Great copy is, first and foremost, customer focused. But too many businesses seem to forget this.
Are you we-ing at your clients?
“We’ve been in business since…” “We won XYZ awards…” “We believe…” “We know…” “We want…”
We’ve all seen it, haven’t we – a homepage with “we” as far as the eye can see… (You can absolutely substitute “we” with “I”, it’s just not as easy to pun with)
(Another personal bugbear is the use of “we” when the business is a one person band. Who is “we”?! Anyway…)
When someone arrives to your website, it’s because they have a problem they want you to solve.
Maybe they have back pain, or a dog who won’t stop counter surfing (I’m speaking from experience). Maybe they’re all out of healthy recipe ideas, or they’re running low on garden gnomes.
Whatever their problem is, you can bet their main focus is on that.
So when they reach your homepage and all they see is “We”?
It gives them no reassurance that you’re the one who can solve their problem.
Maybe you’re an award winning dog trainer – so what? Can you help me with my specific problem, or not?
Think about your own website.
Are you so focused on telling everyone about you, your company, your achievements and what you had for breakfast that you’ve forgotten to mention the reader – and their wants and needs – at all?Tweet
Potential clients need to be nurtured, otherwise they’ll never become actual clients.
Why is customer focused copy so important?
Imagine you’re seated next to a stranger at a dinner party. They introduce themselves and immediately begin waxing lyrical about themselves, their hobbies and their SAT results from 1993.
Even if they’ve led an incredibly interesting life, if they don’t ask a single question about you? You’ll be left cold.
Imagine how that feels.
Do you feel seen and heard?
Do you want to spend more time with this person?
Or are you looking desperately across the table hoping someone – anyone – will rescue you?
Now imagine you’re beside someone else.
When you introduce yourself to this person, they put their drink down and turn their full attention to you. You can tell they’ll remember your name later.
They ask thoughtful questions and want to know more about you. They seem to find what you do interesting, and to genuinely enjoy your conversation.
They talk about themselves as well, the conversation isn’t one sided, but it’s relevant to your chat, they’re not just suddenly throwing a series of achievements at you.
Imagine you’re deciding whether to hand money over to one of these people…
Take the focus off “WE” and put it where it belongs – on your customer
The very best copy you can write about your business – doesn’t really talk about your business that much. At least, it doesn’t talk about your business first.
Of course you need to talk about who you are at some point – people won’t buy your product or service unless they feel they know and trust you.
But don’t be so preoccupied with trying to impress them that you forget that they’re a person too.
If you’re going to keep them on the page long enough to buy from you, you need to let them know that you understand them, first.
That means talking about their problem.
Their pain point.
The thing that keeps them awake at night, and the effect that has on their life.
Only once you’ve reassured your reader that you get that, can you introduce yourself as the one who can solve that problem.
Focus on the customer problems you solve
This might take a bit of creative thinking, but start with why you do what you do.
What are the problems you want to solve? You do know this stuff, it’s just about pinpointing it so you can make that the focal point of your copy.
I choose to work mainly with small businesses because I am one. I know how tough it can be to feel pulled in a thousand directions, having to be chief cook and bottle washer when all I really want to do is write.
Every second I’m doing something that could be outsourced is time I’m not spending on writing. Not to mention with my family!
And while I love writing, I know for others it’s a chore, something they don’t find enjoyable or just another task on the endless To Do list.
So I offer my services doing something I love that comes naturally – being a word nerd – so that other small business owners have the time to do the thing they love.
Maybe you’re a French tutor – what problems do you solve?
Ok, you teach people to speak French but why might someone want that? Do they want to travel, move abroad, make themselves a sure thing for their dream job? Maybe they’re retired and they want a new challenge to keep their brain active.
Focus on the problem before you introduce the solution.
Keep the “We” where it belongs
Once you’ve thought creatively about the problems you solve, and let your reader know you really understand them, you can introduce yourself as the problem solver.
But keep it focused on them.
They don’t care, at this point, that your passion is on handcrafting garden gnomes – they just want to know that they don’t have to look any further for the garden gnomes they so desperately need.
And they definitely don’t care where you went to school or what your favourite colour is.
That’s what your About page is for (and if you don’t have one, create one. Right now!)
You can be you on your About page, share some personal information (without oversharing), talk about your experience and achievements, and let your client get a sense of who you are.
The copy still needs to be relevant to your reader and their problems, but this is the one page where you’re front and centre.
How customer focused is your copy?
Here’s a challenge for you.
Go to your homepage and count how many times you read we/I.
Count how many lines (or worse – paragraphs!) before you mention your customer and the problems they face.
If it’s longer than a couple of lines (and that’s worst case scenario, ideally your customer is Numero Uno)?
You need to shift your focus onto your customer.
And stop we-ing at them.