Personalization is something companies like Amazon, Sephora, and Nike have trained us to expect. It’s no longer enough to be customer-centric. We want experiences— a positive customer experience. That goes beyond personalization.
In this time of massive upheaval and uncertainty, we’re looking for easy. Things that simplify our lives. People want easier, healthier, safer, more rewarding, and help us get things done.
While we’re happy with our experiences in some areas, we continue to feel neglected and frustrated in others.
Follow the trend that’s working
We don’t need to reinvent or recreate the wheel in our marketing. Just look at what’s already earning companies like Amazon and Sophora millions.
These companies and many more are investing and involving more AI and analytic data to improve the customer experience. Amazon has been a leader in this.
When you look for something, Amazon includes what other people who searched for the same item also considered. They show you what people who bought this item also purchased. Subtle, helpful, and boosting the value of your order with add-ons.
Sephora hasn’t become the worlds leading specialty beauty retailer by accident. They started incorporating AI in the early 2000s. Using various tech tools, they personalize everything from their choices for you to their 1:1 loyalty rewards.
The long-term goal for Sephora is to continue to enhance the virtual and in-store customer experiences. Not only will they help you shop virtually, but you can also try the makeup on virtually.
Nike has innovated, so you can now design your own sneaker. They have a 3D platform that allows you to create a sneaker that fits perfectly and matches your unique style. Fans love the option.
They also love the experience in the personalized NikePlus loyalty program. Fans get personalized benefits, product recommendations, and the ability to check and see if their favorite styles, colors, and sizes are available.
The clock is ticking.
Customers used to make buying decisions based on loyalty or price. Those things are changing. More and more make those decisions based on the experience you offer them.
In a recent survey by SuperOffice, they asked 1920 business professionals what their number one business priority is for the next five years. By a distinct margin over product or product, customer experience came in at 45.9%.
Thought leaders say businesses who have unsatisfactory experiences are headed for trouble. They will start to see their client base erode if they don’t make the technical changes to improve it.
What you need to keep in mind
The level of stress doesn’t look to be dropping anytime soon. Stressed shoppers are less friction tolerant. If your buying experience is complicated, if your customer support is lackluster—you have challenges to solve.
More than ever before, buyers don’t want transactions that are company sales-centric. It makes them feel like you’re just after their money.
Now I know you need their purchases to run your business, but the experience shouldn’t feel that way. Feelings are pure emotion. You want to keep those feelings positive if you want to earn their trust, purchases, and loyalty.
Three ways to enhance customer experience
Companies with the most significant growth and success embrace the customer experience from the top down. Everyone on the team needs to understand and have the power to improve it. For some businesses, it may be outside-the-box thinking. It may involve more work and initial expense. But if you look at the potential future revenues, it’s well worth the effort.
Think from the customer point of view
Start by thinking from the customer’s point of view. Sometimes we are so close to the process that we can’t see the problems an outsider sees.
Ask your customers, “what could we do better?” “How could we make shopping easier?” In essence, how can you help them?
If you have a customer service team, ask them. The marketing and management teams need to know what customer service is hearing. What the customers need and want that they aren’t getting.
Customers’ questions and their problems provide the answers to improving your sales.
Enhance customer service
Lousy customer service is a pet peeve of mine when I’m shopping online or in-person. I understand company limitations but I also handle customer service for one of my clients. I get the challenges, but I know the value. I’ve gotten those evening and weekend calls where I’ve rescued a customer and solved their issue.
We recently went to Best Buy to find a laptop. The store was busy. The staff was few and far between. We found something suitable, but without the ability to get questions answered, they lost the sale.
When we checked out, we mentioned the lack of staff to our checker. His reply, Best Buy just let another 500 people go. Team members are going to be in short supply for the foreseeable future. In the end, Best Buy will lose its status as a provider of excellent customer care, and they will lose money.
Both brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses need to step up their customer service. With all the options out there, companies need to find a way to expand the routes and time frame where people can get help.
Look for ways to provide support beyond a few business hours. Many times companies on the east and west coast ignore the three-hour time difference. So if I’m on the west coast, I’d better not need anything after 2 PM local time.
Expand your FAQ. Add an AI help option. Outsource or give someone a part-time job, so you are more accessible. Make sure your website is easily searchable so I can find what I need. If your competition is more available, it will cost you money.
Analytics and AI
The most successful businesses are making use of technology to track shopping patterns and offer recommendations. Per 2020 research by Gartner, we conduct about 85% of all purchases without assistance.
That means there is a significant 15% opportunity to increase revenues by helping shoppers solve those issues.
Companies have many new ways to allow their customer support team to automate repetitive or straightforward tasks using artificial intelligence. Automation enables them to reduce costs and empower shoppers to solve their issues. Learn about your options and employ them.
It is essential to do this in a transparent way to maintain trust and credibility.
Chatbots or voice-enabled chatbots are a top choice for businesses. Their effectiveness ties directly to the quality and comprehensiveness of the dialogue provided to the bot.
My final tip is to make sure your system works on all channels across all types of devices. More and more people are switching back and forth from phones to tablets to laptops and computers. Your system needs to deliver in all.
Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.
Vaccines and stimulus checks have people thinking of moving toward what we used to think of as normal. Vaccinated seniors are setting the trend to get even with the pandemic by spending money and getting out. They call it revenge spending.
Attending events, going shopping, and travel are rising to the top of consciousness. People want liberation.
Revenge spending will typify 2021
Last week an article came across my desk about “revenge shopping” as a rebound from the pandemic. At first, I laughed, then realized I had participated.
It turns out that in China, one of the first places to reopen their malls, sales spiked through the roof. Not only were they buying basics, but they also went for luxury items like Louis Vuitton bags.
After the January stimulus checks started going out, department store sales increased 21% in the US.
Tired of wearing sweatpants, chasing kids, and working from home, women want to go out. They want to dress up and wear something new. Even the trip into a store is starting to sound exciting.
Depending on location, online shopping is still the norm. I ordered something last week and actually went into the store to pick the item up and try it on. It was just the sales staff and me, which felt a little odd. Changing room signs proclaimed: Freshly Sanitized. It felt so decadent and liberating even with social distancing and wearing masks.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Bloomberg reports that during 2020 many people saved money. No trips, events, or outings. Lots less discretionary purchases. They estimate there is $1.7 trillion waiting to be spent.
It’s time for businesses to get on board in the right ways for the coming surge.
Consumers are ready for revenge.
I dove through every report I could find on this topic, and there are many reports and articles out there. It won’t happen all at once, and the timing will be different based on location. But based on conversations with clients, colleagues, and friends, people are ready for change.
Businesses in the hardest-hit sectors, like restaurants, hospitality, and apparel, are ready too. It was a very long, tough 2020.
I also researched how our buying patterns have changed and what we expect from businesses moving forward. There are some shifts that effective marketers are already implementing, and it can help your business too.
One thing to keep in mind
Consumers are tired of the sea of useless information. Regardless of where your content is, it must have value if you want to keep their attention. Value equals helpful information.
I replied to an email a company sent me complimenting them on its content. It provided useful information on an alternative way to deal with seasonal allergies. Something they don’t even sell! Unheard of— but very refreshing.
Today’s buyer is looking for authenticity and value. We also are craving connection. For most of us, it’s been too long since we’ve visited with family and friends. Without social media and virtual visiting, the year would have been much worse.
Ramp up sales with these three techniques
To maximize sales, we need to engage and connect with customers where they are looking for information. That means now, and we need to make sure and have the right presence the right way on social media.
We need to have conversations with prospects. We need to respect what they are looking for, including the increased focus on social consciousness.
Dependence on social media grew in 2020, and we started using it in new ways. Pre-pandemic social focused on status updates—things like sharing selfies, where we’d been, and what we’d done.
Today that’s shifted to social being a key place to find solutions. Have a question? Someone has an answer, just post it. Need a solution? Social is where we go.
We want those solutions to reflect our increased need and desire for value and wellbeing. Users need simple ways to cope and manage stress, working from home, parenting issues, or managing a flex work schedule. They want to know how to take a vacation in the COVID environment.
If you or your product is a solution, you need to be on social media and help them find you. That means more than having a Facebook business page with periodic product posts. It means having conversations. It even has a new title…
When we were forced to shift to online buying, we lost something. We lost connection with people, and we lost the ability to ask questions or get advice. When you go into a store, there is usually someone you can ask. Online? Not so much.
Conversation Commerce, also called C-Commerce, (CC), is working to fill that need. It’s considered any way you connect with your buyers using conversation.
Your CC could be an AI-driven chatbot, a person you can chat with online or via phone, or another messaging program like WhatsApp. Even Alexa is included because of the way you use words to tell her what to do.
The process puts the customer in control. They reach out and initiate the conversation. They hope you will guide them to the right purchase. If no one is there or doesn’t respond promptly to messages, they’ll look elsewhere.
As the quality of these interfaces increase, the process will become even more valuable. If you’re stuck with a poor-quality chatbot, replace it or go back to a person.
IT Cosmetics uses live chat. Their phone lines and chat lines are open 9-5 Eastern, six days a week. If you’re on the opposite side of the country, it’s not a perfect answer, but it’s better than a chatbot that has limited capabilities.
If your chatbot can only respond to specifically limited choices, the shopper is left stuck and frustrated. It feels like going into a department store with no salespeople. If you can’t get the help you need, you leave with a negative feeling.
Globally, 84% of people surveyed said customer support is equally essential to what is sold. That makes it critical to get conversations going and help your shoppers.
Revenge shopping will embrace social consciousness
2020 brought lots of changes, including the trend for social consciousness. From mental health to equality, social justice, caring for the planet, and inclusivity, it’s all part of the package. Awareness is accelerating even more in 2021.
Social consciousness isn’t something a business can afford to ignore. It’s not going to go away, and it’s part of the new normal. Hiding your values isn’t a path to success.
Sharing your position is also a way to connect more emotionally with buyers. When you develop and share a mission-driven campaign to help people or the planet, you build connections. They become your avid fan because your message resonates with them.
Getting prepared with social media, enhancing conversational commerce, and embracing social consciousness will position you to tap into the coming spend.
Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com
Many companies are marketing both to wholesale and consumer customers. In reality, for marketing, B2B and B2C are unique businesses. Trying to mix them on a single website can send the wrong message and cost you money.
You can do anything if you keep it simple.
Someone told me that once at a trade show. That fellow was right. For years, I had a beauty boutique that had so many divisions it was a marketing nightmare.
I started with skincare—esthetics. The boutique I was renting space in was struggling, and I was thriving. I offered to Help. I could pick up a couple of lines of women’s tops if she wanted her choices augmented. She did. I did, and I did well. Too well.
Out of what must have been jealousy, she told me to move out.
The only space I could find that was in a decent location was bigger than I wanted. So I expanded and brought in hairstylists, manicurists, more cosmetics, and more retail.
It was fun for a while, but each division felt I wasn’t marketing them enough. We’re talking pre-internet. The options were all expensive—television, print, radio. I was working to pay the overhead of having them.
After considering possibilities, I offered classes. The overhead was low with a high return. First, I provided teen confidence building. Later I taught for the community college.
It meant I was a workaholic, but I did well. When I sold that business, I vowed not to repeat the experience.
I share so others can learn.
With over 30 years as an entrepreneur, I’ve had successes. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes, like the one in that short story. Whenever I can, I try to help other business owners avoid the same mistakes.
Today the markets are much busier and more competitive. However, the internet has leveled the playing field for marketing.
Every business can have a webpage and take advantage of social media. They have the opportunity to thrive…if they do it right.
A B2B and B2C secret to keep in mind.
Don’t confuse the buyer. Create separate platforms for wholesale B2B customers from your B2C consumers.
You’re segmenting your audience by interest. Raw ingredient buyers have different needs and interests than retailers who might want to carry your product.
If you are looking for investors plus selling products, those are very different interests and needs. Segmentation will get the right person the right message.
Segmenting B2B and B2C maximizes marketing ROI.
Keep messages clear. Use one brand name as your overarching site. On this site, you can share your mission, goals, etc.
On the home page, have generous sized side by side graphics clearly labeled with the category name: ingredients, retailers, consumers. Have them clickable to take the viewer to the appropriate sub-website or different websites. You want to create clear, simple messages and access.
B2C site focuses on consumers.
Get customer-centric to create a great positive experience to draw them back again. Eliminate stumbling blocks or friction.
Customers are looking for a product and more. They want the information to see that it solves their problem. They are looking for a company they feel safe with and can trust. Transparency, your guarantee, excellent customer support, and easy navigation all play essential roles.
To maximize your ROI, focus on providing your staff with everything they need to help the customer. Answers to FAQs are super valuable to this team. Empowerment to solve problems is equally so.
Many businesses are trying to run with minimal staff to keep their overhead down. The catch-point comes with reduced customer-care and customer-service. Weak customer support is not something any company can afford.
A fantastic customer experience is essential and a key determiner in whether this will be a one-time sale or a long-term precious loyal buyer.
You could have a tab on the B2C website for resellers.
Resellers need access to the consumer information to help them sell your product. Put a gateway in place. Have resellers fill out a form and get accepted to access wholesale pricing and distribution information.
In their private area, be sure to include the benefits of buying from you. You are dealing with a person who is making a significant financial commitment to take on your brand. It requires faith and trust in you and your company.
Resellers need information that will make them comfortable both buying and selling your product. They need to feel you have their back and are there in case they have questions or concerns.
Investors have their own unique needs and need a completely different sales approach.
As a consumer, if I see you’re looking for investors on my retail site, it sends up a yellow flag. It creates questions about your stability and reliability.
The best solution is to create a separate landing page and market to investors uniquely. Join forums in your niche where businesses and investors hang out and share information and opportunities.
Check out opportunities on sites like startupinvesting.com, askforfunding.com, or angelinvestmentnetwork.us. I did a Google search on how to find an investor. I came up with 408 million hits.
It may seem like a no-brainer to put the opportunity on your website. Carefully consider the message you are sending to other readers.
B2B Raw Materials
Like investors, raw materials need to be segmented. They need a different level of information focused on features and specifications. They also like the benefits of the ingredient as it simplifies their marketing of the finished formula.
While the focus is information, you can’t ignore emotion. You are selling to a human being, and he/she puts their job on the line every time they make a purchase. You will need to sell them on the benefits of buying from you.
Quality assurance, how the product is grown, testing done, handling each step of your process needs to be explained and validated.
In my work with clients
It’s been my experience that with clients with a mix of B2B and B2C customers, content is very much king.
This mix needs well-created content. It should include articles, information, case studies and testimonials, videos, FAQs, and more. Once created, it can be tweaked and customized for each segment’s use.
If you need a quick evaluation of your customer mix and methodology, schedule a call or message me. www.jculpcreativecopy.com
CLV is a Customer’s Lifetime Value. It’s how much they make you in the time that they stay a customer. Focusing on CLV means you keep them longer and have a higher ROI.
Many business platforms are set up to allow an automated response for a purchase. To maximize the buying experience for the customer, this should be the beginning of a nurturing conversation…not the end. It’s a perfect opportunity to start building a relationship that will lead to more sales and a loyal long-term customer.
A series of emails?
I was recently working with a business manager who hated getting emails. He was the techie type and a very straight-forward type of buyer.
“I get tons of emails every day. Just send me the receipt and let me get on with work. I hate getting a series of emails,” he told me.
“I have a question for you. Who are you selling to?”
“You know that,” he grumbled and sighed. “Mostly women salon owners looking for supplies.”
“It’s been my experience women buy differently from men. We know they think differently.”
He laughed. “That’s an understatement.”
“How quickly do they tend to go through their supplies?”
He paused, thinking about the answer. “Some customers buy almost monthly, others it might be three to six months.”
“Okay, why don’t we do a split test and see whether a single email or a series results in more orders or sales over the next six months?”
He nodded. Analytics made sense to him.
We targeted new customers. When we reviewed the analytics six months later, he was surprised at the higher level of sales from the group that received the series of emails. It is always easier to keep a customer than find a new one.
What I’ve learned about CLV…
It’s been my experience that caring for customers pays off with a much higher and longer-term customer lifetime value. I saw it in my clinical service practice. In consulting and coaching clients on products and services they could benefit from. The experience has been repeated in over 20 years of e-commerce. They aren’t just a list of customers…they’re an online family.
As a business owner who had to deal with purchasing from the other side of the table, those same qualities impacted my decisions. My buying and customer support experiences had me leaving or staying with suppliers for years.
People like easy. When we find a business that we like, trust, and feel they respect us, we stay with them. Every positive experience with that business reinforces those feelings.
One secret to enhancing CLV success.
To maximize your results you will need to split your audience. First-time buyers need more nurturing. Repeat buyers like to hear from you but need a different type of nurturing and information.
Give each segment its own thankyou sequence.
Convert new buyers to loyal customers to increase CLV
The initial buying experience sets the tone with new customers. They are hungry for information. Since most businesses don’t do a sequence…just a receipt, you set your business apart. You give more value. Give it without expectations, (they can sense the difference) and it’s cash in the bank. Keep each email SHORT! You know they, like you, have full inboxes. Keep your emails brief and useful.
Thank you email
The receipt email should be warm, friendly, and personalized. Thank them for their order and share key information. New buyers all have similar questions. How quickly will it ship? When can I expect delivery?
Include links to articles or blogs on your website to bring them back again. You don’t want them to forget where they purchased.
Suggest they white list you so they make sure not to miss the free bonus guide and additional information you’ll be sending.
Free bonus guide
Some businesses start throwing discounts to buyers. At this point, they would rather have information. Share a free bonus guide or graphic. Answer questions they may not have thought of yet. Maybe use your FAQ sheet and share them as bullet points.
If your product or service is complex, you may have a lot of questions that people ask, split the information into a couple of emails.
This email can go out one or two days following the thank you email
Maximize your results
Everyone likes to get the most out of a purchase. If there are tricks to having a maximum benefit, share them.
If your product has a “how to use” protocol, it’s great to get this into the hands of the customer on or before the arrival of their order. This maintains the excitement and lets them know you are really trying to help them.
This email can also help them have realistic expectations with and for the product. Weight management doesn’t happen overnight. Supplements take time to have their impact.
In 2020, with major ordering online, I realized a lot of vendors don’t include much information or an adequate instruction manual. You end up having to go back online and Google how to use it. That’s a pretty mediocre buyer’s experience.
Give them the information they need and more. Over-deliver value.
Once their package has arrived, it’s valuable to followup with the buyer. Ask if they have any questions. Let them know how to reach you to get those questions answered. A rapid response email or phone number where there is a live person, please. You’re trying to bond with them…not drive them away.
Some businesses like to combine this with the follow-up. Give them a week or so to use the product before letting them know you’d love to hear their experience.
Other customers may make their buying decision on these testimonials. It’s more helpful if the buyer has actually used the item.
Make it easy for them by providing a link where they can post. Let them know you appreciate their time doing so. Perhaps a bonus of a small discount or free shipping on their next order by a specific date.
It’s time to ramp up your CLV
Heightened Customer Lifetime Value makes a huge difference in the bottom line of your profit and loss. It’s a marketing game-changer. Once done, the sequence can work for you for months or years. That’s a high return on the investment. If you’re just sending an automated receipt, you’re leaving money on the table, and customers who don’t know if you care about them. www.jculpcreativecopy.com . Let’s problem-solve.
To maximize your business success in 2021, you need to look at how you connect with your prospects and customers. Think of them as family, treat them as the best possible version of a family. It’s about building relationships first.
I recently had an experience on a social media channel that you might have had yourself.
Pitch forward marketing
Someone reached out to me to connect. It was a woman whose interests were in my niche. Her message said, “I think I have something you might be interested in.” How could she know that? She didn’t know me.
Being someone who is generally friendly and open to networking, I accepted her invitation. My acceptance triggered another message from her that was a pure pitch. And it was the type of offer that I always steer clear of. A business opportunity that doesn’t resonate with me.
In her response, she asked, “are you familiar with XYZ? They are the company I work with”
I responded, “Yes, I’m familiar with them. I’ve had numerous people try to get me to participate in this. Not interested. Thank you.”
She didn’t try to get to know me nor build a relationship. If she had, she might have picked up this isn’t my direction. She took afront at my lack of interest. She lost the opportunity for a relationship. While it isn’t something I would do, she will never learn if I know someone who might be interested.
I’ve practiced relationship selling for years
I’ve always practiced treating people with respect and TLC. This is essential to earn their trust and long term business. I’ve practiced this for over 25 years.
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a virtual summit where some of the greatest minds in marketing shared their best thoughts for 2021. Marketing giants you might recognize. Bob Bly, Brian Kurtz, Kevin Thompson, Eric Partaker, and more.
Each had their own version of the “One Thing” to keep in mind for 2021. Yet, they were unanimous in their conviction on the importance of relationships as we move forward.
Relationship versus transactional selling
We shouldn’t ignore…relationships are opposite of transactions.
Transactions are all about the short term sale. Relationship selling is about connecting, engaging, and focusing on helping the buyer find what they want and need. The differences are huge.
Think traditional used car salesmen, versus an automotive consultant. Used car salesman were pushy. The don’t listen, they sell. Get the deal no matter what. It got them a terrible reputation.
Our automotive consultant doesn’t show the prospect anything until they have listened to the customer. They actively listen and then help the prospect find what they are looking for.
If we have a great buying experience, we are far more apt to return to that business the next time we have a need. We look forward to hearing from them because they “took care of us.” they didn’t try to rip us off and sell us what we didn’t want or need. Customer-focused.
3 Techniques for relationship marketing
Once you have embraced prospects as an online family, you’ll engage with them differently. They aren’t just names or emails, they are people you want to help. For the best success, you need to be very clear on your purpose and your goals. From there you need to give, be open and sincere, and see every touchpoint as a relationship event.
Focus on how you can help/serve others. Give abundantly. Information, inspiration, and value. People respond when we give our best. Focus on connecting with people who want what you are offering and give them your best.
Peloton has this down perfectly. Peleton offers high-end fitness gear. Their focus? Athletes committed to fitness. They know exactly what their customer wants. Peleton makes sure they provide it. They focus on reaching their target market. Targeted quality versus quantity in marketing responses. They only want the very committed in their inner circle.
This is an expensive brand with a high entry bar. This means members are more committed. The more we have to pay to access what we want, the more committed and engaged we become. The more we will connect and use the “value” the business has provided.
Their customers are more successful in reaching their goals and more apt to stay with them long term. They have a much higher lifetime customer value.
Be real, open, and sincere to build relationships
If you aren’t real, open, and sincere with your audience, they will know it. In today’s world, people look for businesses that are supportive and transparent. They don’t try to hide things by withholding or dodging issues.
Customer service quality is paramount in the mind of today’s customers. Let them know how to contact you and when they can expect a response.
2021 will have continued unique challenges. We have to be nimble and quickly adjust to rapidly evolving situations. Being open and honest with your audience will keep them with you as you have to make changes.
As a consumer, I don’t mind that your business had to change my packaging due to shortages. Please, just let me know. If the regional weather or other issues are impacting shipping and delivery, let your customers know. Customers like to be in the loop.
Social and environmental positions are also something that most customers respond to. They want to know how you’re helping others and helping the planet. If you haven’t added them, share them via social channels and on your website.
See touchpoints as relationship events
Every time you reach out or connect with your audience, it’s important to think of it as a relationship event. Don’t think list building, think relationship building. Don’t think transactions, think connectivity and engagement.
Relationships encourage a two-way conversation. Invite them to respond and interact with you.
Be aware of what competitors are putting out there. Look for a way to present your message a little differently to increase engagement. Keep in mind that members are much more engaged than a general audience. The easier the access, the lower the level of active engagement.
Businesses that make relationships their focus have the most loyal clients and fan base to help share their message. Their ROI and lifetime customer value will be higher than any transactional approach can achieve.
When I work with clients
I start with a review of what they publish on their website and social channels. I look for the level of relationship building. Then help them see opportunities to increase value to customers. This always converts to an enhanced lifetime customer value.
Readable copy is a big key to sales! People today don’t want to wade through information that reads like a dull textbook. Most of us skim-read, instead of word for word. We are such multitaskers and so many choices that we aren’t patient with reading.
Recently, I received an email promoting a new product from a spa supplier. I knew the product was a performer, but the description was hard to read. So, I copy/pasted it into an analyzer. The readability was at the post-college level.
This prompted me to go online and look at descriptions of the same type of product marketed by department store brands. Their descriptions were much easier to read and focused on what their customers wanted to know. What it would do for them.
Readability sells and lack of it loses sales.
Readability refers to how easy a sentence is to read and understand. There are several formulas, that’s another article. The important thing to remember is to keep it simple. The harder it is to read, the quicker your reader may hit the delete key or leave your website.
Originally, it was used to evaluate training materials. Today it is used by smart marketers.
In today’s world, we are bombarded by electronic marketing. Junk mail, emails, newsletters. We go online; lots more marketing. Sensory overload. We are in a hurry. We want what we are looking for quick and easy. Your potential customers want the same thing.
Every written piece put out there needs to be easy to read. Website pages, emails, newsletters all need to be visitor friendly and quick to read.
Get their attention fast…
In 2014, Hubspot Marketing reported that you have less than 15 seconds to engage your reader. A surprising 55% of them will click off your page in that period.
If the reader is on a page that doesn’t answer their question or meet a need – they are going to be gone. They are in the wrong place.
However, if they are looking for what you have, we need to help them stick around and find it. We need to make sure our message is clear, simple, and easy to skim read.
Think about opening your email box first thing in the morning. There are probably at least 50 new emails waiting. Most of us, scan for the obvious ones to delete. Check, check, check, delete – done. Then you start with the rest.
3 Tips for more readability
You don’t actually read most emails completely. You quickly skim them to see if you’re interested. If they are hard to read, it bogs you down. The more you have to “work” to read information, the more apt you are to think, just stuff it, and hit delete.
Ever been caught in a loop and realize you’ve been rereading the same sentence over and over? Simple words, short sentences, and white space make a huge difference. The combination of words plus sentences is the basis for how easy something is to read.
Once you have your first draft complete, read through checking word choices. The more syllables a word has, the harder it is to read. It mentally takes more energy.
“Harder” is easier to read than “more difficult” or “more challenging”. It has fewer syllables and doesn’t require a support word.
Choosing a shorter word won’t make it sound like you have a limited vocabulary or it was written by a grade-schooler. It’s only about that mental energy use.
Sometimes you can’t avoid complex words. Technical materials or say medical topics need their specific words.
The longer and more complicated a sentence, the harder it is to read. Look for ways to break them into shorter sentences.
A good tell is to read the segment out loud. If you have trouble speaking it, people will have trouble reading it. Run out of breath in the middle of a sentence…shorten it.
There are lots of readability analyzers out there. This is good because most document creators don’t include it.
Grammarly uses a straight Flesch score system that the lower the number the harder it is to read. You’ll need a paid version to get the function.
Hemingway uses the Flesch-Kincade US grade scoring system so the higher the number the harder it is to read. A 14 would be post-graduate. Seven would be 12-13-year-old students. Most of the time, you want to have your text at nine or lower.
The unique part of Hemmingway is when you paste your text into the system, it renders it color-coded.
Yellow text is hard to read. Red text is very hard to read. Green is passive voice and purple is words that may have a simpler option. It’s very quick to see where the problem is and hone in on it.
As you shorten sentences, your red or yellow disappears and your grade score drops. It can also be used as a document creator with marking turned off in the write mode.
I find using one of the many analyzers speeds up the editing process and gets the job done.
If you have a solid page of text it is hard to focus on let alone read. Look for ways to break up long paragraphs. It’s like letting the reader take a breath.
Another good way to evaluate your white space is to look at your document in mobile format. If your document creator doesn’t let you see desktop, laptop, mobile views, a WordPress Post will.
If your reader has to scroll, and scroll, and scroll to get to the end of a paragraph…or a sentence, it’s too long.
Even product descriptions are not immune. Bulleting key benefits are good. However, lumping all of the description into one paragraph takes more mental energy to read. Give the reader a break. Break it into shorter paragraphs to make it more readable.
Word choices, shorter sentences, and white space make reading your offer a breeze and increase the ease of buying.
When I work with clients
Part of my get-acquainted process is to look at the existing content and email funnels. Is it recent, relevant, and readable? Copy plays a big supporting role in buying decisions. If I see readability issues, I show them how much more effective it could be.