Is your website content playing buzzword bingo?
After starting a new sales job years ago, I’ll never forget one cold call I made to a CIO. The CIO picked up the phone and I gave him my pitch, his response was, “Sorry, I don’t have time to play Buzzword Bingo”. I think I was so caught off guard, I just said, “Thanks” and hung up. Lesson learned. I realized that day that I was saying a lot without actually saying anything valuable.
I’m reminded of this great example of “how not to make a cold call” every time I see website content that uses big fancy words like “leverage, strategic, innovative, best in class solutions, etc.” Now obviously, there are times when these words are relavant to use, but in general, you want to stay away, far-far away from corporate jargon and buzzword-juiced sentences. Take this actual line of copy from a website I came across yesterday for example:
“Our solutions, partnered with our expert team, will take your business to the next level of success and deliver value to your bottom line.”
Immediate confusion sets in. What solutions? Do I value an expert team? Are they experts? What exactly is the next level of success? What kind of value is being delivered? The only thing clear is that they do “something” with “experts” that will “deliver value” and make me more money.
This company is not the only one guilty of writing vague statements for a website. In fact, we see tons of them everyday. There’s even a website dedicated to “un-sucking” corporate jargon, called http://unsuck-it.com. This site is mostly fun and games, but at the end of the day it’s in your company’s best interest to be direct with your website audience so that the message resonates with them. Many times it’s the first and only chance you have to engage a visitor and convert them to a lead or potential customer. Confusing website content will only lose the mind share and attention of that website visitor.
Writing web copy is not an easy task, especially in B2B environments where the services are intangible – consulting, IT services, etc. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of the company itself knowing what they do best. We’ve written about what is a positioning statement and what is not a positioning statement. If you don’t have a crisp statement about how you want your customers to perceive you, it’s probably going to be difficult to communicate clearly your solutions and value in your website copy. If you are still having difficulty in writing copy that has meaning and resonates with your target audiences, follow these 3 simple guidelines:
- Quality over quantity: This is one of the biggest challenges we see from companies. For some reason, people think the more they write, the better it will be. This is one of the biggest contributors to jargon overload. Write more copy, write more jargon. Additionally, in today’s super speed world, people don’t have 30 minutes to read through your website. You have 10 seconds or less to capture the attention of the reader. Messages can resonate with people whether they 140 characters or 3 pages. The only difference is that the internet has trained people to get information and get it quickly. People would much rather read two quality paragraphs over 5 jargon-laced paragraphs. Always choose quality over quantity.
- Be direct: Cut to the chase. Stop beating around the bush. You get the point. Be direct in your copy. For example. the line I reference above ““Our solutions, partnered with our expert team, will take your business to the next level of success and deliver value to your bottom line” could be changed to “Our call recording software includes two assigned business analysts to configure our software around your agent-to-customer processes. It’s common for cost-per-interaction to decrease by 20% after implementing our software.”
- The “Outside of the Company” Test: My personal favorite. Ask your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, or your wife to read your website copy and ask them to interpret it. Don’t give them any hints, this should be someone that is outside your business. If they don’t get it, then ask them what was confusing or why they interpreted the way that they did. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is in making your copy resonate with your audiences.
If you still need help de-buzzwording your website copy, we can help. Let’s talk!
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