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Remember walking down the midway at the carnival and hearing a man shouting about “THE most amazing, fabulous, stupendous, unbelievable sights” just waiting for you inside?
“Yes Sir ! Step right up, folks! There’s plenty of room. C’mon inside and see … you simply won’t believe your eyes!”
They call this guy a “Barker” and his (or her) sole job is to get passers-by to stop, listen and become SO captivated and curious about the attraction that they immediately feel compelled to willingly and enthusiastically hand over their hard earned money JUST for the chance to take look inside.
The time tested staples of the Barker’s verbal repertoire generally emphasize some one-of-a-kind variety, novelty, beauty, or perhaps some unusual or grotesque feature.
“One day only!” “Don’t miss out.” “The only one known to man.” “Never seen before.” “From the depths of the black forest.” “Amaze your friends and neighbors.”
Two tickets please.
Unfortunately, chances are that the amazing spectacle vividly described outside the tent will generally have little in common with the mediocrity found within.
And, the Barker could care less. He got you in the door – butts in seats – and that’s all he really cares about. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Today, the same can be said about building your business website strictly around certain “keywords” only to enhance the sites Search Engine Optimization (SEO) status.
Sure, barking out the right buzz words and phrases out into the cyber-world will certainly attract visitors to your site. What’s even better, the more you repeat these words over and over, the more Google and Yahoo will think that you are really something important.
Yes, their complicated algorithms may be smart, but the human intellect is still the only thing able to sniff out BS – both online and on your shoe.
The reality is that it’s not enough that web searchers are able to find your website. In other words, it don’t mean a thing if they don’t spend some bling.
Last I checked, you can’t pay your rent with “clicks” or pay your employees with “likes”.
At the end of the day, your website needs to be able to convince its visitors to take action. Trouble is, turning a visitor into a paying customer takes much more than a few strategically placed keywords and some SEO-friendly text.
As always, convincing a customer to buy takes trust…and trust is a very complicated thing to establish online, especially if your website is focused primarily on only telling YOUR COMPANY’S story and not the story of your customers.
Effective, customer-centric copywriting should answer the questions that customers are thinking about and proactively address their fears, objections and uncertainties. The ultimate goal is not only getting them to buy, but to also feel good about the transaction, and maybe tell their friends too.
So stop barking and start thinking about what problem you solve for customers – then tell THAT story (over and over) in all of your marketing materials.
Otherwise, all you’ll get is a website full of unhappy people wondering how they let themselves get swindled into believing there was really something special behind the curtain.
I am so glad to see this completely revamped website finally get launched !!!
It was a long road to get there, but I am proud to say that the copy writing, tagline and positioning work that I started the project with served as the framework that drove the communication strategy for the entire site.
Specifically, I hope the new tagline “We’ll guide you home.” is something that really connects with their customers and prospects. These folks are pros at what they do and it was a pleasure to learn more about them and the industry they are so committed to.
I also really enjoy getting companies out of their own heads.
They come in thinking “We just do mortgages” and don’t realize that people aren’t just doing business with them because of this fact. That decision is both emotional and rational (in different percentages depending on the person – and the product) and therefore the messages that describe and promote this service must also have some emotional appeal as well.
I keep a note to myself visible on all of the writing projects I work on.
It says, “What are you trying to say? Can you feel it?” These are the words and phrases I brainstorm to begin every piece I write. These keywords become the soul or essence of what I want to communicate. The remainder of the process is getting the facts right and building a rhythm that keeps the reader engaged. I call this “putting the wood behind the arrow”.
Arrowheads are great for making a point – but they still need good wood behind them to actually fly through the clutter and reach the target.
Of course, having great people providing truly exceptional service makes the job of a marketer / copywriter so much easier – just find the right words and tell the truth. I love it when a plan comes together…check it out here.