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What Is It That You Do, Exactly?

fog-spaceneedleA while back we talked about the importance of having a clear call to action on the home page of your Web site. This is often a big button or a short form, encouraging users to sign up or contact you or whatnot.

What’s also very important is to be very clear about what your company provides. We’ve seen, numerous times, client sites where the home page is vague and even confusing. The result is like trying to make out distant shapes through thick fog.

Consider the following:

At ABC Gizmos, we provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. Our unique, patented technology allows you, your family, or your business to increase productivity while decreasing costs. We’ve refined our products over the last seven years to bring you the very best.

Your first reaction visiting this site might be, “Huh?”

If you bother taking the time to think about it further, you might think, “So, you guys make gizmos – right? For… individuals? Families? Companies? And these things do… something… that’s apparently really good.”

Assuming you haven’t already reached this point, your next thought is probably:
I think I’ll look somewhere else.

That’s the last thing the site owners want you to think, but that’s exactly what they achieved.

Where It Went Wrong

Let’s dissect this text and see, point by point, what it did wrong. At every turn, the visitor is left with more questions than answers.

1. Non-specific language

What in the world does “solutions to some of the biggest challenges” mean? There’s no explicit pain point mentioned.

2. Poorly defined target market

The copy mentions “you, your family, or your business” – these are three very different personas, with very different needs. It’s doubtful that ABC Gizmos really has a product that would benefit all three of these. Even assuming that they do, they’re not marketing it very well. The first thing they say is “businesses,” so presumably they are a B2B company. But then they muddy the waters with their talk about individuals and families as well.

3. Vague promises

Increase productivity while decreasing costs.” Wow. That’s great. How does your product do that? What problems are you solving? What processes see better productivity? What costs decrease?

4. Talking about yourself too much

We’ve refined our products over the last seven years.” To be honest, no one cares how long you’ve spent building your product. The brutal reality is, it’s not about you – it’s about the customer and what benefit they’ll get from your product/service. The question here, of course, is: What’s in it for me?

All of these things add up to confusion for the site visitor, but also for the search engines. No one is likely to find this site, based on the copy we just looked at.

So now we’ve analyzed a poorly written marketing proposition. Next week we’ll examine copy for the same site that will energize visitors and lead to a much better conversion rate.