Don’t try and sell, just connect
Connecting with a potential customer is important, just as pushy sales people or annoying television commercials can kill a sale, so too can pushy website content. Your web content should find a sweet spot between selling, and being product information. If you attempt to sell too hard, you will lose a portion of your audience, and if you are too vague, you will lose all. It seems like a conundrum that is hard to escape, but if you are able to engage a reader with real problems that your product or service can solve, then you can hook their interest.
Expressing the needs of previous customers, and how you were able to fulfill those needs is an excellent way of addressing this issue. Many customers want real world examples of how a solution will help them, giving them relatable content builds trust and connects with your audience/potential customers.
If you have the numbers to back up your claims, USE THEM. Taking your readers down the garden path of flowery language and vague statements will kill your credibility. If your products works and you have the proof, do not be afraid to share it. These real-world numbers will differentiate your content from 98% of the content on the web.
Be a layman
Avoid jargon whenever possible. Leave fancy words and complex acronyms to trade journals and message boards. Your content is meant to appeal to the broadest demographic possible, and using industry lingo and hard to pronounce words can alienate readers. For most readers, compelling content beats technical content, and the use of Jargon sets a tone that gives the impression the writer is difficult to engage. You don’t have to engage your readers like children (unless they are) but find a personable tone that anyone can understand and relate to.
Skip the details
Readers are generally interested in the net result. While a few may be interested in what bells and whistles make your solution work the way it does, the bulk just wants to know how it can help them. The end result is the key point of information for 90% of readers, and excessive details and background information becomes boring and is unnecessary. Don’t make your readers determine the benefit of your solution AFTER they’ve wrapped their head around all you’ve explained to them. Your web content should not be a test for the reader, give them the answer, and those who want to know the how will seek it out.
Break it up
Since the dawn of the internet, the average reader’s attention span has dropped. Moby Dick, in all it’s glory is too long a read for a lot of people, but breaking the text up into installments is a good way to increase your readership.
For bloggers: Breaking up a topic into several parts gives you more posts, and gives your readers a reason to come back to your blog. If you can write an engaging pt.1, you better believe that interested readers will come back for pt. 2. This results in more traffic for you, and a more engaged reader. This will also allow you to take a rest between sub-topics, allowing you to refine and focus pt.1, without having to worry about pt.2 right away.
For marketers: Researching a product for your business can be a real chore. By breaking up your content into smaller parts, you give the reader an opportunity to read at their own pace, and allowing them to easily skip to and from sections of your content that most engage them. For those marketers that use a website analytics system, you can determine the level of interest based on the number of pages a customer views. A reader that visits all 10 parts of your article is highly engaged compared to those only visiting one or two parts.
About Jim Wong
Jim is a digital veteran with over 10 years of experience driving digital strategy and leading multi-discipline teams for national & local brands in over 20 industries. His expertise is in leveraging digital marketing to market businesses smarter and better through a data focused, performance ROI driven approach.