It might seem like a blatantly obvious question, but it’s a question that lots of website owners actually get wrong! In fact, connecting with readers is such a basic part of marketing on the web that most business owners just assume they’re doing it. After all, they’re making sales, so their content must be fine — right?
Connecting with your readers means doing more than just coming up with interesting blog topics, researching the heck out of your next article, or publishing sales copy that seems to answer all of the important questions. You can actually have content that looks good on the surface — but doesn’t take care of the “little things” that you need to really build a relationship. It’s those relationships that are going to lead to the most sales, so if you’re missing out on them, you’re missing out on profits.
The only way to tell if you’re really connecting with your readers is to answer these 4 questions:
1. Do you know what makes them tick?
Let’s say you’re selling wrinkle cream. So, your target audience is likely made up of middle-aged women who aren’t ready to be an “old person” yet. They’re looking for a way to delay Father Time and look younger. Deep down, all they really want is to look and feel their best — like they did 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.
But if your sales copy focuses on the chemical properties of the cream’s main ingredient, why people get wrinkles in the first place, or how cheap the cream is — instead of focusing on how women will feel after they use it — you’re totally missing the mark. What you’re content is really saying is that you don’t understand what these women are struggling with. They don’t want to understand the science behind their problem. They don’t necessarily want a cheap fix. All they want is to look better.
So, when these women read your competitor’s sales copy — that tells them how young, vibrant, and radiant they’ll look after using the cream — they’ll be more likely to buy that product, simply because it offers the result they’re looking for. Your wrinkle cream might be good enough to make them feel that way, too, but your content hasn’t told them that! Your content circled the airport, but it never came in for a landing.
2. Are you talking to one person or a whole group?
No matter what niche you’re in, readers don’t want to feel like they’re part of some herd. Instead, the best way to connect with your readers is to make them feel like you’re speaking directly to them, one-on-one. That’s why great web content always uses the words “you” and “your”, instead of “they” and “their”.
3. Are you chatting or lecturing?
Whether you’re selling industrial pipe welding equipment or wicker chairs, your web content has to be conversational. If each of your readers feels like the two of you are chatting over lunch, they’ll be more likely to listen to what you have to say and trust what you’re telling them.
You can’t build that kind of relationship if your readers feel like they’re being beaten over the head with a sales pitch, drowning in hard-to-understand statistics, or trying to make sense of overly-formal writing that’s better suited for a term paper.
4. Are you speaking their language?
OK, so conversational content is good — but only if it’s a conversation that your readers can actually relate to. For example, a conversation with a bunch of middle-aged businessmen is going to be totally different than a conversation with college students, single moms, or senior citizens.
Now, that’s not to say that you actually have to be a member of your readers’ demographics to connect with them. It just means that you have to be careful about the jargon, vocabulary, and clichés you use. The last thing you want is to look like a fish out of water… After all, fish out of water don’t make much money!
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