Whether you’re crafting the copy for your website or writing a novel, your customer craves clarity. She’s always thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
Good stories are always clear. But when you ramble, you flat out bore the customer, and you can even erode trust.
Why is this? Because if you don’t value the end user’s time, she won’t trust you. And you need trust. Trust is a major reason people stick around and buy.
A Real-Life Example
Over the past two months, I’ve been looking for a new car. I’ve searched Facebook and Craigslist. I’ve browsed countless car websites. I’ve gone to countless car dealerships in person. Some had no prices on any of the vehicles. Others had aggressive salesmen.
It was so stressful! The entire experience was a bit of a nightmare. Well, until I decided to look at the experience as an opportunity to learn some hands-on marketing in the real world. One place I looked for a car was Carvana.
Just take a look at Carvana’s website. It’s simple. It’s clear. The tagline alone gives a sense of peace. I didn’t buy a car from Carvana (they didn’t have what I wanted), but I was impressed. Quite frankly, I trusted them just from how they presented themselves. I very well might buy a car from them at some point in the future.
What If a Website’s a Little More Busy?
Here’s another example of a website I found while searching for a car. I’d say this example is kind of in the middle: it’s not really good or bad. This website is a little bit more complicated than Carvana’s website. However, the icons used are pleasing. In the background is a video of the dealership, which lets the user know how the car dealership looks.
I rank this one in the middle because it still could be simplified a little bit more. I don’t know what “platinum advantages” are. And the copy saying “We’re better. We’ll prove it.” really doesn’t focus at all on the customer.
Remember, buying something is an emotional decision. Compare that with Carvana’s “Browse. Buy. Breathe.” Carvana is really specific. The above example is very general and doesn’t give any details as to why they’re better.
Don’t tell the customer you’re better, show her why you’re better.
Nope, No, No, Too Far
Now this one is one website I found that I would say is a bad example. I hate to pick on one specific dealership, but this is how marketing works. Take a look at this website.
OK, this website has a lot going on. Too much in my opinion. The left looks like an email pop up. There are pictures of vehicles, but no description of the make or model, which only confuses.
There are special offers and incentives, but you don’t know what that really means. An icon to schedule service is right in the middle of the page, and then there’s a link to value your trade-in.
As a first-time visitor, the website is pulling you in a bunch of directions at once. That’s a problem.
How This Applies to Your Marketing
Whatever you’re doing needs to be really, really clear. You can’t be known for your landscape photography, fiction writing, business consulting, and life coaching.
While you can have all of those interests, you cannot think you’ll find any customers who want to sort through all of that. One update might be about a recent photoshoot, and the next update is about your upcoming novel. Another post is about how to become more productive and spend less time in email. There is no rhyme or reason for the end-user. There’s no clarity. And that’s a real problem.
A simple solution would be to have separate websites. This keeps things clear and you know which customer is interested in each of those topics or services. And not everything you’re doing needs a website. You could post on LinkedIn about business consulting, or life coaching here on Medium.
Or maybe you don’t post anything at all online about one of those areas of your life. There is no one way to pursue clarity. You just have to pursue it.
Why Clarity Matters So Much
Clarity is scary because it takes time. It takes intentionality and requires decision-making. It means saying my products are for this customer who is interested in landscape photography, but not for this customer who is interested in wedding photography.
For the most part, our attention spans are not getting any better because each of us is busier than ever. Your marketing content is competing with countless other websites, Netflix, YouTube, and video games. Keep that in mind.
Speak directly to the reader as if she’s sitting right there next to you. If you fail to do this, you’ll fail to keep her attention. And make sure your marketing reaches her in audio, video, and text.
Too many marketers and content creators are too self-indulgent. Yes, you might be able to get away with it if you have a huge following. But that doesn’t mean your marketing is as impactful as it could — and should — be.
Every moment of content you create matters. So cut the fluff. Create for impact. Create to move people and to take action.
So, what do you do next? What can you do to take your marketing to the next level? It’s actually really simple.
Constantly ask yourself: Is this really needed?
Most of the time, the answer is a resounding no. Take out the part in question. Does the marketing content still work well, or is it missing something? If it still works well, cut out that part. Don’t look back for a moment. If you need it, put it back.
There is a saying about writing that applies here: “writing is rewriting.” Cut the fluff to tell good stories. Marketing is experimenting. So keep experimenting and testing. Make the stories you tell even better. You will stand out from your competitors and delight your customers.