Do you know the story behind the HMV brand of Nipper, the loyal dog recognising his deceased master’s voice through a gramophone? (If you’re too young to know or too old to remember, HMV stands for His Master’s Voice.) This true account shows that, regardless of the words the Master had recorded, it was the voice that Nipper loved and responded to. Website content writers have a lot to learn from this heartwarming story.
Voice is distinct and sometimes contradicts the words we say.
A visitor to your site hears your voice through the layout, the words and the graphics, through what you include, what you leave out and what you prioritise. The voice they hear may not be the one you think you’re projecting. Website visitors will judge in an instant whether you are speaking to them. If so, they’ll stay and scan the headlines. They’ll look at the pictures and may read a paragraph or two.
Is it really all about you?
A well-written and well-designed site does one amazing thing above all else: it tells the world about your business offerings while making visitors feel like it’s all about them. Often sites proclaim, ‘It’s all about you’ when actually it’s all about the business. Site visitors can pick that in an instant. A website needs to be informative or else they seem slick and untrustworthy. Yet they have to translate your key messages into your visitor’s language.
Can they hear your ‘call to act’?
CTA is a commonly used term that reflects what you want your site visitor to DO. The first thing you want them to do is to stay and have a good look around. If they find what they’re after (or something they didn’t even know they wanted) they will stay longer and look at different pages. At some point they will act. Action may mean signing up, referring, downloading, picking up the phone or buying immediately. It may just mean coming back to the site later. If it’s all too hard, most will just give up in the first couple of minutes.
All website visitors come with at least one main question: “Am I in the right place?”
Do you know where your site visitors are coming from? (If you don’t, talk to us.) Some will come via Internet searches or perhaps by accident. They need to know they are in the right place. Some will already know you or your reputation, so they need to know you will make their experience even better. You have likely identified your ideal audience and how you want them to respond. But do you know the questions they have when they come to your site? They may not be the questions you’d like them to ask. In any case, your trustworthy voice can assure them that you have real answers. You may even be able to help them refine their questions.
So what should you do with your website’s voice?
Listening to your own voice on a recording is very uncomfortable, at least until you get used to it. Why? Because there is a difference between the way we sound to ourselves and the way we sound to others. Online communication is exactly the same. That’s why you need to ask someone else to evaluate your website’s voice. You can’t always hear what others hear and you could be losing customers as a result.