With even the most limited of budgets a company can get themselves a presence on the internet, allowing their message and brand to permeate into the eyeballs of potential customers globally. This is a huge opportunity to reach out to the world and champion your products or services to people who may otherwise never have heard of you. Planting a solitary flag into the moist soil of an undiscovered country could have been a fitting analogy ten or twelve years ago, but today the internet is like taking a seat in a massive sports stadium and expecting your voice to be heard above the clamouring masses.
If I take this analogy to the next step, let’s imagine that for a few minutes you are given the undivided attention of everyone else in the stadium – a sixty second chance to let everyone else know why what you do is better then anyone who does something similar.
I can’t (and won’t) claim to be a copywriting expert, but I want to compare and contrast two websites. I’ve stumbled across these companies over the last week or so and there’s a sharp difference in how they present themselves. While they may be in different markets or targetting different business segments, they were both given the sixty second chance to attract my attention. One succeeded nicely, and one failed so miserably that I felt compelled to write this article. Without naming names, here is a snippet of text from the main page of both. Compare the robotic drone of this buzzword spaghetti:
We enable you to leverage your existing customer, content and service assets to massively increase online adoption and monetisation, by leveraging the widespread adoption of widgets and Web 2.0.
To this simple, friendly, understandable text that I have copied verbatim:
$COMPANYNAME gathers all your valuable digital stuff — photos, documents, email, music, videos — from all your PCs and laptops. It backs up everything, securely stores it, and organises it all so you can find or share your files from anywhere.
If I try to translate the first quote I’m perhaps going to conclude that the company has something to do with widgets and want to leverage… something. Maybe they make levers? There are some guidelines that suggest that for maximum effect you should aim your web copy at an audience of 12 year olds, but while I have no intention of conforming to this, clarity is always important.
Marketing buzzwords exclude your audience, add very little in the way of value, and impress nobody but yourself. Clearly these two example companies compete in different markets (Business-to-business vs business-to-consumer), but the difference in both clarity and the general impression of basic competence from the front pages of their website is remarkable.
(The astute reader will note that company B is putplace.com. I’m not affiliated to them in any way. They seem to have a nice product.)