Web pages, funding bids & proposals UX tip: Copy and paste ‘insurance’ policies never work

Heatmap to show where users have clicked on a website page. Produced by Wordraising copywriting

Good UX (user experience) is about knowing what your reader wants and editing down to deliver that.

When your work place is busy and full of interruptions it’s hard to stay focused on your business communications.

Sometimes you forget what you actually wanted to say in the first place.

So, to compensate for being put off by the interruptions, by all the stopping and starting,  this is what can happen:

You go for putting everything about everything in every proposal, in every bid, in every web page, in every message.

Find, copy and paste. Find, copy and paste.

It’s like a common sense insurance policy – everything is so busy with us and our customers and life in general – we’ll give ’em everything – some of it must stick, they’ll be able to sort it out, surely???

Nope.

Trouble is – copy and paste insurance policies don’t work with website content

(or your annual report or your proposal or your newsletter or your email list …..)

It’s not insurance. The ‘we’ll copy it all, we’ll give ’em everything’  routine, (regardless of the context, regardless of your objective), doesn’t protect your business; it undermines it.

copy and paste

It switches off customers, or clients or supporters or patrons or whoever’s on the other side of your business. That’s because nobody feels really spoken to, nobody feels personally addressed or answered.

What sticks when we have to read everything about everything is the feeling of not being personally spoken to.

When we don’t feel personally addressed our energy level and interest drops off and we drift or bounce away.

Sometimes it’s as brutally straight as ‘if you don’t answer the specific questions that we’re asking you in that particular box then we have to exclude you from the process’.

Don’t show me your warehouse

We’re all busy.

With information, we rarely want more of it. We want the potent bit that talks to me only.

So here’s the tip. You should either:

  • carve out some time to switch your phone off and lock the door when you’re writing, because chucking everything in when you’re distracted is bad strategy
  • OR get some outside help to edit down your business communications for context and impact after you’ve worked out the gist of what you really want to say.

Don’t show me your warehouse ….. I haven’t got the time or energy

… bring the thing I want to the counter.

(please) (or I’ll be less keen to come to the counter next time)

Page Headings for Better User Experience

Visual Taxonomy graphic showing a heading hierarchy for better User Experience (UX) by Wordraising conversion rate optimisation

Important things – the visual hierarchy

Page headings direct your attention.

When you go to a concert, you look at the stage and you focus on the performer. It’s why you go there.

The stage helps you understand very quickly what the important bit of the experience is. Unless you’re odd, it draws your attention away from the fire exits and electrical fittings.

Headings – create your own stage with HTML tags

You can create your own stage for your own audience using HTML tags.

What?

HTML is the language used to create most web pages and a tag is just a snippet of code that tells your browser how to display the text.

The ‘H1’ Heading is the most important and in WordPress will be big. The sizes tail off, big fish to little fish, down to H6.

For well-presented, user-focused web pages we can use the bigger Headings (H1, H2, H3) to help the user quickly see the important bits and understand what the page is about. There’s normally only one H1 Heading per page – H1 is the place to tell the reader the big idea that everything else will flow from. It’s like a promise.

How to create headings

It’s normally done in these 2 steps:

  • Step 1 – analysis of the content in the light of the objective. Is the content informational? Is it part of a direct sale? What are we trying to achieve?
  • Step 2 –editing, writing and structuring of the new headings to support that objective

Adding or editing the right Heading Tags for the job will help your visitors to :

  • understand where they are in the process
  • understand what they need to do or where to go next

Headings for optimisation

Existing content

If your pages or posts were never optimised when they were written then adding fresh tagged headings (that made me think of herrings 🙂 ) is a very effective way of upping your game. It’s big impact / low disruption work.

New content

If you’re starting with a clean sheet on a new page or post keep thinking of how those herrings will improve the user experience.

Inserting headings

Headings for existing old content or for new content can be coded directly into the HTML body, or straight into your posts and pages via your content management system (WordPress?).

It’s doable.

Old engraving as a word play on page heading optimisation by wordraising copywriting

Now do a user experience audit

Look at that visual hierarchy on your own website. Have you got one?

Are you acting as an editor, guide and navigator for the experience of your viewers?

Yes? Good.

Or…… has the content just been tipped in, like jelly into a mould?

If everything looks equally important, you make it harder for people to get to the decision point you want.

A clear visual hierarchy will point your customers in the right direction.

For help with this contact wordraising

(ps: optimised Heading Tags will help your Search Engine Optimisation too. That’s because user-experience is a big ranking factor. But that’s another story.)

Creative Tension – Articulate Your Vision

Elastic band to conceptually represent Creative Tension. Photo ©Mike Odlin

What you write about your business changes the way you think about your business. That changes how you act in your business.

At some point on your business journey, you’re going to meet a question inside that won’t go away.

This sort of thing:

‘why do more people not get what we’re trying to do? Why do they pass by & not take us up on it?’

Martin Luther King lived it,  Peter Senge wrote about it. They called it ….

…. Creative tension

Now do an experiment:

1 – Take one big elastic band

2 – Stretch it between your left and right hands

3 – Look at your hands. Imagine that your left hand is where you are now and your right hand is where you want to be (your vision).

Do it. Hold your hands out and get some distance.

Now here’s the interesting thing – the energy.

That gap between the left and the right, the now and the future vision, always creates an energy or a tension that wants to bring them together. You can actually feel it in your muscles if you really do it.

Can you feel where this is going?

You can use the energy to drag your vision (right hand) back to where you are now or you can let your vision pull your reality forward.

What happens depends on how committed to the vision you are. How strong does it live in you? Is it a flicker or is it unstoppable?

Managing change – framing

What you write about your business changes the way you think about your business. And, most importantly, it changes how you act in your business.

What you write about your business puts a frame around it – it helps you and your customers focus on the important message.

You can change if you do this:

1Open your eyes to what you’ve got now. If you think you’re too close to the business get fresh eyes on it.

2Ask: – what content needs to stay and what content needs to go? This is so you don’t leave good stuff behind or drag old stuff forward.

3Act: – make the changes the business needs.

Temptations to knock you off track

When you start on this journey there are 2 big temptations:

1 – You start to feel uncomfortable and defensive about what you built in the past. This makes it really hard to let go of your old content.

2 – You want to gallop off at the first suggestion of progress. Chances are you’ll leave some real diamonds behind.

It’s hard to do this on your own. It’s easier with a guide.

Know this -when you feel it’s uncomfortable or exciting then what you’re actually experiencing is the creative tension.

Somerset Maugham hit the nail on the head when he said, “only mediocre people are always at their best”.

RECAP. Creative tension is real, it’s common and it’s a sign that something needs to change.

So, ask yourself this question: are the words I use for my business mostly focused on where I’ve been or are they actually focusing things on where I’m going?  Am I happy with this?

Should you cut your prices or change the frame?

pricing strategy
10% price cut = 38% profit cut

This article looks at a pricing strategy for your business. It’ll be of interest to you if you tried cutting your prices and got burnt or are tempted to cut your prices to drum up more business.

Pricing Strategy

There are a zillion pricing strategies and there is 1 big red hole that most businesses have fallen down at some point.

That’s the big red hole of cutting your price to try to keep up with or sell more than your competitor.

Fact: the price cutting strategy to generate extra sales is mostly a race to get to the bottom first. You’re likely competing with other businesses who are unaware of the impact of price cuts on their own margins, unaware of the self-inflicted damage being done.

The common mistake associated with price cutting is a very big one. The mistake is to assume that by cutting prices by 10% you just need to do 10% more business or 10% more volume to make up for the loss.

No, because when you cut your price you unleash this lot:

  • demand increases to the point where you can’t keep up
  • delivery and product quality fall
  • profitability takes a nose dive.

You’ll never be able to beat a price-cutting business which doesn’t understand this because they are going broke themselves. You’re not competing against a worthy competitor – you’ve just joined them in a nose dive.

nose-dive

The Profit

The key to understanding all of this is the profit you are making.

It’s about the size of that gap between your selling price and the cost to you of making that product or delivering that service.

That gap is really important but more often than not gets forgotten because of:

  • insecurity about the value of your product (is it really worth this much?) or
  • pressure of an experienced pushy buyer (I can get it cheaper down the road!).

When we let our own insecurity or somebody else’s pressure allow us to view price as the only game in town we pay dearly. We always pay when we don’t understand pricing psychology.

Pricing Psychology

Misunderstanding pricing psychology and buyer psychology is what causes businesses to fall into the red hole.

Think about this. What if pricing really was the only thing that buyers considered when looking at your product?

If price was the only factor buyers considered there would be only 1 supplier of every product or service you can think of – the cheapest supplier. This would apply to the shirt on your back and the house you live in.

Open your eyes. It’s highly unlikely you’re wearing the cheapest shirt on the market or living in the cheapest bricks and mortar you could find. There were other considerations when you chose what to wear and where to live.

We’ll come to those other considerations but for now let’s understand with cash numbers how cutting your price plays out.

Pricing & Profitability

So what’s the real cost to you of cutting your prices by say 10%?

Simple example:

Selling Price 135
Let’s say you sell your widgetything for 135 shekels based on a cost of supply of 100 shekels. You make 35 shekels on each sale.

Price cut 10%
What happens when you try to stimulate demand or keep up with your competitor by cutting your price by 10%.

You’re now selling your widgetything for 121.5 shekels and your cost of supply is still 100 shekels. That means your profit on each one has now fallen to 21.5 shekels.

But, more importantly, your 10% price cut has had a massive slash at your profits. Here are the numbers:

21.5/35 = 0.6143 = 61.43%

That means a 10% price cut meant you just cut your profits by 38.57% (100 minus 61.43). That’s a much deeper cut than most businesses imagine it to be.

Ouch. That’s self-inflicted misery.

So how do you achieve higher profit margins, avoid price wars and still be in healthy profit?

You have to win or close your sales at full price, full fee or full rate. To do that you have to make some changes.

Let’s repeat that – it’s important:

You have to win or close your sales at full price, full fee or full rate. To do that you have to make some changes.

Change the Frame Around Your Product

To maintain your price in the face of competition or to raise your margins for higher profitability you need to change the frame of reference for your product or service. You need to change how buyers view and appreciate your product.

To do this you make your buyer aware of how you deal with those things that could really keep them up at night if they make the mistake of going with your lower-priced competition….

We’re talking about your competitive advantage:

Delivery – tell them how long it takes to fulfill orders or get the product to them, or what’s special / better about the way you do that.

Quality – if you have a safer crash helmet then say it. If your product is clearly the best fit for where your client is now, then say it. If you have proper quality control in place then explain it.

Service – explain how your level of customer service is leagues ahead of cutprice.com.

Process – explain how easy it is to do business with you. Think convenience, think location, think  ….

Everybody remembers these things when it’s time to commit or sign on the dotted line. The key is to communicate them early enough in the buying process so that it’s your dotted line that gets signed on 🙂 Your website content is a good place to start.

Pricing Strategy & Competitive Advantage – Summary

You should understand by now how price is rarely the most important deciding factor in buying decisions (look at your own shirt again).

You should also understand the damage to your profitability of even modest price cuts.

Finally, you should understand that there is another way to compete and win better quality business. You need to speak about quality, service, process, delivery and the factors unique to you and your business that are important to your customer.

Author: Mike Odlin 

(If you’ve already tried competing on price you can try a different approach and contact us here.)

Website Content, Copywriting & Usability

Krugs Third Law of Usability

‘Halving’ – a guiding principle for website content

Halving is useful
if you’re at the end of the first draft. It’ll help you choose between stuff you flirt with and stuff you can’t live without.

Halving is essential
if you have unedited content on your website. It’ll give the useful stuff a chance to breathe and make it more prominent.

“Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left”

Krugs Third Law of Usability

Business Website Tip: Get to a CTA

“Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.”
(C. Jackson.)

This means making sure that the writing through your website creates a slide towards your call to action (CTA).

Tip:

Whatever sort of journey you take your potential customers on, remember to let them know when they’ve arrived.

Example: you’re 1 email away from sorting your content out….

or,

get in touch to discuss

other words to use could be: sign up |  buy now | register | contact me | book a session now