A few months go, I volunteered to work with a local organization that helps kids become better readers and writers, supplementing their school experience. Sitting around a table with kids 13-17, I have never felt so totally un-cool.
Then I took my friend’s 13-year-old daughter to a college basketball game as part of a family-friendly alumni event. We both had a great time and I ended the evening feeling exhausted and, yes, definitely on the wrong side of cool.
I’m reminded of these events when I see business owners encouraged to, “Show your personality. Make your website look quirky.”
This misguided advice often leads to websites that sound like the business owner’s been tripping down memory lane to the days when she was trying to join the cool crowd in secondary school. Somehow, the message gets buried in language that’s trying too hard.
On the other side, you’ll see websites where you feel the owner was determined to prance around in stilettos when they belonged in sneakers. They want to sound “grownup” and “professional.”
So when I read advice to “Sound like you’re …” I feel like shouting, “Cover your ears, people, and head for the hills!”
Copywriting is about message, not sound. I’m always awed by what my clients have to say when they just tell me where they’re coming from, in their own phrases.
Here are two tips to spice up your website while remaining authentic.
First, use your About Page to create a clear, simple message about what you offer. It’s often hard to recognize your own message because you’re way too close – you’re in love with something that needs to be tossed or you aren’t recognizing something that has great value.
For instance, business coach Gloria refers to helping her “bad-a–” clients get “results that are ******* amazing.”
Gloria just sold her first program at a large profit. She also has extensive experience in negotiating with suppliers and joint venture partners. She has a story her competitors would kill for. She can create a message about teaching you to how to negotiate, build a business and sell a business — with tons of social proof. She doesn’t have to hide behind language that sounds like she’s trying too hard to be cool.
Second, illustrate your uniqueness by sharing stories. Rather than say, “I’m an amazing lawyer,” tell a few stories about how you went the extra mile for a client. One immigration lawyer has a story of tracking down a client who was being held in another state. He doesn’t have to say, “I go the extra mile.” It’s pretty obvious.
An accountant might share a story of helping a client who showed up, embarrassed, with a shoebox of receipts and a handful of warning notices from the tax collectors. With some non-judgmental coaching, the accountant helps this client develop a customized record-keeping system that’s painless and accurate…and he’s got an especially strong story if the client ended up with a refund.
Of course, not all stories qualify for marketing. Some are irrelevant and some just embarrass their readers with TMI. Some stories are hidden way when you can benefit from sharing them widely That’s why I created this course to help you Build Your Brand One Story At A Time. Click here for instant access http://mycopy.info/storybrand
And if you’d like work with me on developing stories to grow your own business, check out this special I’m running for my new story consultation package. It’s a good deal … and a way to get out of the traditional ways of thinking about your business and start building on your own strengths and resources.