Even if your website looks great—and hey, you’re probably pretty proud of it—you need to stop and ask yourself whether it actually says what you think it does. After all, when you look at your website, you might take away a very different meaning from it than your intended audience might. It’s tough because you know your business inside and out. Your audience (aka your potential customer) doesn’t. You need to make sure your message is clear and straightforward, and that it resonates in the way you want it to.
3 Components of a Successful Message
Delivering the right message to your audience always starts with three important details.
1) Make it obvious
This isn’t the time to be clever or crafty. You don’t want your message to be muddled with ambiguities or vagueness. Some copywriters fall victim to the notion that ambiguity opens their message up to more people. It doesn’t. A confused mind is always going to say no. Unless people easily understand what you’re trying to say, you’re going to lose them.
2) Know your audience
It’s not just about what you say—it’s about how you say it. Different audiences will respond to different tones and language. For example, if your audience is middle-aged professionals, you’re going to use a very different tone and very different language compared with what you might use if you’re talking to teenage students.
3) Keep it concise
You don’t want to use any more words than you have to. Most people reading content on the internet are skimming—they get overwhelmed by big words and long paragraphs. If you can keep it short, sweet, and to the point, you’re going to have a much easier time engaging them.
With these three points in mind, ask yourself the following three questions to help yourself develop the crux of your website’s message.
1) What does your business do?
Develop a one-sentence summary of your business goals and mission.
2) What makes you different?
Other businesses out there might have a similar goal or mission. Succinctly state what it is that sets your business apart and makes you stand out among the competition.
3) Why should people give you money?
At this point, it’s a matter of explaining how you’re going to have a positive effect on your audience’s day-to-day life. If they become a customer, how will they become a happier person?
Determine Your Target Audience
To craft the right message, take some time to think about your target audience. Figure out exactly what problem you’re solving for them. When you think about your ideal customer, what is it that they are dissatisfied with or struggling with—in marketing, we often refer to these as “pain points.” On the flip side, what is it that your target audience really wants? Now think about how your product or service will solve those pain points or fulfill their wants.
If it helps, you can think about the features vs. benefits of your business. Features are the aspects of your business that are objective—things like low prices and high-quality materials. Benefits are what your customer will gain from patronizing you—they’ll feel more confident, they’ll be less stressed, or they have more energy.
Earn Their Trust
A big part of conveying the right message is asserting trustworthiness. After all, anyone can say just about anything on the internet. So why should your audience believe what they’re reading? Make sure you back up your business message with the right qualifications for you as a business leader or for your team. Include training, certifications, degrees, and other relevant criteria. Another way of earning your audience’s trust is through testimonials. If you can get loyal customers to provide a review detailing how your business helped them and was worth their investment, it will give potential customers a better understanding of why they should pay attention to you.
Make It Easy to Understand
This goes back to the initial message that you need to be obvious—people don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you’re trying to say. In fact, the more they have to think, the less of a chance you have to win them over.
To ensure your message is simplified as much as it possibly can be, make sure you do the following:
Get rid of any jargon (even the jargon that’s relevant to your industry)
Always focus on the client. Use second-person tense (that is, “you” sentences) as often as possible.
Use clarifying questions that get people on board with what you do. (“Do you want to save money?” or “Do you want to make the best use of your time?”)
Break up the paragraphs so they’re three sentences or less. If you can’t express your idea in three sentences, you need to simplify.