Traditionally, marketing sells by sending information to people. Marketers produce brochures, send direct mail or email, or place advertising. This is known as “push.” The marketer starts the conversation.
On the web, most contacts are “pull.” People come to your site to find information; the visitor starts the conversation. And you must converse—you must satisfy their information need before you can market to them.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you craft your marketing content.
- Marketers often think in terms of how to draw people in. On the web, the primary concern is not to drive people away.
- You have 10 seconds to convince visitors that your site deserves a closer look. A recent study from Microsoft Research found that first 10 seconds of a webpage visit are crucial to the user’s decision to stay.
- Reading is the primary action people perform on websites, but many people strive to read as little as possible on most websites they hit.
- Visitors come to a website to satisfy goals, to perform tasks, to get answers to questions. Think about your own online reading habits. Most often you are looking for something specific.
- Take the lead from content marketing and give users factual information as quickly and easily as possible. Because web visitors are so goal oriented, they do not want to be distracted by irrelevant information.
- Good web writing is like a conversation. Think of the questions your readers will ask, and answer those in your copy. Use short sentences, and keep it conversational. Show that you are a person and your organization includes people.
- On the web, you can be informal and professional at the same time. Writing informally is not dumbing down; it is writing so busy people can understand your content.
- When writing web content, use simple words, active verbs, and meaningful modifiers.
- When you write using simple terms, your site accommodates busy people, impatient people, the aging population, people who read English as a second language, and people who have poor literacy skills. (Have you ever heard anyone complain that a website’s writing style is too simplistic?)
- If users cannot find what they are looking for on your website, they will go elsewhere.