When you go around the Internet, what mistake do you see most often?
That’s her question. Think about it for a second. Do you see what I mean? I could answer this from so many different levels and perspectives that I’ve actually been stuck on how I wanted to answer it.
Since Liz is asking me for one mistake, I’m going to need your help. So let’s have a discussion in the comment box. I’ll start it off…
Having been a web designer for so many years, you’d think the mistake I’d see most often would have something to with visual design, site architecture, or layout. Sure, there’s plenty of poorly designed sites out there. And we all know plenty of blogs that are poorly organized and cluttered.
But the mistake I see most often isn’t in the way a site looks. The mistake I see most often is how a site owner uses their site to communicate with their audience.
I’m bias, that’s certain. And my bias leans heavily in the direction of conversation and relationship. Yet, I know from experience, that it’s conversations that lead to relationships that lead to business. People want to do business with people – not with businesses. In other words, they want conversation and relationships.
Most website owners, most business owners and a lot of marketing coaches simply don’t get this. They focus on slick or carefully crafted marketing copy that’s meant to evoke an emotional response to create action. I’m not saying that’s bad – not at all. I just think that there’s more.
So what I often see are business owners trying to fit themselves into a method of copy writing that’s not so much about building relationship and which I feel is unnatural. Pick a handful of business websites and read the copy. Tell me if you feel like the business owners want a relationship with you or do they just want your business?
I advise all my clients – even those working with copy writing and marketing gurus – to consider their websites as the beginning of a dialogue with a person in their target audience. Don’t just meet them where they are, engage them in conversation. Write as though you’re sitting with them over coffee, listening closely to the problems they face. And respond with an open, conversational tone.
This is easier to do on a blog because of the chance for conversation in the comment box. The blog has the advantage as well in that you continue to engage in that conversation with your audience each time your write a post. But you can do this on a static website as well. As you write, just picture yourself having a conversation about where they are.
Remember, people want to do business with people. So don’t be afraid to show who you are as a person. You can be a marketing professional and still be person. Anyway, you know from your own business interactions that connection, personality and temperament play an enormous role in successful business relationships. So why not build your personality into your marketing materials. Let people know who you are right out front. Let them see you as a person. Then invite them to sit at your table with their cup of coffee. Who knows what can happen next.
So I think not actively engaging people in a conversation that can build a relationship is the most common mistake I see in websites.
There are many others – certainly – even around content. So I turn my site over to you to share what mistakes you often see was you’re perusing the web.
And I have to be sure to continue our one2one conversation by asking Liz…
What’s helped you go from just being a writer on a blog to becoming a conversational dynamo?
I can’t wait to see Liz’s answers. She is truly a master at writing conversational copy, if you ask me. But until she answers, let’s talk…