Clarity trumps persuasion

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Not Persuasion with a capital P. I’m not suggesting we could outdo Jane Austen, but that headline did lift my spirits. It’s the conclusion of some research into what makes a good website, carried out by marketingexperiments.com and reported by Gerry McGovern in one of his weekly newsletters.

The researchers found that it was more important to be clear than to try too hard to sell whatever it is your website is offering. Specifically, it is vital to answer three questions that users will ask when they visit your website: Where am I?, What can I do here? and Why should I do it?

In other words, your site must be easy to navigate and make clear what people can get from it.

In marketing terms, it means quantifying your value proposition. Don’t say what you offer is “best”, “amazing”, “wonderful”. Tell them how much better it is than its rivals, in what way it is amazing and what it does that makes it wonderful.

People are liable to be turned off by vague hyperbole. By being clear and specific, marketingexperiments.com’s research found, you may greatly increase the effectiveness of your website.

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