Have you ever found yourself talking to a sales professional and everything they say goes way over your head? I was recently talking with representative from a national insurance company about unemployment insurance. The way the sales rep talked he must have thought I knew everything there was to know about unemployment insurance. The information that many businesses have on their website suffers from the same problem: the content is simply written for the wrong audience.

On a scale of 1 – 10, most businesses owners and sales professionals know their particular business or industry at 10 (or 11 or 12). The consumers, however, only have a knowledge level of a 1 or maybe a 2. When meeting someone in person, if the vocabulary you are using is way over their head, you can at least see the glazed look in their eyes, and hopefully realize that you’ve said something that the person you’re speaking to does not understand. In person, we can catch that and rephrase, allowing us a greater chance to complete a sale. On a website, we don’t get a chance to gauge the reader’s reaction and determine if they are confused. They can very easily hit the back button and we’ll never get the chance to serve them.

To prevent this potential pitfall, it is very important to (I hate to say it) “dumb the content down a little” on your website – meaning, write for the average reader, not the expert. When we write about our business or industry, it’s our nature to write at our knowledge level – a level of 10 or higher. We need to present our knowledge in layman’s terms and limit the acronyms used so that the average reader understands us clearly.

Your competitors may look at the content on your site and think that you don’t know too much about the industry. However, your competitors aren’t the ones that are going to be making purchases from you – your customers are. Write your content for your customers and their knowledge level.

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