I like to think of myself as a decisive person but I once took so long to decide between rolls of linoleum that I was accidentally locked into the shop at closing. That’s decision paralysis.
Your printed and online marketing materials play a major role in reducing decision paralysis and helping your customers commit:
- Reduce the number of decisions that have to be made. On a website, that might be as simple as reducing the number clicks to move from one topic to the next. But more important is to clearly direct customers to the page that addresses their main problem/pain point. If Amazon can do it, you can.
- Give clear, concise, and accurate information. I become really annoyed when a letter tells me to visit a business’ So-and-So promotion which is actually labeled online as the This-and-That promotion. Or I am directed to a telephone line with 49 million choices, half of them using jargon I don’t recognize and none of which match my problem. Try out your directions, following them exactly as given, and make sure you get where you want to go.
- Confirm customers in their decision-making abilities. Post success stories and testimonials from customers who have already chosen your business. Provide potential customers with decision trees, comparison tables, or infographics that aid them in evaluating their own needs and help reduce decision paralysis.
- Concentrate on value. If you can provide (and regularly update) prices, do so–but even then, explain in concrete terms (not vague adjectives) why your product or service is worth paying for. What standards do you meet or exceed, what options do you offer, what different techniques do you use? If you cannot provide current prices, explain instead how you determine price and the ways you ensure that the client receives full value for moneys spent.
- Give customers something to remember you by. Informative blog posts, newsletters, sales events, downloads–do whatever you can to keep your business in the forefront of customer attention. I finally picked flooring and a flooring provider because he followed up with an email simply asking what was making the decision difficult and if he could help. That followup email, with its attention to my needs, was what turned me from decision paralysis into his committed, happy customer.
By addressing decision paralysis, you are helping your customers commit to your business–and improving your own bottom line. I have the words you need for website content, blog posts, insight papers, and other marketing materials that help your customers commit. Contact me today to find out more.
Your marketing materials may consist of a website, blog, newsletter, brochure, data sheet, case studies or any combination. Regardless of the method you choose to deliver your message to customers, great content always has these five characteristics:
- It uses everyday language. Yes, some technical terms have no substitute (fractionation by any other name is simply confusing), but the words surrounding the technical words should be easy to read. No reason to write “utilize” when “use” will do; no reason to write “capability” when “ability” is available or the word can be avoided entirely. (“We have the capability of manufacturing…” versus “We manufacture….”)
- It speaks to the customer. The customer has a pain point; great marketing content offers a solution to that pain. The issue is not how wonderful the company is but how much confidence the customer has in the specific solution you are writing about.
- It is easy to navigate. Whether online or in print, the content should allow the customer to quickly find information. Huge blocks of print, for example, should either be edited or broken up by headings or preferably both. The relationships between your different products and services should be easy to figure out. The directions to next steps should be clear. Contact and/or signup information should appear on every page.
- It highlights your value. No matter how identical your company is to every other in the field, there is something you can do better or some problem you are more interested in or some other aspect of your company that sets you apart–or you better find another business to run. Keep that value in mind with every word you write.
- It tells a story. Not every word in every piece of marketing material needs that story-telling quality, but some of your marketing should be story based, perhaps the story of how you chose this business, a recent success with a customer, an award you won or an interesting fact you discovered. Stories engage customers and keep them reading.
If your marketing materials hit those five aspects of great content, you are well on your way to making a strong connection with your customers.
Remember the show “What Not to Wear”? The hosts rescued badly dressed women mostly by stressing simple outfits that brought out the women’s innate sense of style and gave them confidence. Sometimes as a writer I find myself in a similar situation. My clients have marketing materials that are confused about audience, mission and even the power of words. My job is to find the clear, accurate, passionate message (the style) beneath the confusion so that clients feel good about their marketing materials–and so do customers.
- Confusion over the audience. A local nonprofit’s website switched back and forth between addressing the people they were trying to help and addressing potential donors. As a result, on the home page, people they were helping became “you” part of the time and “they” the rest of the time. No one looking wants to be categorized as one of “them.” When you know your audience, your writing has the power to move people, whether to seek your help, buy your product or donate to your cause.
- Confusion over the mission. One of my clients was transitioning between two main products. As a result, their website had become a roiling sea of information with no true focal point. Visitors to the website didn’t know where to look first and wondered if they had found the best company to meet their needs. You have to be committed to your own mission before you can convince customers to buy into it.
- Confusion over the power of words. More words and longer words don’t equal more power. I like to use the example of two salespeople. One says, “Our professionally engineered, state-of-the-art product has the incredible capability of significantly reducing your annualized monetary outflow” and the other says, “Our product saves you money year after year.” A simple, clear statement that you believe in carries more weight than any string of five syllable adjectives.
At TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, we believe in the power of clarity, accuracy and passion. Let us bring those three elements into your marketing materials and enable your message to shine. Contact us today.