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Writing About Your Products or Services on Your Web Site

August 8th, 2012

One of the most typical mistakes people make when writing about what it is that they are selling is to simply provide a list of features and a price, thinking that is all it takes for a consumer to make their decision.

Unfortunately for those website owners, that is not how most consumers make their buying decisions;

In a nutshell, they need to be convinced WHY they should buy from you, rather than from your competitors.

COMMON MISTAKES

"Because we are less expensive" is NOT always the best answer; Remember the old adage: "You get what you pay for" - This can actually work against you, depending on the market segment you are targeting. (Keeping in mind that you can target multiple segments, but should have a specific message for each)

"Because we're better than the other guys" - Negative advertisers, or putting down your competitors is a really bad idea; Not only does it expose you to the possibility of litigation, but consumers are generally turned off by negative advertisers; There is also the thought that "Who are you to say you're better ? You're biased!" - Don't tell them you're better - SHOW THEM YOU'RE BETTER.

"Because we've got more features!" - Sometimes, an over-abundance of features can actually work against you: Firstly, it can be confusing to the general consumer. Secondly, the chances are good that most of those features are not the ones being used (Again, we are talking about marketing to the general populace); Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the thought often comes up in the potential customer "I don't want to be paying extra for all those things I do not need!". Focus your marketing message to those you are trying to sell to. Listing a hundred features to a thermodynamics engineer working on the space shuttle is probably a good idea. Doing the same for a home-spouse who is simply looking for a way to clean their toilets: Not such a good idea.

READ AS YOUR CUSTOMER WOULD

This can be quite difficult, as you know your product or service inside and out. Sometimes, reading your material as an uninvolved third party would (i.e. your customers) - simply is not possible: When that is the case, get someone outside of your company to read it for you: Preferably, someone outside of your industry, as well (Unless, of course, your product is so highly specialized that only someone in your industry would be a customer):

In reading over your materials on your wares, you probably do see the features and benefits of what you are selling; The REAL question is: Is there a REASON for them to buy from YOU instead of from your competitor ? The simplest way to do this is to literally compare your product page with that of your competitors' side to side: Read them both: Which one gives you the gut feel that it is the right one to purchase ?

Of course, life isn't always that simple: Most consumers, when they identify a need or desire for a product or service, will not be buying on impulse: This is even MORE true on the Internet, given the immediacy of touch, feel and possession is not an option. This re-visit trend is even higher amongst smaller brands and companies, as many smaller companies will not have the same brand trust as some of the large multi-nationals will. What can you do about this ? Give them a reason to come back again! That means content not just listing the prices and features of your products, but articles ABOUT your products: Uses, benefits, examples, suggestions and so on. The more often they come come back, the more likely they are to buy. Even better is that that same content that convinces people that you are the right company to buy from once also works to convince them to keep buying from you over and over. Remember: Once a customer buys from you, you do NOT want to ignore them: A customer buying from you once is good. A customer buying from you many times is far, far better.

YOUR CUSTOMERS AS A RESOURCE

Many companies seem to have a real taboo about actually talking to their customers; If done respectfully and unobtrusively, your customers can be one of your best marketing resources; Give them a chance to give you some feedback; Either during their purchase or during a follow-up contact; Asking things like "Thank you for purchasing from us - But how could we have done even better ? Where do you think we could improve ? What do you feel is missing from our website that would have made your decision more quickly or confidently ?"

Here is one hint that I cannot emphasize enough: Negative feedback or complaints should not be shied away from or hidden! Everyone knows that no company is perfect: We all make mistakes or have a string of bad luck; How a company deals with negative feedback can seriously affect a customers' buying decision; This is even more true of complex products or services: One of consumers' biggest concerns is "How will this company deal with me if I have problems or need help ?" Seeing how you deal with frustrated or angry customers, believe it or not, can engender a true sense of confidence amongst your potential customers.

If you are still feeling like you are up against a wall in getting the "right" content for your site, feel free to use the Contact link on the site and I would be happy to take a look at your site to give a few overall suggestions.

Marc Bissonnette, Beachburg, Ontario, Canada

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