Sitegeist Blog - Beiträge vom January, 2010

It’s not about you

Friday, 29. January 2010 9:15

Really. It’s not.

Think about the biggest and most successful online players:

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • YouTube
  • eBay
  • Wikipedia
  • Flickr

Not to mention the social networking juggernauts such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter…

Think about your favourite shop, cafe, designer…

Being successful online and offline is about having something other people want. Any good salesperson knows that people don’t buy products – they buy the dream, the promise, the attitude, the story…

Do you have something other people want? Or do you have something you think other people should want?

It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Thema: User focus | Comments Off | Author:

Benefits beat features (aka: So what?)

Friday, 15. January 2010 9:56

This one is simple. It’s straight from Marketing 101:

Customers are more interested in benefits than features.

Here’s why, and – more importantly – how to make it happen on your website…

The bulk of your online activity needs to be devoted to explaining why potential customers should buy/use/contact/believe you. Yet too many businesses spend all their time explaining their products or services – often in painful detail.

Of course, describing what you do (or what your product does) is important, but it should always be done with your potential customer in mind. What benefit do they want from your business?

Here’s Sitegeist’s simple 5-step plan to improving your website content, and boosting effectiveness at the same time:

  1. Look at a claim or product feature on your site.
  2. Ask the question, “So what?”
  3. Write down the answer. This is the benefit.
  4. Now, delete the original copy, and replace it with the benefit.
  5. Repeat throughout your site.

Benefits vary, and include:

  • saving time
  • saving money
  • making it easier
  • improving status
  • feeling good
  • getting rich
  • knowing more
  • looking better

Here are some examples of product features that become stronger when pitched at a customer need:

We’ve got the best-tasting coffee
So what?
Our coffee might be the best you’ve ever tasted; perfect for turning a 10-minute break into an island of indulgence in your busy day.

We have the cheapest printing service
So what?
Save on printing so you have more of your marketing budget to spend on the great copywriters at Sitegeist!

We have the most experienced climate scientists in the country
So what?
Our climate research is the most highly respected, so you can be sure that you are 100% correct at your next dinner-party global-warming discussion.

Our political party has the best policy on refugees
So what?
Our refugee policy allows us to look the rest of the world in the eye and say, “We’re doing the right thing”.

So if you know what your customers actually need, give it to them.

And if you don’t know what your customers need, maybe it’s time to ask them.

Thema: Being good, User focus | Comments Off | Author:

Online content and narrative: choose your own adventure

Friday, 1. January 2010 9:01

Happy new year! A change of years puts us in a reflective mood. We ponder the year we have just left behind; and we think about the one that’s just started. We get nostalgic; and we try to predict the future. It’s all about personal narrative.

Narrative…now there’s a good topic. (seamless link, John…)

If you were a teenager in the 1980s you’ll probably remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

They were little paperback adventure stories. What made them interesting was that throughout the book, the reader had to make decisions:

If you decide to start back home, turn to page 4.
If you decide to wait, turn to page 5.

The books – though sometimes circular and sometimes very brief – were nonetheless interesting artefacts, and – in hindsight – successful precursors of hypertext.

The only thing disappointing about these books was that they ended. Concluding was inevitable, though. Being a printed book, there was only a certain number of pages available.

The End of Narrative?
You don’t have to spend long online to know that context-rich links are pure gold; they enable your search to continue, hopefully bringing you closer to the information you need.

Web pages with no useful links (either internal or external) are like a locked door on the Internet…or like the disappointing final page of a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Having your online journey halted before you’re ready is disappointing; but not in the inevitable way of a 116-page kids’ book. The disappointment is felt more keenly because finding the ‘last page’ of an online trail is a betrayal of the promise – even the very purpose – of the World Wide Web.

So good site writers always strive to provide quality, contextual links wherever possible. If links are to another page on your site, great! Encouraging internal site exploration is good for business. If the links are external, that’s great too.

Block the Exits!
But many site managers are still worried that linking to external sites will drive away business. Why, they ask, would we provide arrows to the exit?

But every web user already knows where the exits are: the back button, the big X in the top-right corner, getting up to make a cup of tea, typing in the letters g-o-o-g-l-e, etc. And web users are very happy to use these exits if they think they’re otherwise wasting their time.

If You Love Something…
If your site hasn’t sated a user’s information needs, allow them to continue their journey. Allow them to create a useful online narrative. Tear down the wall. Users will be happier.

And they might even remember you later…

Thema: Being good, User focus | Comments Off | Author: