Has this ever happened to you?
You're talking to a friend and they suddenly name another person. But it's a name you've never heard of before. And suddenly you're wondering how you got so lost. Now the story doesn't make any sense.
And you're still trying to work out who that other person is. Spouse? Boss? Child? You're listening for context clues, but you can't figure it out. At all.
At some point, you have to interrupt and say, “I'm sorry. Who is Susie?”
“Oh, she sits next to me at work.”
And again, you're left wondering how she fits into the story that you thought you understood.
Has this ever happened to you?
It's happened to me more than once. I feel lost. But more importantly, I feel frustrated. Because I was actively listening and there was no on-ramps for me. Nothing to help me understand that a new character was being brought into the story.
That feeling that leaves me either wanting to walk away, or to tell my own random story with people no one knows.
What about this? Does this frustrate you?
Ever hang with a group of friends when one tells a “kind of” joke? I say “kind of” because it's not clear that it's a joke for everyone.
It's an inside joke – a reference that you don't or can't connect to, and clearly they didn't care.
How frustrating does that make you?
I try to stay calm around all of this, but these two situations poke at me more than they should.
What does this have to do with making your website a better salesperson?
I'm pretty sure we can all agree that there's no reason for a prospect to feel like your website is treating them like one of these “friends” I referenced above. Right?
But what happens when they land on your site and the language on your homepage is all inside baseball? What happens when the words have special meaning to you, but it all feels like an inside joke they're not part of? Or a reference to someone (or something) they don't know?
It's a horrible thought that they might experience the same frustration and exclusion that those situations remind of us. But it happens. A lot.
Because you forgot that the job you had, when you wrote that copy, was to make your website the best salesperson your business has ever had.
Five ways our website works against our intentions
- You are using technical terms when the audience of your website isn't technical
Let's say you run an agency that builds plugins for your customers. Your team does technical work. But the buyers of your services – are they technical? Likely not. So don't put jargon all over that homepage. They don't know what Vue, CI/CD, or React is. Write for the buyer, not for yourself.
- Are you selling to an 18 year old? If not, make sure us old folks can read your copy
If your buyer needs a magnifying glass to read your content, they're not going to sign up for your services. There's nothing stopping you from making that text and those titles a bit bigger.
- Your salesperson would ask me a question to find out my pain, right?
I can't tell you how quickly many sites jump directly into chest-pounding declarations of being the best without qualifying their visitors to make sure the pain the visitor is dealing with is something the business can help with.
- Your best salesperson would know how to position against the competition
Let's assume you're not the market leader (or maybe you're tied for first). Your salesperson would know how to talk about and make comparisons that highlight where you're better than your competition. If you want to make your website a better salesperson, shouldn't you do the same?
- Your best salesperson would know your best stories, right?
If your site doesn't have case studies, it should. If it has case studies but they're not on the home page, they should be. If they're already on the front cover, but they don't quickly showcase results (growth YoY, % revenue increased, etc.), they need to.
If you want to make your website a better salesperson, the trick is to make sure your site isn't making any of these five mistakes.
Shift from Inside Out to Outside In Messaging
I had a conversation today where I said, “the space you're in, and the problems you solve, are not just a list of your services.” My point was that we all fall into the trap of thinking so much about ourselves that we just push our inside world out to everyone else. This is Inside Out marketing. And we know it's not what our best salesperson would do.
Outside In marketing is about starting with the customer – their perspective, their world, their words – and shaping our message from there.
I talked to another person today about their testimonials plugin. I asked, “What business are you in?” They already knew the answer wasn't – “I'm in the testimonial plugins for WordPress business.”
But that's how we write our copy. It's how we talk to people. And if we want to make our website a better salesperson, we first need to become a better salesperson.
We're not in the testimonials plugin business. We're in the confidence and conversion business. Because that's the world our customers live in. It's the pain they're trying to solve.
Start with them. Out there. And with their pain. You know, like I talk about using my Bridge Framework.