You’ve likely heard of the importance of making the focus of your content your customer, but what does it really mean to write customer-centric website copy? Are you writing about your customer, are you relating to your customer, are you showing how you help your customer, are you explaining why you’re important to your customer? Let’s demystify the concept today with three tips for writing customer-centric website copy.
Your organization exists because of an audience, so address it
The biggest mistake I see people making with their website copy—and I know I sound like a broken record about this now, but it’s my mission to rid the web of egocentric copy—is making everything all about them. Right now, you’re probably saying something like,”Well, it is about my organization…that’s why this website exists.”
Wrong. Your website exists because it serves a purpose and solves a problem…for someone else. Whether you offer daily inspirational quotes for people to share on social media or vegan shoes, those things exist for other people. Without those people, your audience and customers, you’re publishing content for yourself. And honestly, what’s the point? A journal would suffice.
If your website is all about you, then why would I, or anyone else, care?
It’s time to shift your focus from you to your customer. You probably did this when you were developing products and you’ll find that when you make this shift you’ll learn a lot about your customers that will help you develop even better products in the future.
Exchange “I”, “we”, “our” for “you” and “your”
Open a page on your website and do a word find for “we” and “I” (command+F on a Mac, control+F on a PC). You should be able to see the searched word highlighted through your webpage. Surprising?
Many people write self-centred copy without even realizing it. I know that I did when I started out. Writing copy that focuses on your audience requires awareness and thoughtful editing.
Now, before you go replacing all the “I”, “we”, and “our” with “you” and “your” in your website copy, consider the context it’s written in. You may find you need to rewrite whole paragraphs because they’re all about you and not really about the benefits and solutions your audience will experience by working with you.
Here’s a simple example:
We believe it’s important to provide only the best customer service, and that’s why we guarantee a full refund when our customers aren’t 100% satisfied with the outcome.
If you’re not 100% satisfied with the product or service you receive, you’ll receive a full refund.
It’s sneaky right? At first read, you probably thought that the before statement was satisfactory. It outlines the basis of any good customer service program. I bet you felt more engaged in the after statement though. Plus, the sentence is shorter and much more direct.
In the first sentence we’re reading about someone, but we don’t really know who that someone is. A customer who maybe isn’t us. In the second sentence, it’s clear that it’s speaking directly to someone—you. And that you is your bread and butter.
Consider how you can make your website copy customer-centric in a way that sounds natural while being direct.
Write for specific customers or audiences
Another reason you could be finding it hard to write customer-centric copy is that you don’t really know who your customers are. If you put your team in a room and asked them to describe your audience, would everyone have the same answer?
You likely have a good idea of who your customers are, or at least an abstract idea of who you’d like them to be, but until you create clear customer personas, your audience could have all kinds of unrealistic attributes.
I remember when I started Be Rad Media, I really wanted to work with individual, local health and wellness professionals, but I hadn’t done a lot of homework at that point. I didn’t understand their interest (or lack of) in technology, their marketing budgets, how they earned clients, etc. This error made it hard for me to write website and marketing copy that spoke to my desired audience.
If you haven’t already, download the DIY Communications Styleguide, which has an area for customer personas. Essentially, you need to know the following:
- Demographics (male/female, age, location, etc.)
- Home life (for example, are they young parents or tiny home dwellers?)
- Struggles; what would they like more of (time, money, skills?)
Once you know this, figure out how you relate to, and solve problems for, your audience. For example, if your audience is young, hip parents is your restaurant kid-friendly? If so, do you offer special activities or menus for kids? You can relate in your copy by saying something like, “Your little ones are welcome here—we even have special colouring sheets to keep them busy so you can have a full conversation.”
If I was doing a Google search for a restaurant to take my family to and I came across that one versus one that had no mention or photos of family dining, I would choose the former because it offers me peace of mind that I’ll be welcomed there instead of feeling like I need to apologize for bringing noisy kids.
Do not be afraid to be honest with people. People have so many choices now that finding an organization that clearly speaks to a specific audience is refreshing and helps us make quick choices. Have you ever tried searching for a product on Amazon only to get pages and pages of the same product for roughly the same price and shipping time? How do you choose? You’ll probably pick the first one on the list.
The problem with that is that if your organization isn’t first on the search list you need to stand out in other ways. One of the best ways you can stand out is by showing you know your audience and speaking clearly to them. It doesn’t require weeks and weeks of strategic planning or lengthy brainstorming meetings. Sort out who your audience is, what they need, and then edit your website copy to show you understand them.