There is a lot of talk, strategies, and systems surrounding search engine optimization or SEO. It seems like every few weeks a new formula appears that will send your site to the top of the Google rankings. However, it’s important to remember that SEO is only half the battle.
Once you’ve done the hard work to get customers to your site, you have worked just as hard, if not harder, to keep them there. You need to interest them and engage them. You need to make them want what you have to offer. And most importantly, you have to stimulate them to take the action you need them to take, whether that’s buying your product, engaging your services, or simply subscribing to your blog.
It’s not about you
The key thing to remember about any home or landing page is that it is not about you. That may seem strange at first; after all, it’s your page on your website. But the harsh truth is that people simply don’t care. They don’t care how hard you have worked to get to this point or what you’ve sacrificed along the way. They don’t care how original you think your idea is or how great you think your products are. All they care about is what you can do for them.
Take a look at your page and see how many sentences start with ‘we’ or the name of your company or brand. Then see how many times you use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ in the same context. If it’s heavily weighted towards the first one, then you are only talking about yourself, when what people really care about is themselves.
Benefits not features
The simplest way to look at this is to change features into benefits. A feature is something about your product or service; a benefit is what this feature means to your customers or clients. Having a huge selection is a feature, being able to find exactly what you want is a benefit. Impressive fuel economy in a car is a feature, being able to go further without filling up, and saving money on fuel every week are the benefits. Always read back your web copy and see if it is talking about you or talking about your customers.
Who, what, why?
To keep your web page messages as clear as possible, always start with the three basic questions:
Who are you talking to?
Think about exactly who your target audience is and make sure you speak their language and talk about elements of your product that are relevant to them. Very few products and services are truly for everybody, so dig a little deeper and find out who you are really talking to.
What do you want them to do?
Be as specific as possible about what response you want from your web page. The clearer you can be, the more likely it is that you will get the response you want. If you are vague about the desired action or don’t include a call to action at all, then you can’t expect people to act.
Why should they do it?
As discussed above, people need a good reason to take action, and the more personal that reason is to them, the more likely that action is. If possible, you should add an incentive for the reader to use your site and its services, such as free delivery on an online shopping site or free chips to play online poker. This will prompt them to respond to your call to action.
Use the WHAM filter
A useful way to check the effectiveness of your home page or other marketing copy is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and use the WHAM filter. For each point or detail, ask yourself Why and How does this Affect Me? If it doesn’t affect you, or you don’t care, then you need to change the way you make that point or lose it from the copy altogether.
At the end of the day, your business is all about your customers, because without customers, you don’t have a business. So make sure your web copy, blogs, and other marketing are all about them and not all about you. They will thank you by staying on your site, using your services, and buying your product, making your business even better for both of you.