Avoid selfishness. It causes problems everywhere, and the e-biz world is no exception. To succeed, you must know your audience, care about them, and go the extra mile to meet them where they’re at.
Maybe you’re brainstorming a new website: “My website is about me, my services, and my products"
Maybe you don’t go around saying that explicitly, but it still might your subconscious attitude. Most of us can identify with the joke, “I’m not much, but I’m all I think about. "
Yes, you should think about your services and products – their benefits and limits. Think about yourself - your own limits as an entrepreneur. And if you want people to buy, think about these things in terms of your prospects.
- Who are they?
- What are they expecting?
- What are they searching for?
- How do they perceive your products, your niche, your approach?
- How might you be confusing or disappointing them?
Our pervasive selfishness, also known as bias, is hard to escape- a big blind spot to see around. The best way to get around it is to survey your prospects, and, if you can, watch their behavior around whatever you sell or do or make.
For example, I’ve been planning to write an ebook about public speaking for six months now, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I knew it was further down my priority list, so I put an offer on my most popular public speaking webpages: “Answer this survey and I’ll send you a free copy of this $25 ebook when it comes out!" – I’ve got about 50 responses already. When it comes time to plan the book’s contents, I’ll already know what’s most interesting to my target market.
Likewise, I did a survey when it was time to title my first alternative medicine book- I brainstormed about 100 of them, chose my 10 favorites, and let my online health readers choose their favorite. The one they preferred was the winner by far. It wasn’t even close. It also was NOT the one I liked. See?
Maybe you’re writing copy: “I'm going to describe my offerings in the language most natural to me. "
Sometimes that works. If they’re looking to grab them with a particular flavor, you might use, for example, folksy language or tech-speak. But that doesn’t always work. What if they don't know your jargon? What if they don't know your favorite words and concepts?
We get so comfortable with the words, phrases, and metaphors from our business and social circles, we forget not everyone knows them. You can keep your jargon if you define it. Otherwise, translate it into everyday language. Even better, find out what the most popular keyword equivalents are, and use those.
Trust me as an experienced writer and public speaker. Too many times, I’ve been surprised to reap confusion where I swear I had sown clarity. I no longer underestimate how much my audience will misunderstand my meaning. The burden of clarity is upon me, not them.
Maybe you’re building a website: “I'm organizing my website around my ideas about my business. "
That may work out just fine, but if when doesn’t, visitors get confused, don’t find what they're looking for, and leave without regret. On a website that’s new to them, there are only so many times they’ll click before they’re gone
What you think about your offerings doesn’t matter if you don't know what your prospects need, what they care about, and what their problems are. . .
- How do your offerings meet their needs and solve their problems?
- What words are in their minds when they come looking for solutions?
- What referral search terms are showing up in your web statistic logs?
- Are you using those terms in your navigation?
Your prospect may have the problem you solve but not be looking for your kind of solution, or they may not call the solution or the problem by the same names you do. Jargon again. Find out what they call it and how they think about it. Find out what they actually search for, and call it that on your website
Make a bridge between your prospects’ minds and your own, and they’ll stream across in droves.
Since 1999, San Diego SEO Consultant Brian B. Carter, MS, has reached more than 2 million readers online. His most popular site ranks in the top 1% of all major websites. His second book, “How I Made $78,024.44 in Six Months Using the Carefully Guarded Secrets of AdSense and Overlooked Keywords" will be available in October, 2005 from Ranking-High-on-Search-Engines.com .