Write Website Content for Customer Appeal

Writing customer-focused information is the key to effective, appealing content.

Create Customer-Centric Content

People come to your website for one reason: information! They want to learn about a product or service, to find what's new, to get support, or to make a purchase. Your content needs to immediately grab their interest and to satisfy their needs, or they'll zip off to a competitor's website. Most web content providers make the mistake of writing from a company perspective. To avoid becoming a web casualty, you need to create customer-centric content. How do you accomplish this? Read on to learn the five keys to writing for customer appeal.

Quick! What Business Are You In?

People need to know right away whether you sell vitamins, or real estate, or cleaning services. If someone is looking for trucks, or hair salons, they need to know instantly if they're at the right site. You have 5-10 seconds to inform visitors what your business is before you lose them.

If your business name is "Amy's Products" and not "Amy's Garden Tools," be sure you have a tagline and an intro "blurb" that provides quick, descriptive information on your product or service. Don't have photos of trees or anvils unless that's what you're selling—use relevant images. And focus your message. If you only service Grainfield, Kansas, put that out there up front so you don't waste people's time. Don't make website visitors guess what your business is!

Offer Solutions and Benefits—Don't Sell Features

People don't care about your business—they only care about what you can do for them. Your content needs to offer solutions and benefits. Visitors don't care about your company's history, mission statement, or personnel bios—at least not initially—so keep that information off the home page. Your content needs to focus on the benefits of your product or service. Most importantly, let visitors know what problems you can solve for them, and offer these solutions up front. Features and service details can be on underlying pages.

Solution- and benefit-oriented messages:

  • "Get beautiful, lasting hair color without the time and mess of traditional dye."
  • "The sweat-free, pain-free way to youthful vigor, strength, and vitality."
  • "Learn time-management techniques that will increase office productivity 50%."

Feature-type messages:

  • "Ergonomic design developed from 18 years of research and complex model testing."
  • "Our founder has 23 years of experience in the industry and has helped numerous companies with their strategic planning goals. JB has received the top five awards in the business and is a nationally recognized expert."
  • "We have state-of-the-art equipment running at full capacity. We have a clean safety record."
  • "Available in black, purple, green, and brown."

Establish Consumer Trust and Confidence with Appropriate Content

In the old days, most people probably heard about new products and services through word-of-mouth. Someone they knew and trusted referred them. Having a website gives you some legitimacy as a business; however, the Internet is a vast, anonymous place. Unless all of your business is by referral (nice if you can get it), most of your potential customers won't know you.

You need to establish trust with prospective customers through your website's content. How? Your contact information should include a street address, along with a phone number and email address. Your photo adds a personal touch. Offer strong guarantees or warranties, and highlight them.

Testimonials from satisfied customers can be invaluable, especially if these people can be contacted (company names, email addresses)—think eBay's buyer feedback. Include any non-reciprocal relevant links, association icons, press releases, independent reviews, or any other third-party input. And don't stick them all on a "testimonials" page—no one goes there. Sprinkle them throughout your website so visitors will be more likely to see them. And then these testimonials can fulfill the task of promoting your product's or service's benefits.

Purchasing Trigger is Emotional Appeal

"Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Keep that old sales saw in mind while creating your website's content. People buy on emotion. People make purchases because they want to save time, save money, look good, or feel good—even better if they can do it all once! Or they may want to be protected from a certain fear or pain. Know your product and your customers, and then write to appeal to their wants and desires, or to ward off their fears.

People don't buy a car just for transportation, but to feel young and sporty, sexy, safe and secure, or even superior. What emotions will prompt customers to purchase your product or service: loneliness, insecurity, hope, independence, frugality, vanity, confidence? Delve into these emotional "motivators," know them, and lead with them. Stats and facts provide the necessary justification for the purchase, so include this information, but in a supporting role.

How Do You Stand Out from the Competition?

Why should someone do business with you, or buy your product or service, instead of your competitors? You need to know your "unique selling proposition" (USP), and it must be clearly presented in your web content. Ask yourself questions to ferret it out if you don't already know this. What is unique about your business and sets you apart from your direct competitors? Which of these factors are most important to your customers? Do your customers understand these factors? Have you communicated the factors clearly?

Your USP should include or state a benefit—the "what's in it for me?" element. You need to succinctly convey this uniqueness to potential customers. They want to know what you can offer that Joe Blow can't. Here are some examples:

  • "Next Day Delivery, or It's Free!"
  • "Emergency Support Available Around the Clock"
  • "We Remember so You Don't Have To—Free Reminder Service Included"
  • "No Phone Maze—A Friendly Knowledgeable Human Every Time" (don't we wish?)

Your USP may not be as simple or clear as the above examples, but the easier it is to state, the more impact your USP will have. Make your uniqueness obvious.

Give Customers Reasons to Return

You've done your work. Your website content appeals to your prospective customer on every level. It instantly informs what business you're in. It focuses on offering customer solutions and benefits. It establishes trust. It appeals to the emotions guaranteed to trigger your target's purchasing instinct. And it sets you apart from your competition. What else do you need?

You need to give customers and potential customers a reason to return to your website. Why? Typically, it takes 5-7 visits before a person decides to buy from you or engage your services. You need to give them reasons to keep coming back. These "incentives" could be newsletters, articles, new product announcements, product reviews, contests, surveys, community forums, coupons—anything your audience will find useful, informative, or entertaining. Focus your website on your customers, give them reason to return, and reap the rewards!

About Cool Plum Design

Cool Plum Design is a full-service web design business. We work with clients throughout the United States who need to represent their business online. We offer quality, customer-focused solutions integrating design, functionality, and content.

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