Did you ever hear the advice:
“When you introduce yourself, don’t say I’m a life coach,” or “I’m a massage therapist,” or, “I do aromatherapy.: Say, “I help business executives deal with stress.”
The idea is, people are interested in solving problems. They don’t care about the specifics.”
That’s half true. People do want to solve problems. But they DO care about specifics. For one thing, not every solution works for all people. For another, not every solution appeals to all people. Some love massage; some can’t stand the idea.
Additionally, psychologists know that people think in categories. When they see a new food product at the supermarket, they want to know if it’s a dessert or an entree. They want to know if it’s an ice cream or a yogurt.
Creating a new category can be challenging. It’s why books that mix genres often fail to reach success. I’ve seen books claiming to be part memoir and part self-help. People looking for a memoir get annoyed at the self-help parts and vice versa. You narrow your target to readers who want both.
Categorization is one of the ways the brain works.
We keep hearing that we process narratives; we should also remember that we categorize. It’s an efficient way of organizing information. Used wrongly, it leads to stereotypes. Used appropriately, it saves time and economizes on effort.
The problem comes when the entrepreneur’s urge to be creative meets the brain’s determination to categorize.
Here are 3 ways you can incorporate the sorting mechanism into your online marketing.
(1) Identify yourself with a familiar category.
Your title helps the sorting process. You may resist categorization but consider starting with something new.
For instance, if you’re an “inspiration coach,” start by identifying yourself as a life coach or business coach. “I’m a life coach who helps clients find inspiration to take action.” Or, “I’m a business coach who helps clients generate new ideas.”
Once I met someone who called himself a “movement improvement coach.” He was a licensed personal trainer, helping clients recover from surgery and injury. Much easier.
(2) Use unequivocal terms on your website menu.
Think of finding directions at a busy airport. When you see unfamiliar symbols instead of words, it’s easy to get frustrated.
On websites, the most abused item is usually “Services.” There’s nothing wrong with saying “services” or “my services.” The term “work with me” has become standard.
The second most confusing menu item is “Testimonials.” I’ll leave that one to your imagination.
(3) It’s okay to say “Click here.”
If you want people to click on a link, it’s a good idea to explain exactly where you want them to click and why.
“Click here to learn more about …”
When you write your website, clarity can be a challenge. Many of your website visitors will be strangers. You have just a few sentences to grab their attention. One of the ways you lose clarity is being too close to your own content: after all, it’s your business and your copy.