I know what my customers want and I know how to talk to them.
In this second installment on the benefits of professional content writing, I’m going to address the above opinion. For the most part, I agree with it: once you’ve turned a casual browser into a paying customer, you are absolutely in the best position to keep that customer coming back. The problem, however, is that the goal of most online businesses is to expand their customer base. To that end, while your content should be designed to appease existing customers it should primarily be written in a way that speaks to your potential customers.
As an analogy, let’s look at physical retail locations. In brick and mortar retail, there are two types of store: impulse and destination. An impulse store, like a magazine booth in an airport, aims to entice customers as they’re passing by. A destination store, such as a fine jewelry store, caters to a regular clientele, a clientele that seeks them out specifically.
To really take advantage of online sales, the first thing to understand is that almost every online retailer, on its face, operates as an impulse store. Their overarching goal is to turn every visitor into a sale and only then, after they’ve created a customer, will they focus on turning that sale into a repeat visitor. In light of this, creating your web content based on your existing customers’ preferences can be a very limiting route to take.
My father used to tell me to dress for the job I wanted, not the job I had. I think that’s sage advice here: create content for the customers you want, not the ones you have. Let’s take a look at a simplified example of how poorly framed content can limit your customer base or, even worse, create doubts in your readers’ minds. In this example, we’ll talk about a standard wire hanger:
“This rigid wire coat hanger is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. Sturdy enough to support even the heaviest of winter coats, it features two notches on its upper arms.”
This example highlights a common problem with creating content geared towards existing customers: it assumes that the reader has knowledge of the item being discussed. Because of this assumption, the description fails to extol the benefits of what it is describing. Furthermore, the description has the potential to create doubts in readers’ minds by limiting the hanger’s use to “coats.” It may seem trivial, but potential customers tend to be literal: if an item is described as a coat hanger, they will assume it is only for coats.
Consider the following description, geared towards an unfamiliar customer, instead:
“This rigid aluminum hanger is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum, offering a light, sturdy alternative to traditional brass hangers. Gentle enough to support the most delicate fabrics and strong enough to hang the heaviest of coats, it features two notches, designed to hold ties, on its upper arms.”
In this description, we’ve communicated the same information but we’ve attached meaning to it. The aluminum is light and sturdy and the notches hold ties. We’re still speaking to existing customers, but we’re courting potential customers. By assuming that all visitors are unfamiliar with your products, professional content writers communicate the details but, more than that, they present the benefits offered by those details.
In short, knowing your customers is great at keeping those customers, however, online business is about attracting, interesting and converting potential customers. Professional content writers aim to take your understanding of your customer base and expand your business by directing that information outward in a way that speaks to future customers.
Tune in next time where we’ll talk about creating an emotional response!