Tips to Get Prospects to Tune in and Pay Attention
Last week was the big finale of the musical talent show “The Voice.” The Voice is kicking American Idol’s butt when it comes to getting viewers in the desirable 18-49 and teen demographics. Clearly the format, star power, and the fact that it is a newer show is resonating with viewers. One of the most popular features of the show is that in the early rounds judges cannot see the contestants. They sit in giant plush chairs with their backs to the stage and turn around if they like the “voice.”
As I was watching the process, I kept thinking that there was a lesson here that could be applied to writing website copy and blogs. The bots can’t see your handsome website graphics as they crawl through content and assign search authority. And once prospects click on a link to get to your site you can’t make eye contact with them. It’s all about the content and the “write.” So how do you get your prospects to turn their chairs around and tune in? It’s starts with understanding the buyer persona for your products and services and then finding an authentic voice for the conversation that reflects your company.
Creating Buyer Personas is both an art form and a science and is a step that should not be skipped. The time investment upfront creates more effective keywords and copy and ultimately saves time (more on this in a previous blog). Once you have created the buyer persona, it’s on to establishing the best voice for talking to buyer personas throughout your website and via your blog. This can work a few different ways and the key is to establish a voice that meets the buyer persona in energy, peer level, education, and that is an authentic representation of the company.
Let me give you a couple of examples of how we work with clients to make sure their voice on website copy and blogs hit the mark.
Let the Bubbles Rise
We worked last year with a recruiting firm that was standing up a new division. The buyer persona was described as a mid-level human resources manager probably female in her early 30’s. So we wanted the copy to acknowledge the fact that these women were probably multi-tasking machines, some with young children, all with big workloads.
The tone we established was to-the-point, but a little breezy and occasionally humorous. One of the recurring messages that we told to prospects in subtext, even if not said explicitly was, “We understand that you don’t need any additional stress. We are excellent at getting results, easy to work with, and we’ll have fun while helping you meet your objectives". Our inspiration was provided by our client’s own marketing manager, who fit the demographic and had a bubbly, enthusiastic, personality, while also being highly efficient and skilled at her job. I thought of her each time I sat down to write copy for her company.
Contrast can be Interesting
We noticed an interesting contrast about an IT client that hired us to create a new brand identity, website, marketing assets, and ongoing communications and blogging. Although the products and services they sell are highly technical, the company has some really good communicators. Early on, I listened to a 3 hour conversation about servers and found myself engaged rather than bored. That is a good communicator!
There is also an underlying sense of confidence among employees because their company culture is one of empowering employees at all levels to exceed clients’ expectations. And the company is focused on selling IT solutions to business needs – NOT on selling equipment just to make a quick sale. The buyer personas include IT Manager, CTO, and CEO (of mid-sized companies). The website messaging subtext is, “We’ve got your back. We’ve got the knowledge and experience to find the right solution and the commitment to stand behind it for the long haul”.
For this client, having subject matter experts who are also good communicators is a competitive differentiator. They create confidence in prospects by explaining what they are doing in plain terms. When it came to their blog, the overall voice is relaxed and quietly confident. The fact that a number of people in the company contribute to the blog adds richness to the voice and shows perspective from IT engineers to the CEO level.
But what if there is no obvious inside inspiration for “voice?”
The answer is that there is usually something you can anchor to - some situations just take more investigation with establishing voice. IT companies are not usually as communicative as the example above but maybe they are bleeding edge leaders who connect with companies that prize the latest and greatest. So a high energy, higher risk taking style is in order and content should be heavily focused on “what’s new” since that is what the buyer persona would be interested in.
How to get readers to tune in to your blog voice
Here are four take-a-ways we can share on finding the B2B voice that gets prospects to turn their chair around and listen:
- Be authentic. Website copy and blogs should mirror or enhance the most positive part of your workplace culture that would appeal to prospects. Ever read a blog that felt “off”? It’s probably because someone was either trying to hard to sell you something or it was written by someone with absolutely no insider knowledge of the products.
- Be the authority. Curated content with links is helpful to prospects who may not have time to wade through all the noise. BUT. Don’t be afraid to leverage your own experience and solutions in your blog. Use the facts and figures from your own work to back up your arguments and add proof points to your position. Don’t sell. Focus instead on what can help answer a question or solve a problem. An exception to this is a new product or offering. Keep your blog readers in the know without overselling them on the product.
- Be unselfish. I talked about this in my last blog. Be that trusted resource that prospects can turn to for the real deal.
- Be interesting. Yelling, constant selling, and writing your content in the “Voice of God” are the 3 fastest ways to send readers running away. You don’t have to be a comedian, but occasional humor can help keep your readers interested and coming back for more. Use storytelling to make your point. People are wired to learn through others’ experiences and telling stories that enlighten or educate is a great way to connect with your audience.
The bottom line with B2B website copy and blogs is to say something real in a voice that is true to your company. Are you capturing the right voice in your content and other channels across your B2B Inbound Marketing? Download our Inbound Marketing eGuide to understand the different areas where the right voice matters in Inbound Marketing.