How To Improve Your Branding With Your Content

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Branding experts hit the nail on the head when they say that a winning brand conveys why you are your prospects’ only solution. If you can’t achieve that, you should at least convey why you are your prospects’ best solution. Of course, the same logic applies to your clients. So make a compelling claim about your business, product or service, and back it up.

Are you the biggest or most popular provider of your type of product? Do you provide the widest selection of services? Do you leverage strategic partnerships? Create patented technology? Offer convenient locations? Or are you young and small, able to churn out customized solutions swiftly, unlike your much larger and slower competitors?

Branding
Image credit: Emily Berezin1

Define your strengths and leverage them. Purposefully written Web copy that effectively tells your prospects why they should buy from you or your client can make a world of difference on the sales front. In fact, if done right, it can actually disqualify the competition.

Here’s an example. A client in the medical X-ray field had Web copy that contained vague statements such as, “We’re dedicated to providing you with the highest level of professional service possible.” That’s not a hook. Any business can state that on its website, and most do. Some basic research revealed that the client is the only business in the region that owns and operates the most advanced medical equipment in the industry. As a result, it could provide the most accurate X-rays on the same business day. No competitor in its market could make the same claim.

That simple fact differentiated our client and became a large part of its selling proposition. That’s conveying real value.

You Are What You Write

Through words, we form a personality, set a tone and create expectations – for better or for worse. When communicating in person, you have the luxury of giving and receiving verbal feedback and expressing yourself with body language and facial gestures, all in real time. Your prospects can peer into your eyes to help them decide whether to trust you and accept what you’re telling them.

However, when potential clients visit your website, they don’t have the same opportunity to size you up. Your online visitors can’t look you in the eye, so they look to your messages to help them decide whether to trust your brand, your business and you.

Hence, the words you use on your website should project the personality of your products, services and business. Your Web copy must form and foster a clear verbal identity, reflecting who you are and who you strive to be. It signifies what you stand for and promise to deliver.

Speak your audience's language2
Speak your audience’s language. Your Web writing should put forth a “voice” that resonates with your intended audience. Macinhome3 connects with Mac enthusiasts by featuring Apple-influenced Web copy, including everything from smart, snappy comments to ending headlines with periods.

Consider the following copy from three auto manufacturers’ websites. Mercedes, in the first excerpt, positions itself as the ultimate luxury vehicle:

“Enjoy bold, spirited styling with an air of sleek confidence. A distinctive radiator grille nose hints at the power that lies beneath the hood. The highly characteristic tail, with dual tailpipes will put a look of awe on the faces of all those you leave in the dust. The SLK-Class is the ultimate combination of classic sporty personality and effortless poise and assurance.”

BMW boasts performance:

“Do bear in mind that 0-100 km/h in 5 seconds limits your chances of actually spotting the BMW M Coupe on the road. For that you can thank a 330 hp in-line six engineered to peak at an astounding 7,900 rpm. Raw power is unleashed precisely through a short-throw, 6-speed manual and is kept in-check by massive compound, cross-drilled brakes.”

Volvo tries to make its name synonymous with safety:

“Preventative safety features like Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) help you, the driver, avoid accidents by evading them. And nothing is safer for you than no accident at all. So every Volvo is equipped with a variety of innovative preventative safety features, many of which are, of course, uniquely Volvo, developed by Volvo safety engineers over years of research, design and testing, both in the laboratory and the real world.”

Each individual message builds on its respective brand to create distinctiveness and value, in a bid to engage the targeted audience. And the words that Mercedes, BMW and Volvo choose have a direct impact on each of their bottom lines.

What Does Your Brand Stand For?

Your Web copy needs to define who you are and what you sell and cater to your target market’s specific needs. Moreover, your Web copy requires a distinct and consistent voice that expresses the value of the relationship you’re seeking, accompanied by assurance. Only then can it forge a truly emotional connection with prospective and established customers alike.

Speak your audience's language
Bring a little bit of “you” into your website. While many businesses post employee photos on websites, why not quote employees in your Web content? By doing so, MarketingAnd not only brings a human element into its website, but effectively positions its staff as industry experts.

To build your brand with words, your Web copy needs to take into account:

  • Existing perceptions of your products, services and company,
  • The actual position you occupy now on these fronts.

Recognize the gap between these two points and how they compare to where you want to be. The difference needs to be made up through your communications, from your policies to your product packaging to your Web copy.

Following are some key elements to help you foster a relationship between your brand and your customers:

Word association
What are your core strengths? What do you promise customers? Invest time to determine what you’re good at, thus focusing on your strengths. Your words in turn establish a relationship with customers by laying out your benefits, whether functional, emotional or self-expressive.

Image
Your words can sway consumers into associating certain attributes with your brand. This can shift how they see you in relation to the competitors in your marketplace, potentially even altering who you compete with. Some ingenuity can set you apart from the others to the point that your competition appears bland.

Character
Your Web copy should take into account where you come from, who you are and what you stand for. This is your guiding light. Be authentic. One step beyond your character could tarnish your integrity.

Culture
Your website content should reflect the values that give life to your business. While you don’t need to list your core values, your Web copy should draw on this framework. Ensure that it resonates with the values in and around your business.

Personality
Your Web copy needs to bring to light your business’ human characteristics, including everything from age to class to personality traits. Get creative with delivery. For instance, many businesses post employee photos on their websites. But why not actually quote employees in your Web content? It’s a great way to put a human face to your company and promote your staff as industry experts.

Spirit
Does your Web copy represent the emotional elements and values of your business? Demonstrate authenticity and commitment to creating a spirit that’s not only engaging but contagious.

So how can you differentiate your offerings? What’s different about your approach? Perhaps you can leverage:

  • Selection
  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Credentials
  • Expediency
  • Style
  • Technology
  • Geography
  • Alliances
  • Resources
  • Tools
  • Customer service
  • Or one of many other factors

There’s no value in everyone knowing you if they don’t know what you stand for and what you can do for them. Plus, the more reasons you give people to choose your brand, the less price becomes a factor in their purchasing decision.

Use words that clearly demonstrate how a prospective customer’s world will be made easier, more lucrative, healthier, happier and so on, with you in the picture. This overall message can then be continually reinforced not just on your website, but also in print materials, advertising, trade show presentations, press releases and so on.

Never forget that words, like design, are the foundation of communication. They help us express, understand and learn. They are invaluable to influencing your visitors’ decision-making process and loyalty.

Choose your words wisely. Failing to do so could result in a brand that’s problematic, rather than a means to a solution.

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mleak/163875483/
  2. 2 http://www.macinhome.com/services/index.html
  3. 3 http://www.macinhome.com/services/index.html

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Rick is a Senior Web Copywriter and Content Strategist at Webcopyplus, which helps designers and businesses boost online traffic, leads and sales with optimized Web content. His clients range from independent retailers to some of the world’s largest service providers, including AT&T, Bell Mobile, Tim Hortons and Scotia Bank. He advocates clear, concise and objective website content that promotes readability and usability, and conducts Web content studies with organizations in Europe and the U.S., including Yale University.

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