Across the expanse of the internet, you’ll find a limitless number of websites that read like a laundry list of product or service features. Likewise, many use way too much verbiage in their top-level messaging to communicate the big-picture points that are most relevant to their overarching brand/product story.
Here are some ideas that can help you communicate more quickly, effectively and memorably in order to rise above the herd. These best practices can help you better connect with today’s visitors/prospects: people who are typically short on both time and patience — and inundated by a sea of competing options.
Telegraph your unique selling proposition right off the bat.
Every company has a founding date and a history. But that’s not what a prospect is looking to know upfront. Your messaging should begin with your unique selling proposition (USP). The thing that makes your company truly different from the rest. Once you’ve established this, the rest of your messaging should support, illustrate and heighten your USP — to build a multifaceted brand story with immediate relevance to the visitor/prospect.
Find the line between personable and dismissible.
While content written in a long and winding ultra-technical tone is fine for a research study, it can be deadly for a marketing piece. The idea is to make your messaging as conversational and accessible as possible, as is appropriate for your subject matter. But don’t overdo it. Light, airy language is good for fashion items, cosmetics and soft drinks, etc. Industrial/technical products need an amount of gravitas, and especially substance, to connect with the needs of their audiences.
Make the feature/benefit connections for the reader.
Bullet points are an invaluable device for presenting product/service features. But they don’t take the place of a logical and well-thought-out selling proposition. You can’t count on the reader/prospect to stop and figure out the big-picture benefits of your messaging based on a litany of disconnected features. So use bullets sparingly. It’s the marketer’s mission to convert features into benefits, while tying everything together.
Leverage people for impact and credibility.
The use of personal interviews with your key people, and demonstrations by them, can help to humanize your overall messaging. Extend the people you’re featuring beyond your sales staff. For instance, a well-spoken product manager can provide an expert view of a product or process in a uniquely authoritative manner. A C-level executive can deliver big-picture and future-minded perspectives with an added degree of impact. And of course, the use of third-party customer/user testimonials is still one of the most valuable ways to add real-world credibility to your marketing messages.
Provide avenues for two-way engagement.
Prospects and customers who are truly interested in your company and its offerings often welcome the chance to provide feedback and ideas to help you to serve them better. Intersperse calls-to-action throughout your messaging that encourage them to offer opinions and ask questions. Use brief, pointed surveys to elicit information that can help refine and improve your products and services. These include followup satisfaction surveys in your messaging outreach vehicles, which enable customers to weigh in on how well you’re addressing their needs and opportunities.