Posted 9th November 2015 | By Nick Evans, Chairman

Talking sense on your website pages and in your email communications is harder than you think. Nick explores a few ideas for keeping focused content at the forefront of your online marketing.

Your business sells goods or services and, when you get the opportunity, you can't wait to tell people about the latest and greatest version of your widget, what it does, the quality of its manufacture, how many fangles per second your widget performs and the intricacies of fangle optimisation in a multitasking environment - none of which is of the slightest interest to your listener. The only exception to this fact is when you are speaking to someone who is also a fangle nerd.

While you are stressing the manufacturing tolerances of your product, your audience is actually thinking:

  • What will it do for me?
  • Will it save me time, money, effort?
  • What's the net benefit of investing in this widget?

Visit most companies' websites and you'll see classic examples of content that is selling features to an audience that actually wants to hear about benefits. Once your readers understand about the benefits, then maybe they'll look at the detail about the features. Unfortunately, as marketers, we tend to get all bound up in our own enthusiasm and get carried away by the product and not what it does for the client.

Google is a good mentor in this, because they have laid out what they expect any website to do in order that it best serves its audience and also that it gets found most easily by people searching for products or services like yours. A searcher on the web is less likely to write "1/4 inch Whitworth reverse threaded argoblast widget with cadmium coating" than "reliable manufacturing widget solution". The first describes the product. The second describes the wish.

Secondly, we often get carried away by our own marketing verbosity. A great example is cited here (near the end) which describes a page promoting the old Super Mario game, that begins with: "Mario's off on his biggest adventure ever, and this time he has brought a friend." This tells us nothing about the game or its producers and yet it is the lead sentence of this web page. Unsurprisingly, the Wikipedia page for this product ranks more highly since it begins with facts: "Super Mario World is a platform game developed and published by Nintendo as a pack–in launch title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System." Not only does the first version not tell anything to Google, it also tells nothing to real life users.

The lesson, whether you are writing for Search Engine Optimisation purposes or simply trying to write clear copy, is this:

  • Tell people what it is that you do in simple, plain English
  • Lead with benefits and not features
  • Don't get carried away by your enthusiasm for your product, but try to be objective.

That way, Google will like your website, your users will like your website and you will receive lots of visitors!

Nick Evans from ExtraMile

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