Getting your website right is crucial if you want to attract visitors and ultimately customers. Your design and logo are the first thing that people notice when they click on your landing page, but don’t forget that the words you use are also a key part of your branding. This means that every page and blog you add to your website should be on brand and designed to resonate with the customer you are trying to engage with.
Here are our top tips for creating an appropriate and consistent tone of voice for your online presence:
1 Do your research
As a company have you thought about creating personas for the clients you have and want to have? If you haven’t you should! Research based on website analytics, social media research, surveys and identifying as a team who you want to reach should give you enough information to create at least three client personas to keep in mind as you engage in all aspects of your businesses.
Personas include the client’s demographics and details about their needs and problems and how you can help them with those issues. You can make them as detailed as you like – as well as an age and professional category, you can give them an actual job and name if this helps keep them at the forefront of your mind! Once you have created your persona, you will be able to write in a style they will be able to relate to and ultimately respond to.
Another key part of the research that will help you create your style is looking at competitor brands. What are they doing that makes them so successful? How can you apply the principles they use without directly copying them based on your own unique selling point?
2 What kind of company are you?
As a rule of thumb, traditional businesses such as accountancy firms, solicitors and estate agents use more formal language than businesses like bars, fashion and travel companies. However, it’s not always a one-size fits all approach. Never Fully Dressed and Celtic & Co are both UK fashion businesses who do most of their trading online. However, the language they use is totally different as one is catering for young style conscious women who regularly want an on-trend new outfit to wear on a night out, while the other is aimed at older customers looking to invest in quality British craftsmanship. Both companies have discerning clients with high standards and a strong idea of what they are looking for, however the playful and Americanised language used by Never Fully Dressed would be wholly inappropriate for Celtic & Co who speak to their customers in a style that is informal yet more grown up.
You might still think it’s safe to assume that all law firms should adopt a highly formal tone, but again, it’s important to think about who you are trying to connect with. After all, the language needed for a solicitor’s website will vary according to whether they specialise in tax law for the wealthy or criminal defence for those who need legal aid. Also, an estate agent will need to consider their target client, as young professionals selling urban flats will respond to different language to older people selling a large country property.
3 Get the balance right
Just like the visual content, the words on your website need to work hard to achieve sales. However overly ‘salesy’ copy will turn off customers while veering too far the other way will confuse people and make them leave your page without buying anything. The same goes for SEO; content should be authentic and key phrases should blend in seamlessly as both Google and your reader will be able to spot content that is over stuffed with keywords a mile away! Your main website pages should be clear and uncluttered and answer the question that has led someone to your website.
Blogging is a key part of your website. Not only will fresh, relevant content improve your search engine ratings, it will attract more visitors and enable you to give your potential customers something extra in the form of the benefit of your expertise or a bit of light entertainment, depending on what is appropriate for your business. However, no matter what the blog post topic is about, stick to your style and always sign off with a call to action which could be:
- Buying a product or service
- Taking advantage of a time-limited special offer
- Signing up to a newsletter or mailing list
- Calling or filling in an online form to receive more information.
4 Who is writing your content?
When it comes to creating stylish, relevant and SEO-optimised website content tailored for your target audience, it’s always best to use a professional copywriter. However, budgets and time pressures don’t always allow for this, so in order to make sure your website is as on message as possible, consider creating a style guide that takes in account factors including the following:
- Is the style formal or informal?
- Do you address your client directly as ‘you’ or speak in the third person?
- Does your brand have a sense of humour?
- As well as the SEO-optimised words and phrases you need to include are there any that should be avoided? For example, do you prefer the use of ‘client’ or ‘customer’. Should you avoid saying ‘affordable’ as that can be a subjective concept?
- Are there any examples of good and bad content you can include as a template?
- Are there any examples of style and grammar you always stick to? For example, do you capitalise job titles?
- Is the website content in line with your offline and social media content?
Finally, anyone who is writing content for your website needs to make sure their work is carefully proofread. Computer spelling and grammar checks are not fool proof and even professional copywriters make mistakes! Remember, no matter how carefully honed and crafted your website is, one howler of a typo can instantly ruin the effect. That’s why it’s also important to have access to and understand how to use the back end of your website so that you can instantly correct any errors that do creep in.
Bespoke content creation
The copywriters at the Ideal Marketing Company work across a wide range of clients to deliver website content in the unique style that each business needs. To find out more about how we can help you with website content or any other aspect of your marketing needs, call us on 01858 44 55 43 or email [email protected]
Louise is an experienced and versatile copywriter and content marketer whose passion is bringing any subject to life through the written word. She also thrives on using her imaginative approach to identify and implement exciting PR opportunities for clients. A career spent coming up with creative ideas and content to tight deadlines in consumer magazine journalism, PR and copywriting means Louise doesn’t know the meaning of the term ‘writer’s block!’