Tip 1: Who and where – build Personas and target channels
Focus on the people you’re targeting, rather than everyone. Usable Media run workshops which get to the heart of this – asking questions like ‘who are the ideal customers?’ ‘What (if any) problems are you solving for them?’. We then define where your ideal customers exist. What behavioural characteristics do they all share? How can you help? From these workshops we build Build semi-fictional profiles of ideal and not-ideal customers to ensure your messaging resonates.
1a. Win/Fail Deal reviews. Interview clients and even ex-clients. Include clients who should have used you but didn’t and clients who did use you but shouldn’t. The intelligence from these stories all forms the rich source of relevant information needed to connect with suture audiences. There’s no good guessing this.
1b. Website performance. The most popular pages on your website (by visitor volume, time on site and engagement) are a good indicator of intent, but verify this with real people. If budget permits, you can also use tools like Hotjar to analyse which paragraphs and words that visitors focus on and engage with.
1c. Language. Ensuring your messages match your clients’ actual needs is crucial. If you can, locate keyword data from Google Analytics. Try to extract the top phrases typed into Google as well as on your website’s search bar. Focus specifically on the keywords that brought in the most valuable or most relevant visitors.
1d. Test and refine your best theories. With an outline of your customer personas and their needs and your solutions defined, we recommend surveying the exact phrases you use. For example: with each client at Usable Media, we build a panel of relevant respondents and invite them to study and respond to several messaging variants – including competitors versions. This enables us to get a more certain idea of how a website or campaign will perform when live. This process saves time on guesswork and also budget.
Tip2: Secondly, define your value proposition
Your value proposition will consist of an appealing headline and simple sub-head with descriptive intro. It’s best practice to accompany this with a ‘purposeful’ or relevant visual or graphic, that acts as a shortcut.
The following tried and tested formula has worked positively for several of our clients:
2a. Attention-grabbing headline. Describe the end-benefit your customers will enjoy that is unique to your solution, expressed in one short sentence. Reference your product / service / industry.
2b. Summary. A detailed explanation of what you do or offer and why certain clients and job roles find it essential. Use two to three sentences within a paragraph.
2c. FABs. List at least three features and benefits. Map these to your own unique product set or features as where possible, use examples as proof of your claims.
Tip 3: Purposeful imagery.
Visualise your product or service improving or solving a situation. This helps viewers imagine a better scenario for themselves and reinforces your key messages and FABs. Because visual devices (graphs, photography and icons etc) convey meaning far quicker than words, they need to be accurate. Ensure the impressions your graphics give are on-brand and reiterate the messages they are illustrating. Here are some simple visual guidelines we’ve seen used by the world’s biggest brands:
3a. Illustrate your personas carefully. Working to Hubspot’s definition, personas are semi-fictional marketing profiles and make many assumptions. Some of these guesses might be stereotypical or offensive, so this is purely for internal use. One example we’ve seen bluntly targeted ‘healthcare’ with a picture of a specific character in nurses uniform. Race, Gender and Age aside, they missed a chance to show their product solving something in a unique and compelling way and instead, illustrated what they thought a healthcare worker looked like, which offended more people than it resonated with.
3b. Icon sense. Don’t be afraid to follow the crowd when showing widely established metaphors. An example is using the magnifying glass as an icon for ‘Search’ or showing a symbol of a Cloud when referring to Cloud Computing. Conversely, inventing metaphors and icons has the exact opposite effect. Icons that seem logical to you often challenge your visitors and waste valuable time and effort. Test them thoroughly!
3c. Animation. Exciting right? We’ve seen enough evidence to suggest homepage and landing page animations distract and prevent visitors from reading key messages or fulfilling calls to action. According to Usability experts UXPin specifically, animated header sliders (or Carousels) are a poor waste of space with a very low engagement rate. In our tests, only 0.3% of visitors engage with content after the 2nd frame.
There is a very useful tool I have referenced before, from Strategyzer, called the value proposition map. This helps to research, write, illustrate and test your value proposition map with actual client needs: https://www.strategyzer.com/canvas/value-proposition-canvas
So how and where do you talk about yourself on your own website?
Yes, save it for the About Us page, but consider this:
- On the About Us page, the rules change. ‘We, me, I and our’ is okay but use a storytelling narrative to keep it interesting.
- Cite real examples and key milestones that are relevant and appealing to buyers – and build rapport.
- Consider a timeline and milestones chart. Set the scene for the company vision (or goal) and then show the stages of getting there – first big win, product or service launch, winning an award, number of staff, key partnerships.
With credibility now established, you can set out your values and mission, in a way that looks believable and achievable.
Being customer-focussed is laced with more nuance than just saying ‘we care about our customers’ and having a pop-up chat box that says ‘How can I help?’. This article only covers the externally facing side of your marketing – to be truly customer-centric, it’s important to use the data you gather to evolve your product or service so it matches up with your marketing messages.
If you want to know more about increasing leads the fastest way, get in touch. Everything from Persona Workshops and Messaging to User Testing and Campaign Management.
Usable Media added over £100m in sales for it’s clients – from the NEC and JCB to many mid-tier software and technology clients. The techniques we use follow proven behavioural psychology patterns and form best practice for lead-generation websites.
Market leaders in your industry know these techniques – and more. We see the evidence every day. If you want to know how your successful competitors are winning, we offer digital due-diligence to benchmark and highlight the opportunities in your field. Talk to one of our experts now.
In my next post, I’ll be looking at the response speed effect on sales, and how automation solves this. This is a brand pillar affecting ‘tone of voice’.
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