Before we go any further, it’s a good idea to start to think about who it is that will be reading your website. Or more to the point, who you want to be reading your website.
If you’ve read anything about business you may become very bored by what I am about to write, but you may not have ever applied the theory of the ideal client directly to your copy writing. It pays to learn and understand everything about an ideal client or customer – not just for general business things like product development – but also for aallll your website’s wording.
It’s not rocket surgery, really. The idea is to know your ideal client/customer like you know a friend so your conversation can flow more easily.
You may notice that for everyone you speak with, you have a different way of speaking to him or her. A very basic example, I’m imagining somewhat true to your life, is that you might be much more proper and polite in communicating with your partner’s mother, and you might be much more broad with your pal at a café. Am I right? The words you use, the way you phrase a sentence, the tone and sentiment, is probably completely different.
We are very clever creatures us humans (mostly), and we are malleable enough with our communication to morph our words and sentences to the audience and situation we’re with. The best rhetorical communicators – ones that deliver a message that is then heard and acted upon – are ones that know the ins and outs of how a particular person works, thinks and behaves.
You see politicians doing this, and mostly badly. I think we can all recall moments when a Prime Minister has gone to a school and tried to talk “like the young folk” in order to connect with them and it dismally failing. “Yo, what’s up… peeps…” A little awkward.
This kind of politician has the right idea, use the language of the person you’re trying to connect with in order to promote himself (ahem – sorry – promote his party, ahem, I mean his, oh that’s right, promote his policy to improve the nation.)
What he’s failed to do here is really understand the school kid audience. He hasn’t tried to understand a modern day school student. I mean really understand them. Their likes, dislikes, passions, concerns and favourite flavoured ice-cream. He’s just made assumptions and copied a stereotyped language approach and delivery. Not researched well enough!
You can’t fake your own language style based on poor exposure to the market you’re trying to relate to. You must respect your ideal client or customer by really spending some time with them. More to the point, it’s one of my biggest soapbox messages, you must be authentic in understanding your ideal client and speak specifically to them or people will smell your faux regard like there’s a smarmy-faced dead fish stuck in your pocket. Not good for politicians – not good for business.
The message here is, to write good website copy, you need to truly, madly, deeply understand your ideal client.
And yes, it’s one thing to get to know the kind of person you’d like to sell to and work with, and ultimately write for. It’s another thing to pick that person….
There are many ideal client activities that you can do online. Here’s just a few:
- Sarah von Bargen says, start your ideal client’s persona on you and grow from there.
- Get Specific!
- Who do we deserve to work with? – I love that way of putting it.
- A more systematic approach
I have my own that approach that is built into the Website Shake Up service, which you can sign up for at any time.
It’s best again to keep things simple. When writing for your website, write for one person in mind, not a thousand people in a general audience. Know as much as you can about one person. And then every thing you write for your website will stand a better chance at ACTUALLY COMMUNICATING. It will more likely impart something. It will tickle somewhere. It will hit the spot. It’s a bit of reverse engineering, but seems to be true, that if you write for one person, your message will reach many. Test it and prove me wrong if you like.
Website copy written with one person in mind will also be easier to write. Your website’s words will flow more like having a cuppa with a friend you’ve known for ages at the café rather than the stilted conversations with the in-laws**
Now, all of this so far this post has sounded very much like you’re doing a psychological profile on someone who you want to manipulate into handing over their money. This is why I hate marketing and advertising.
But we have neglected to talk about the YOU in the business and the YOU in the website’s words.
That will come in the next post…and then we will focus on how to marry your ideal client’s needs and wants, with your unique needs and wants for your website and business too. That’ll be the sweet spot for your website copy.
So, take some time in the next few weeks, now that you’ve got your on-point business name, and your site-map and menu words drafted, to think about who is it you’re going to authentically speak to, when filling up those website pages.
If you’re one of my readers who already has a website, why not use this opportunity to reflect as to whether your ideal customer base has changed since you set it up? Did you write with one person in mind when you did write your copy? Can you analyse your website’s copy now to see if it’s reading as your current ideal client would like?
Until then, happy business times…
Ms Monk xx
**Side note, if you want to speak more easily to your in-laws, why not try to learn as much about them and prompt conversation based on their likes and passions. This is another great way to communicate more clearly with someone. Connect or understand them and things will be much easier for you. They’ll feel more comfortable and might open up to getting to know you too. It’s win win and you play the leader. Plus you might end up getting better Christmas presents 😉