It might sound brutal but nobody cares about you.
When people come to your website, they don’t care about your latest news, your new hires, or photos of your cute office dog. They only care about themselves. Your clients aren’t interested in what you do; they want:
Self-centered copy doesn't address any of these wishes. There is nothing useful in it, only ego.
The higher your self-focus, the harder it will be to build trust. You need to talk about your clients, not about yourself. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
When you're writing copy for your website, it's pretty normal to start with what you know. And what you know is You. That's why so many websites are self-centered.
Writing copy that really connects with people, requires you to get into their headspace. It's not about coming up with buzzwords that sound good. You need to dig a little deeper to define your target market and what motivates them. I always recommend conducting Voice of the Customer (VoC) research. It's a method that helps you better understand people you’re writing to and even use their language in your own copy.
Here are some examples of copy that starts with the problems or motivations of its target audience:
This copy comes from a website of Louder Than Ten, a company that offers training for project managers.
With this message, Grammarly connects with their business customers. As you can see, there’s no word about how great their writing assistant is.
I wrote a book for writers called From Reads To Leads. It's about 11 principles of writing content that people will read and respond to. One of these principles is Getting a Response Is the Whole Point of Writing. What I meant is that your writing needs to encourage people to take action. Writing customer-centric copy is one way to do it. Make sure you get the book for more insights.
Writing "You" instead of "We" will immediately change the focus from your business to your customer. For example, instead of writing: We hire world-class engineering talents to develop cutting-edge products that are both robust and usable. Write: You get to work with engineers who have built software used by millions of people.
Instead of writing: We maintain a lean organizational structure that leverages the experience of seasoned security and compliance professionals. Write: Don’t get caught with your defenses down. Our security and compliance professionals will help you keep your data out of the wrong hands.
Try flipping your website copy and your marketing materials to be “you” focused, instead of “we” focused and see how your conversion rates increase.
In the Mario video game series, Mario turns into Super Mario by touching mushrooms. You can think of mushrooms as features that Mario buys. When you play a Mario game, you don’t want to get the mushrooms. You want to turn into Super Mario.
When you write marketing copy, you need to think about outcomes and not features. A feature is what your product does; an outcome is what the customer becomes with your product. The features are the what, while the outcomes are the why.
For example, Coursera offers thousands of courses on any subject – this makes Coursera a go-to education platform to learn new skills. The message on their home page Learn Without Limits reflects the outcome that people get when they study on Coursera.
When you focus on outcomes or benefits, don’t fall into the trap of using general words that don’t mean anything. For example, the message “hire us to meet your software development needs” promises an outcome—you’ll meet your software development needs. But this outcome isn’t specific. It doesn’t resonate with the audience. Instead, you can write “by hiring our team, you’ll save more than 60% on software development and avoid hiring roadblocks.” This message is way stronger because it addresses the customer’s motivation—saving money and not putting too much effort into hiring.
A good exercise for turning features into outcomes is to keep asking yourself "So What?" Here is how it works:
You say: "My course offers 30 yoga lessons."
- So what?
- You'll be able to practice yoga every day for 30 days.
- So what?
- You'll turn yoga into a habit.
- So what?
- You'll improve your strength and flexibility, calm your mind, connect with yourself on a deeper level, and live a healthier and more fulfilling life!
Here is your outcome.
Read through your website and ask "So what?" for each claim. Keep asking "So what?" to find real outcomes.
Many businesses think that regurgitation of all their awards and how long they’ve been in business is going to mean something to their customers. But the truth is, no one cares about your virtues. They want to know what's in it for them.
I don't mean to say that you should never mention awards or achievements on your website. Of course, you should! But make sure you connect them with the value you provide to your audience.
For example, here is how Moz communicates their achievements:
Moz didn't include all these numbers on the page to brag about its achievements. They use numbers to prove that the customer gets the world's most accurate SEO data:
Let's change self-centered copy that talks about experience into customer-centered copy focused on what customers gain from that experience:
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Look closely at your marketing message: Is there anything in it for the reader?
Successful copy is always about the reader. To write this way, let go of the self and give your reader the main role. The more you give, the more you get.
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