Is Your Business or Brand Unintentionally Sending the Wrong Message?
How does your audience first perceive your company, products or services? Considering that it only takes 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion of your website, the words you choose and the strategy you develop to articulate these things are arguably the single most important factor in how your company, products or services will either have purpose or be meaningless to your audience.
In addition to the 50 milliseconds it takes website visitors to form an opinion about your company, products or services, “48% of people said that web design was the No. 1 way they determine the credibility of a business. Yet, 86% of site visitors are focused on the home page messaging and additional information detailing what the business does and/or what services it provides.
“It only takes 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion of your website.”
With the average site visitor spending barely six seconds perusing written content, the words you choose and how they are expressed to your audience need to align not only with your purpose and desired outcome, but must be expressed in a way that is empathetic to your audiences’ needs as well as clearly showing the benefits your company, products or services provide to them. Many organizations often make the mistake of using internal jargon in their messaging rather than language that is understandable to customers.
“Ask yourself, how can we change the way we describe our business, service or product in way that will persuade the customer to pause and say “Yes, they get what I’m looking for” or “I’d like to learn more?”
Be Specific, Purposeful and Truthful
In this podcast, the leadership of Maslansky + Partners had this to say when it comes to what your message says versus what people hear: “Your intention can be right, but if your words are wrong, your impact is going to be wrong. You’re not going to have the impact. You’re going to be ignored, or even worse, you’re going to be misconstrued. If your words and your language are right, you’re going to have the exact impact you want and you’re going to get ex- you know, you’re going to drive the behavior change, or the business results, or the impact that you want to have.” And this quote crystalizes what many organizations fail to recognize: “It starts by not trying to tell me something that says I’m wrong. But it starts by empathizing with how I actually feel. And then makes a shift to trying to find that common ground and create that agreement.”
“Your intention can be right, but if your words are wrong, your impact is going to be wrong. You’re not going to have the impact. You’re going to be ignored, or even worse, you’re going to be misconstrued.”
Ask yourself, how can we change the way we describe our business, service or product in way that will persuade the customer to pause and say “Yes, they get what I’m looking for” or “I’d like to learn more”? In the same podcast, this example was given about the importance of reframing messaging and shifting perception: “I might talk about therapy being 99% effective, right? Or I might say that only 1% have any issues with it. That’s the same exact fact. It’s the same exact message, but it’s articulated differently.”
Start with “Why”
I remember reading about starting important conversations with your last sentence first, i.e., rather than going through all the background leading up to the problem or question. Start with that, and then, if warranted, go into all of the additional background that may or may not be relevant.
This post from OpenView Venture Partners about prioritizing a website’s messaging and branding shared something similar: “Use an inverted pyramid to tell their story: The most important, most convincing line of copy that answers the ‘why’ must go at the very top. All copy below that should answer common questions and convince skeptics.” In addition, ensure that the messaging is centered around solving the audience’s pain point.
“Use an inverted pyramid to tell their story: The most important, most convincing line of copy that answers the ‘why’ must go at the very top. All copy below that should answer common questions and convince skeptics.”
When evaluating your website’s messaging, ask the following questions:
- How does our messaging
- Elevate or define our company?
- Elevate or define our position within the category?
- Differentiate our products or services?
- Does the messaging align with the company’s beliefs or expectations?
- Are there complexities within our messaging that should be reconsidered?
- Does our messaging crystalize what we are trying to communicate?
- Does our messaging demonstrate empathy and authenticity?
- What is our messaging solving for our audience?
First Impressions Are Everything
Your website’s home page is the first interaction a new customer, client, employee or investor has with your organization. That first experience will speak volumes about how that audience thinks about you and whether or not you understand their business or pain point. It’s the first and perhaps only chance to gain their trust, instill confidence and the desire to learn more in them, and persuade them to make a purchase.
While the overall site design and user experience certainly contribute to how your company will initially be judged, without the right messaging strategy in place, even the most beautiful or engaging website will fall flat, or even worse, cause your audience to explore other options.