October 25th, 2016
The surprising link between websites & cake: How to match your visitor’s inner dialogue
We all know cake is frosted happiness
Imagine you were heading home from work when you spotted a new bakery. You remembered your friend’s birthday is next week, and all that sugary goodness in the window is making your mouth water.
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Do you need me to say why this is glorious?
So you wander in, happily inhaling that bakery aroma and smile at the owner.
Immediately, she starts telling you why you should want cake and all the reasons you’re missing out by not eating any.
I’m guessing your reaction would a confused ‘well….duh….’
After all, you’ve known since childhood that cake is an embodiment of joy and happiness in culinary form! You don’t need a stranger to tell you that. Maybe you stay for a closer look despite this, but you’ve already got a weird vibe from the store.
Now, compare that to if she’d managed to match what’s on your mind. She could have opened with ‘Hey, do you want to know about our unique approach to baking birthday cakes?’ and told you all about her grandma’s sponge recipe with some pictures of past custom cake designs.
Suddenly you’d be nodding along whilst hanging on her every word, right?
Are you sure your conversation is starting at the right point?
Now, it’s pretty obvious to see the mismatch in an extreme example like the one above. The salesperson completely misjudged where the customer was in their decision making and instead of answering ‘Why should I choose your cakes specifically?’ spoke about ‘Do you want to buy a cake?’
But, it’s not just about cake.
This mismatch is one of the most common issues I see on websites for all types of business. Too often the site doesn’t address where a visitor is likely to be in their decision making, so it gives them irrelevant information.
Why is their site even telling me this?
At best, the visitor will patiently wade through the irrelevant information to find what they’re after, but more likely they’ll shoot a confused stare at the monitor and close the tab.
For instance, take the many web developers who start by discussing why you should want a new website. If the visitor is actually trying to discover why she should hire them over their competitors, then the developers have completely missed the mark.
The easy method; what do they ask in person?
If you ever talk to potential customers in person, you’ve got a distinct advantage here.
Think back to the last time you had one of these conversations. Can you list out the key things they wanted to know? This could be about what they’re trying to solve, the decision they’re trying to make, or the information they’re after.
‘My customers all want to create a happier company culture, but they just aren’t certain how to do so…’
I recently talked this through with my client for her site, and, to my joy, she came out with an ideal statement. She said “My customers all want to create a happier company culture, but they just aren’t certain how to do so.” Suddenly, we knew where the starting point should be for her copy.
Now your challenge is to do the same. Go ahead and think through what potential customers ask you about, including the level of detail they refer to. Write down every thought and see whether one jumps out at you as what they’re most likely to say.
The detailed method; where are they in their decision making?
The above is fine, but you can plan it out more thoroughly to be certain you’ve got it right. To do this, we’re going to draw on an idea called ‘states of awareness’.
This is a term coined by Eugene Schwartz to describe the phases that a customer goes through, as a prospective buyer. Moving closer to the sale, these roughly go:
- Completely unaware: Not even realising they are experiencing something that can count as a problem.
- Problem aware: Knowing something is an issue but not knowing it’s possible to fix.
- Solution aware: Knowing that it doesn’t have to be this way, but not certain how to get to that stage.
- Product aware: They’re aware of various options, but not which way is best for them.
- Most aware: They only want to know the details of which of your options is best for them.
Your challenge is to think through how each of these stages relates to one of your prospects. Imagine how they worked their way through each stage, at what point they met you, and how you guided them through to most aware into sealing the deal.
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Clearly she’s ‘product aware’
For example, a business owner might start off at ‘completely unaware’, until she discovers that a growing amount of her visitors are checking her site out on their phone but are leaving because it’s not mobile-friendly. So, she becomes ‘problem aware’.
At this point, she might turn to Google where she learns a bit about responsive websites, and in doing so becomes ‘solution aware’. Finally, she might start looking for developers to help her put this solution into practice, meaning she’ll visit their sites as she’s moving into ‘product aware’.
To best help her, the developer can envisage her key question at this state of awareness. It would be something like ‘What makes you the best option for developing a responsive website?’ so now their site can be fine tuned to answer this. Hopefully, she will then want to know about their packages, moving through ‘most aware’ and onto signing up as a client.
Can you think of your prospect’s equivalent journey? Go ahead and map it out including the exact questions you think they’d ask at each stage.
Now to make your website read their mind…
With this insight, you can fine-tune your site for maximum effect. After all, you’ve got a clear idea of what information they’ll be after, so rewrite your copy and adjust the images to communicate it!
This level of precision might seem scary. Perhaps our baker is making a website, but is worried that there’ll be some visitors who’ve yet to realise that actually their life is lacking in macaroons. She probably feels that her new website needs to cover why macaroons are great within the core pages.
I’d say that if they weren’t at the relevant state of awareness, they wouldn’t be clicking onto your site anyway. Instead, she can use blog posts to bring people through the relevant stages of awareness* to the point where her site is now relevant to these minority cases.
*for a meta example, think how this post has affected your awareness about states of awareness…
Sounds good…but what next?
Hopefully, you’ve now got a feel for your visitor’s mindset and what information they’re after.
Think through how these conversations play out in person and what you’d be likely to say. Then go mad and write these things on your site!
Of course, this is only ensuring that your opening remarks are on the nose.
To ensure your site flows from there, you can download my mini guide to conversational copy which will help you plot out how to continue this natural dialogue.