Why 5 years old kid knows more about simple communication than an adult website owner? Because the kid to get a sweetie is using only 5 words. The website owner to get a user interested with his product is using 60 words. Who is easier to listen then?
When I was in the first year of university I was working to pay my fees. I have worked in a theatre. I was an actor. Yes, I know it sounds cool! And it was… With one small detail, it was a theatre with plays for children.
Don’t get me wrong, I like kids. I have two sons.
Kids are a great audience, but also they are honest and demanding. They react livelily and always recognise a glitch in the story. And then they say it out loud, no matter what!
We are not kids anymore
When we grow our world perception is changing. We start using more words, learn complexed sentences, and speak other languages. We talk a lot. But we don’t talk in a proper way.
It’s a cliché but yes, we are very busy, and we have no time. Your website user doesn’t have a time. He has a problem and needs to solve it quickly. And you talk, instead of giving him the solution. You talk a lot about you, your product, service and its features. The user is impatient, he is not listening anymore. He’s gone.
The message you send through your website is crucial for your business. If you gobbledygook then users leave. But when you communicate in a simple way, about their needs, they listen to you. It’s like with kids, they don’t understand difficult words about you either.
I see lots of business websites filled with boring, meaningless, I-orientated copy. All these “we are great”, “we do amazing”, “we have a passion for” are not narrating interesting stories. This is a corporate pulp. And the worst is nobody will tell them their message sucks. You are not supposed to…
Adults don’t do it. Kids would…
Make a communication simple like you were talking to kids
Kids want a simple communication. When I was on a stage performing Dr Doolittle to mainly 5 years old audience I had to act suggestive and talk simply. Otherwise, they wouldn’t understand the story or misunderstood the plot.
Yet, the same play presented to a group of 12 years old looked completely different. The acting was more specific, subtle and the expression more emphasised. The clue of the message hasn’t changed – only the way I presented it.
This is what the kids taught me about the communication – to express the message in the right way to the right audience.
Strategy for communication
Keep it in mind when you are creating a message for your business website. Anything you want to say, direct it to the specific user. You know who is it because you have done the target analysis, haven’t you?
So, in simple words, speak the way your target users will understand. Talk about what they desire in the language they recognise. Focus on what is the most important for your users. Tell them what they need to hear, not what you want to talk about.
People come to your website because they have a problem. They want to know if you can solve their issue. They are not interested in you.
Let’s say you are a hairdresser. Statement on the website says you are the local specialist with 10 years work experience. Then it says you use only products of the famous French designer and own real leather seats. Great!
Now, let’s answer these:
– Who is your client?
– Mainly local women.
– What is the problem they have?
– They don’t like their hair anymore and want a change.
The reasons vary; it could be too long, too short, the wrong colour, or the new boyfriend. But there is one common problem – they all want to look beautiful with the new haircut. That is the value for them, not the designer’s shampoo.
Which part of your statement is telling these women you can solve their problem? Yes, you’ve mentioned the experience which is great. You are local, so it’s handy. But will you make them look beautiful? I don’t know that.
Features vs Values
All that you said above are features. Users are looking for values. And if you want to keep them on the website, show them you understand their needs and offer them a value. Otherwise, they will leave.
People don't buy a hammer because it looks cool, they want to put a nail in.
Opposite to kids, adults don’t say out loud what they think. So don’t expect users to tell you that copy sucks. They wouldn’t explain why they left your site after reading first two paragraphs. Instead, they will forget about you and your business.
You don’t want that. Me neither. So take your steps and analyse your clients. Recognise their problems and needs and consider what solution you can offer for the pain. That will create a value for users.
Take that scenario:
If you have a headache (problem) you take a paracetamol. What is the paracetamol? It’s a painkiller (product). What’s it like? It’s easy to swallow (feature). What does it do? It kills a headache (solution). What is the value for you? You feel better (value).
So, I got the challenge for you. Next time when you are browsing the Internet visit any business website and take your time to analyse the copy.
Pay special attention to the message and who is it created for.
- Is to for you or the owner’s mum?
- Do they solve your need? Or do they tell how cool they are?
- Do they present value or features?
And when you see it, come back to your own website and check your copy and answer the same questions.
If you have young kids, talk to them. Listen how they communicate, how many words they use to pass the message. Do the experiment. Talk to them using complicated words which adults know and see their faces. Think about your website users then.
Why do I want you to do it? Because when you understand it, you can increase the user experience and make your website more user-friendly. Thanks to that clients will buy from you more often.
I’m curious your thoughts on this subject, so please leave your comment below. Drop your good and bad examples of user-orientated copy. Let’s fight the corporate pulp together!
And in the meantime, take care!