Tips From Speech Comm. 101: Turn Website Visitors into Customers
I paid my way through graduate school by working as a teaching assistant in the Communications Department. As part of my TA duties, I taught Speech Comm. 101 - a general education course about public speaking and listening skills. The techniques I taught (and learned) during my time as a grad student have been some of the most valuable, useful tools I have in my professional arsenal. Web content writing is no exception. Below are a few content tips pulled straight from Speech Comm. 101 that will help you focus your website’s text and turn visitors into customers.
Know Your Audience
Audience Adaptation is probably the most important part of any presentation - on- or off-line. If you haven’t done so already, find out who your customers are and what motivates them. Are they mostly men or women? What is their age range? Where do they live and why do (or should) they buy from you? After you’ve gathered this information, create a profile of your primary and secondary audiences. With a clear picture in mind, you can adapt your messages to these individuals and better engage them.
Define Your Goals
Every speech needs to make a point and so does every web page. Before you begin writing to your primary and secondary audiences, outline your goal (or goals) for each page. What do you want your readers to do or think after reading the page? You’ve done audience research. You know their pain points. Show them that you understand their needs in your text and tell them what to do next with a clear call to action (CTA) such as, Request a Free Estimate, Call Us Today, or Donate Now.
Keep Context in Mind
When you prepare a speech, you typically know where you are presenting - a large audience in a ballroom or a small group in a classroom. While we don’t always know where or on what type of device a person is visiting your website, we DO know that your pages are being presented to one person at a time. So, write with that in mind. Write to that one person and address him or her directly. Your audiences will be more apt respond to your CTAs when they feel like you know them.
Learn to Listen
Listening is a skill, just like speaking or writing. When you write your website copy, ask for feedback. Read and really listen to your reader’s comments. Don’t take negative feedback personally. Instead, confirm with the reader that you’re understanding their point and ask questions to pull out underlying concerns or fears. Use what you learn to your advantage by making changes to your website. You’ll boost your credibility and gain more customers.
Some might argue that websites are a one-way communication tool. But, with the proliferation of mobile devices, social media interactions, live chat, instant messaging, and so on; communication fundamentals are vital to writing good website content that grows your business. Need to brush up on your Speech Comm. 101 skills? Check out this great list of articles from Inc.