A Persuasive Website Is Not About You

April 11, 2011Leave a reply

A persuasive website is not about you — it’s about your prospects and customers.

It’s about their needs, desires, passions, fears, perceptions, sense of belonging, personality, sense of humor, tastes, preferences, and aversions.

A persuasive website gives visitors what they want, rather than focusing on what you care about.

The Golden Rule says to treat people how you want to be treated. The Platinum Rule says to treat people how they want to be treated.

The Golden Rule is great for avoiding conflict and war, but horrible for marketing.

No one cares that your product is the best and that it was the result of your years of toil and passion. They only care if it happens to coincide with what they want.

To give a tangible example of this, I’ve visited a few websites of freelance writers to extract and analyze two writing samples.

Consider the differences between the two:

Example 1: “I enjoy working with people and I love to write. The combination gives me an edge in the freelance writing industry. I’m outgoing enough to ask all the right questions and lucky enough that I never get bored doing my job. I believe any piece of writing is worthy of perfection…I have always gone the extra mile for my clients. You will find that I am meticulous, that my work is original, and that I will consistently produce above and beyond expectations.

Example 2: “I am here to make your life easier. Partner with me for your writing needs and give yourself the freedom to focus on other aspects of your business. If you are looking for an experienced freelance writer who is committed to your satisfaction, you have found her! I look forward to helping you achieve more with words.”

The first one isn’t written too badly, but notice that “I” is used eight times with only two references to the writer’s potential clients. In an effort to sell you on her services, she has told you all about herself.

In the second example, the writer references herself just four times while referencing you, the potential client, six times.

The first person wants to tell you how great she is; the second shows you that she’s all about meeting your needs. And that’s the number one secret of a persuasive website.

For some reason we think that to sell people we need to tell them how great we are. The reality is just the opposite — you must show them how in tune to their needs you are.

The only reason they care about how great you are is if your perceived greatness coincides with what they’re looking for and the particular pain that they’re feeling that your product, service, or message will alleviate.

Learning that it’s not about you and writing to the perspective of your audience will impact the effectiveness of your persuasive website more than any other factor.

Stop being self-centered — make your message customer-centric and you will know how to write and build a more persuasive website.

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