I spend a lot of time thinking about how to tell people things. A website, that’s all it is: a creative way to communicate something; anything. Whether it’s an ad for a new product you’re trying to sell, an informative resource you hope is shared a million times, or a personal blog post on a portfolio website, any website should be communicating to its audience. Otherwise, it’s a failure. Effective messaging only comes when you care about your audience. Here are a few ways to improve your website’s content and focus on your audiences.
Position Yourself as a Guide
Plenty of my clients want to put the focus on themselves. This isn’t always as stupid as it sounds when I say it that way: most of the people I work for do legitimately good work and want to tell people about it! But the problem is, bragging on yourself (or your product’s features, or your company’s history) is not going to sell anything to your customers.
What does this look like on an actual website? Less talk about your company’s history, or useless blog posts that no one will read. Focus on providing real value, and pointing to your real products which will help solve real problems. Be honest and intentional. Treat people like people.
Pitch the Customer’s Problem
Someone’s on your website. The first thing you should do is remind them why they’re there, often in the first sentence. “You need your house painted and we sell great paint.” “You want a relaxed atmosphere to work in, and we sell coffee and a cool vibe.” “You need a website and I make great websites that tell stories.” You get the point.
It’s not usually that obvious, but your website should always be focused on solving the customer’s problem. And that starts with reminding them what their problem is. As a web designer, I put a lot of focus on how someone’s marketing might not be working for them. Is their website ineffective? Are they seeing any new business or sales because of their website? These are problems that any client of mine will be turning over in their head already.
Solve the Customer’s Problem
What do customers want when they come to your website? They want their problem solved. Every business solves a problem, and customers want a solution to their problem. They don’t want to hear about how great you are.
A big part of any marketing project (websites or otherwise) is studying your target audience, figuring out who they are, and what problems they need solved. You may have different answers for different parts of your audience, but you must have answers: and every piece of content on your website should solve a problem for some part of your audience.
Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to be pushy or sleazy. I’m a firm believer in the idea that good marketing can only come from a good product. There’s no way I can make your business look amazing when it’s not – but when your business is amazing, a content strategy and a carefully crafted website take you to the next level.