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Write For Your Customers Instead of Your Boss

By Neil Sniffen
3 minute read | Last Updated: April 9, 2016

Most websites are content heavy in a way that’s unhelpful to customers. To avoid being unhelpful, brands need to create content focused on customer goals.

American novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard once said, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Here at The Good, we say “If it sounds like something your boss would say, rewrite it.”

That means if the content on your e-commerce site is not written to help the customer research and purchase, but rather to appease the executive of the brand, you need to rewrite it. Executives who believe the core purpose of the brand site is to show how smart and cool the brand is need to realize the core purpose of a brand site is actually to serve customers.

Customers who feel listened to, cared for, and who have confidence in the information you provide them are more likely to make a purchase.

When a brand forgets—or worse, ignores—the purpose of its site (to serve its customers), the site suffers, content creation suffers, and ultimately the brand suffers.

Placing the customer at the center of all content ensures their interests, needs, and requirements will be accommodated. Customers who feel listened to, cared for, and who have confidence in the information you provide them are more likely to make a purchase. Shoot for content that is natural sounding, well-written, and customer focused.

Naturally, bosses want customers to purchase, too. We know that. They just need to realize that writing for the customer is writing for the brand and what benefits it will benefit them too.

To help you convince them, here are 10 of The Good’s top customer-centered content rules.

  1. A consumer who is at your site is already aware of your brand so the first thing they encounter should not be an onslaught of marketing.

  2. Content should be written with customers’ needs in mind. (Implied: Brands should know what customers need.)

  3. Writing should read as genuine and honest. If it sounds forced, rewrite.

  4. Know what your customer is searching for (both on Google and your site) and make sure those terms lead to helpful and correct content.

  5. When customers select a product, it’s okay to suggest products other customers have bought with it but don’t overdo it.

  6. Provide customer reviews and resist the urge to over-moderate. Certain negative reviews can actually be a big help to customers, enabling them to identify a product more suited for their needs.

  7. Words are nice, but images and video play a role too. Provide multiple images and videos, if available, to help customers understand the products proper use, fit, and function.

  8. Make sure your customer service content is clear and upfront. Don’t bury the customer service information. Customers will feel more confident in their purchase if they know they can return an item easily.

  9. Your site is more than a way for your customers to purchase goods, but especially if the primary focus is e-commerce, your company story, mission, careers, and leadership information belongs in the footer.

  10. Listen to your customers’ feedback and continuously amend your content to fit their needs and concerns.

The Good aims to eliminate bad digital experiences from the web until only the good remain.

Why? Because good digital experiences translate into customer loyalty and purchase conversions. Since writing is often such a big part of the digital experience, if this article gets just one reader to stop writing for bosses and start writing for customers, we all will have moved just a little closer to this goal. Won’t you join us?