Do your words work?

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No matter how far we’ve come with technology and communications, the written word still holds great power. The words we choose to use – or not use – can completely alter our message. Have you considered the impact your words are having on your customers?

Whether it’s the home page of your website, a blog or a Facebook post, your content must be solution orientated. This not only shows that you clearly understand your business and your audience, it makes customers want to know more, and therefore more likely to act.

This distinction is critical, because while many businesses do a great job of describing all the features of their product or service, they often leave out what customers are really looking for – how the product or service can help them.

So how can you make your online content more effective?

Here are our top 5 tips for creating content that works:

1. Focus on benefits

Customers buy benefits, not features. Rather than going into great detail about everything your product can do, explain how this translates to a benefit for your customer – such as time or money saved, better health or higher performance.

Remember that whilst Google might be the first place customers go when looking for a product or service they’ll rarely search for a specific business name, but rather an answer to their question. For example, someone with a burst water pipe won’t search for ‘Dave The Master Plumber’ – they’re more likely to search for ‘fix pipe’ or ’emergency pipe repair’.

2. Avoid jargon

Speak plainly, and avoid using terms someone outside your industry wouldn’t know. You don’t need to dumb down your content – just keep it simple. This gives your audience confidence in your message, and therefore your product or service. A simple test to see if you’re using too much jargon is to do a quick spellcheck – if it’s not in the dictionary, leave it out!

It can be tempting to demonstrate how well you understand your industry or business by using technical terms but unless your audience is also technically-minded, they may be turned off. In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply [your customers will think] you don’t understand it well enough”.

3. Be authentic

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your content. We know people do business with people, so help your audience get to know you – they’ll be far more likely to engage with your message.

If you’re not sure where to start, just imagine you’re having a conversation with your customer. Conversational content is increasingly becoming the preferred style for a wide range of businesses, simply because it’s relatable, human and engaging!

4. Simplify complex ideas

If you have a large amount of information or the topic is complicated, break it into smaller pieces using subheadings or bullet points. You can also divide a long piece of content into several shorter pieces. These techniques help your audience stay focused and take in more of your message, which gives them greater certainty about your business.

5. Provide value

Today, it’s not enough to write about your product or service. Instead you need to create valuable content that’s useful even when customers aren’t looking to buy. Providing information and education rather than a sales pitch builds trust, so that when the time comes to purchase, your name will be front of mind.

There are many types of content that will encourage your customers to regularly read your newsletter or visit your blog. For example, a real estate agent might provide insights into the best kept cafes in their local suburb, or top tips on how to choose a removalist.

No matter what the industry, great content focuses on one thing – your customer. So next time you write a blog article or social media post, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider the impact of your words. A message focused on your customer’s needs is far more likely to inspire confidence, understanding and engagement – which ultimately give your customer a reason to act.

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megan@mwords.com.au
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