March 10, 2010
By Karon Thackston © 2010, All Rights Reserved
Just for a moment, pretend you're a fly on the wall in my office. I'm on the phone with a prospective client and things are going well. We're talking about their target audience and they seem to have all the right answers. I am confident that these people "get it." Then the conversation takes a sharp left turn.
Client: "We want to build a website about our company."
Me: "We typically suggest building a website that's focused on the site visitor."
Client: "That's what we want to do. We want to tell them all about us."
Me: "If a client walked into your office, would you just start rambling on about your company? Or would you tailor your conversation to the person you were facing, finding out what they need and how you can help?"
Client: "Uh, well…"
Go look at your home page right now. How many instances of "we" and "us" and "our" do you see? And how many times is "you" or "your" used? You don't want to get caught we-ing all over yourself, now do you?
I have actually seen countless websites that completely ignore the site visitor. Not a single "you" or "your" on the entire page. Everything…every last sentence revolves around "us," "we" and "our." Can you just imagine what type of telephone or face-to-face conversation that would be? For some reason, placing information online instead of communicating verbally gives license to be completely self-centered.
The Transformation From We-Copy to You-Copy
"If the copy isn't supposed to be about us, what is it supposed to be about?" The copy should focus on how you can help your site visitors and what results they will see after using your products or services. Let me show you the difference.
Here's a snippet of copy from a business that provides services to protect daycare centers from parents who are bad payment risks. Here's the company-focused copy:
Our Best-Ever Parent-Check Software Is Now Available
And the customer-focused copy:
Find Out If Parents Are Bad Payment Risks BEFORE You Accept Them as Customers
See the difference? The first is all about the company. The second is all about the daycare center, its needs, and how Provider Watch can help.
It's Not Just About the Copy
Everything about your website should focus on the site visitor. Yes, this includes copy that addresses and speaks to customers in their language and about their needs. It also includes the keyphrases you choose, the colors you use, the layout of the pages, the navigation, the flow of information, the checkout process (if it's an e-commerce site), etc.
With every decision you make about your copy, search optimization, design and usability, ask yourself this, "Does this focus on our site visitors? Specifically, how will this benefit our site visitors?" Because they are the ones with all the money, doesn't it make sense to create an environment that is engaging and comfortable for them?
Jill's Comment: While this isn't typically an SEO issue, we do see this all the time with clients when they write their own copy. Unfortunately, we also see it with some "professional" copywriters' content. It's definitely a tough skill to grasp and it takes a different mindset to do it correctly. And yet it's one of the simplest things you can do with your website to increase its conversions in a big way.
I highly recommend Karon's Copywriting Course for anyone who wants to learn more about writing TRULY professional copy that converts.