential customers.
For this example, the mistake the customer is making would be continuing to use their crappy old lawn mower, the consequences of that mistake would be spending more time mowing the lawn, and dealing with the annoyances of a typical lawn mower, and the belief that influenced them to make that mistake is that they don’t think there’s a better lawn mower out there or they can’t afford it if it exists.
Once you know these things, it’s going to be much easier to write compelling copy that appeals to potential customers and puts the focus on them.
So, it would be way more effective to write something like this:
“Are you tired of spending hours mowing the lawn?
“Is your lawn mower always getting clogged up with grass clippings?
“We’ve designed a machine that allows you to mow your lawn in half the time, without any of the annoyance while making it affordable too.”
See what I did there? All of the focus is being put on potential customers, and it discusses the mistakes they’ve been making, and the consequences of those mistakes.
The copy addresses their annoyances and their struggles, and even when I started to talk about the product, it’s all about what they can do with that product, and what it’s going to do for them.
Cutting Through the Noise Now that we’ve talked about how to get into your customers’ heads, I think it’s just as important to discuss how to write copy that makes things clear and concise, and tells them exactly what they need to know about what you’re offering.
“Nobody remembers a company that makes noise,” said Donald Miller in Building a Story Brand.
“In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”
His book hammers home how important it is to ensure that not only is your copy focusing on potential customers, but also that it’s succinct, easy to understand, and contains all the information they need to know about your product and what it can do for them.
According to Miller, within five seconds of looking at your copy, potential customers should know:
What you’re offering How it’ll make their life better What they have to do to buy it So, whatever it is you’re selling, you’ve got to make sure your copy is short and sweet, easily intelligible, and clearly explains all the points above.
Be the Guide, Not the Hero. Building a Story Brand also explains the tenets of effective marketing by comparing it to great storytelling.
Miller’s book points out that nearly all great stories, whether they’re in the form of a film, novel, or otherwise, tend to follow a similar formula.
There’s more to it than this, but the gist of it is that all great stories feature a hero who has a problem and then finds a guide who has a plan to help them overcome that problem and achieve success.
In the context of building an effective website, that means putting your customer in the spotlight by positioning them as the hero, keeping yourself out of the limelight by positioning your business as the guide, and appealing to the hero by letting them know you can help them solve their problem.
So, when it comes to writing text for your website, stop thinking it’s about you, because it’s not.
It’s about your ideal client, what they’re going through, and what they need to hear from you in order to convince them you are the right choice.
Once you’ve mastered that, you’re good as gold!
If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, or maybe writing’s just not your forte, you can always hire a copywriter to do it for you.
In any case, if you follow this formula by getting into your customers’ heads, positioning them as the hero, your business as the guide, and putting the focus on potential customers instead of your business, it’s bound to make a big difference in terms of the success of your website!
Have you taken a close look at your website lately to see how it’s written? When looking at it from this perspective, what did you discover?
Does writing your own website copy seem like a daunting task? Would you rather trust this sort of thing to a professional? Our seasoned copywriters will make sure your website copy is clear, compelling, and appealing to your ideal customers. Contact us to find out more about how we can help.
To your business success, Susan Friesen