Last week I started writing about how powerful your website is in building trust. It’s your marketing hub, one that ought to be filled with information and answers for your audience so that they can be educated from the moment they discover you to long after the sign the proposal and partner with you.
We covered how you might list out your services on your website, and how simply listing them out like a brochure is of little value to your audience.
So, connected to that, is using buzzwords.
You know what I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about the words or phrases you use to describe your firm, or a service you offer, or the relationship you’d have with your clients.
I’m talking about phrases like:
“Added value business advisor”
“Accountant who adds value to your business”
“Modern cloud accountant”
I could go on, but those are just some of the top phrases that I’ve seen accountants use on their websites, and in short – please get rid of them!
Now, I’m of the opinion that getting rid of buzzwords is the best thing you can do for your website, and I can practically guarantee you that the moment you do this and start talking in plain English, you’ll have an uptick in people interacting with your website! Allow me to explain…
Your audience sees right through it
In short, if a prospect, or even a client, comes to your website and they’re reading these buzzwords, they’re thinking “what does that mean?” or “I have no idea what they’re talking about there!”
That’s bad! Really bad even.
Let’s look at the situation. Rewind 10 years ago and buzzwords would’ve been ok to use. Your audience would’ve been coming to your site uneducated, and so buzzwords was enough to sell them something they didn’t quite fully understand.
But that’s not the case anymore. Your audience is highly educated as we’ve already established. They know what you offer, so if they’re coming to your site and they see buzzwords, your audience sees right through it.
If anything, they think you’re bluffing. They think you yourself don’t understand the product and that you’ve stuffed in some buzzwords to make it sound bigger than it actually is.
By doing this, you’re losing trust. Your audience is lowering their estimations of you and chances are, they’re doing this before they’ve even met you.
This has huge, HUGE ramifications, because if they’ve lost trust in you, when it comes to the moment you meet and have a proposal meeting, there’s going to be doubt in their mind.
They’re going to be thinking “Is this person really a fit for me? Do they know what they’re talking about?” because at the back of their mind is buzzwords. They’ll even be fishing for them so that they can call you out on them.
What happens then is even if they sign the proposal, the relationship will have some degree of sourness to it, all because of that doubt in the back of their mind. It’ll continue to deteriorate the relationship and in the end, the relationship will fizzle out and you’ll look back and think “how come that client didn’t work out?” when ultimately, the problem comes back to your website.
Buzzwords are also predictable
The other issue you have with buzzwords is that they’re extremely predictable.
I would happily bet that I could go onto several accountancy sites in one sitting and find the same buzzwords on at least one page across every site.
Buzzwords are clichéd business-speak. There’s a lack of originality.
Your audience is coming to your site not only to understand what you offer, but also learn more about you and determine if you’re the right person for their business.
If they’re coming to your site and reading unoriginal content, they’re going to think otherwise. They’re simply going to say “This is just like every other accountant” which in most cases, isn’t what they want.
Without a doubt, you’ll use the business there and then.
But don’t worry, buzzwords are easy to fix, and I’m going to walk you through how you can go through all of your marketing, especially your website, and identify and remove buzzwords entirely.
Focus on what’s relevant to them
When you’re writing about your services, or the support you can provide your audience, think about the issue for them.
What’s their pain point? What are they struggling with? What’s the issue that’s affecting them and their business?
From there, it’s about understanding how your service impacts those very issues. How does it solve them? Think on that and find the key message that you need to get across to them.
Once you’ve got that, all you need to do is use simple and straightforward language. No acronyms, just simplicity. Use language that explains the issue directly, without any fluff, and also explain the solution you have.
And if you have stories to tell, use them too. They’ll do the talking for you, so that you don’t even have to think about using buzzwords. Instead you’ll have real like proof to walk your audience through a product or a service.
It really is that important to keep it simple (remember the famous phrase “keep it simple, stupid!” When you understand your topic, you’ll find yourself resisting the urge to blather on with buzzwords and jargon.
But in doing so, you’re ensuring your website continues to build trust by creating content that you and your audience understand, digest, and take action on.
Now is the time to go through your site and identify buzzwords. Read through everything on your site and ask yourself if it makes sense. Even get a non-accountant to look through your site to get a fresh set of eyes reviewing everything.
Let me know how you get on.
You’ve probably heard time and time again that your website is your marketing hub.
Well I’m not here to tell you that that’s no longer true, but what I’m going to do is take it one step further.
Yes, your website is your marketing hub, but it is also what I like to call your “trust hub”. Why? Because it’s the number one place that you can continually build trust with your prospects and clients, from the moment they’ve first heard of you, to months and years after they’ve signed the proposal.
What I’m going to do over the next 4 blog posts is talk about how powerful your website can be in building trust, and we’re going to start with services.
Ahhhh services. The bread and butter of accountancy. The list of options for clients that, up until recently, was enough when selling to your audience.
Let me paint a picture for you…
Someone goes onto Google and they type “Accountants in [location]”. Your website comes up on the first page.
They click and they see a banner that says “Welcome to [firm name.]” Along the top is your navigation menu, which has your typical run-of-the-mill options: “About”, “Services” and so on.
They click on “Services” and a dropdown appears with a long list: “Accounts”, “Bookkeeping”, “Self Assessment”, “Payroll”, “Advisory”.
Well guess what, that’s not enough anymore.
A lack of meaning
The problem with this approach to promoting services is the lack of meaning, because as soon as your audience reads this, they’re thinking “ok… and?” or even, “so what?”
They have little to no confidence in your services, because this type of marketing isn’t screaming “We can help solve your problems!” or “we can help save your house” or “save your business” or “save your marriage” and so on.
And it gets even worse if you’re using templated content on your site, because that content will be the same from one accountancy site to the next.
When you’ve got all your services described in such a generic fashion, you’re instantly turning away your audience, because they already know they offer you these services.
As we’ve already established, your audience is much more educated than before. Because of the sheer volume of information readily available on the internet, they know the types of services that accountants can offer. Where you were once seen as the all-seeing, all-doing problem solver, you’re now seen as something else entirely.
The other issue with listing out your services in this way is the risk of overwhelming your audience. They’ve already got so much information at their fingertips. They’ve got their own content to deal with, because they’re using cloud technology and have greater access than ever before to their business finances.
In fact, that statement puts even less value on your list of services, because with the advent of this technology, they can already do a lot of it themselves.
So, what’s the solution? How do you promote your services? How do you show to your audience that what you’re offering is worthwhile for them?
Focus on the why
Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I know that you’re a great accountant. You’re doing great stuff for your clients. You’re providing great results.
But the problem is your prospects don’t see that. With your services laid out as they are, you aren’t proving what you do.
Your prospects won’t come to you and do business with you straight away, because they want to see the “why”. They want to see why your services and working with you will have benefit to them.
That means, you want to craft your services so they promote what’s important to your audience. For them, that could be anxiety relief, confidence, destiny fulfillment, a peaceful night’s sleep. Do you see how that’s much more powerful than saying that you can provide an audit, a tax return and so on?
This is what builds trust. Your showing your services, but more importantly, your showing them in such a way that answers the question of “why should I pick this service” and also shows the benefit of having that service.
How one firm renamed their services to focus on the benefits
At The Profitable Firm, we help accountants use their content marketing to get the best clients they want, and one firm was struggling with this very issue with their services.
Originally they had their services structured in a similar way to what I described at the start: The name of the service/product, and then a description of what it was.
And yep, you guessed it, they weren’t getting much traction with it, and the reception to the services wasn’t great.
So what did they do? They restragised everything. Over the course of several months, they created a fresh landing page on their site which summarised and simplified all their services down to 6 pain points and goals: Save time, Pay Less Tax, Increase Profits, Improve Cash Flow, Reduce Hassle and Accelerate Growth.
They also started writing content around those pain points, answering the very questions their clients and prospects had been asking. By doing so, they were able to give their audience practical support before they’d signed up, and also long after.
Not only that, but they had at least one case study for each of the 6 goals. This allowed them to show real proof that they could achieve results, but also showcase the story of how they’ve helped someone succeed. They were showing them who they really are, and telling a story that could potentially impact their audience.
Don’t neglect your website and its content
To recap, your website is so powerful in creating trust for your audience, with your services being one of the fundamental parts that you need to address.
My advice is to go, right now, open a new tab, open up your website, and look at how your services are promoted – Are you just listing them out? Or are you focusing on the benefits, the results, the reasons why your prospective client should choose them?
If it’s the former, then think about how you could rewrite the content for their services. Do you focus on pain points? Could you write case studies for them?
Next week, it’s buzzwords – What are they? Why might you not use them?
See you on the other side!