Has malaise ever crept in when you’re jumping from one website to another in the quest to find the answer to your problems? You may have visited five sites but the same old words keep swimming before your eyes. There’s nothing to distinguish the services from one company to another because at first glance they all promise the same.
When it comes to crafting the words for your website, it’s easy to go down the well-trodden path and use the same old words to describe your business or service.
If you’re guilty you’re not alone. Thousands of websites, brochures and tender proposals make the mistake of using boring words.
But why be dull when you can stand out from the pack? A little thought and effort into the language you use can be the difference between someone hitting the back button and a new client.
Get rid of the rubbish
These are my Top 11 boring words to avoid:
- Professional: yes, of course you’re professional. Your customers wouldn’t expect anything else. Would you write that you’re “competent”? No, this is the minimum and you need to tell customers what makes you special: how is that professionalism demonstrated? A commitment that nothing leaves your premises without rigorous quality checks, a speedier response, 30 years of collective expertise endorsed by glowing testimonials? Then say so!
- End-to-end: this little phrase continues to burrow insidiously through marketing speak. What kind of end-to-end service do you actually provide? Do you start the morning by brushing your client’s teeth and driving him/her to work? OK, that’s an exaggeration, but look for a snappy way to express what you actually mean. Maybe your estate agency removes the stress of selling from valuation to handing over the keys. Every step along the way.
- Solutions: as in those vans with slogans like “Bespoke Drainage Solutions” or “Hair Styling Solutions” or “Home Furnishing Solutions” or “Housing Solutions”. What’s wrong with plain speaking? Give people great reasons to hire you: No more blocked drains! Colour and cut just £49! The comfiest sofas around! You’ve found your new home!
- Bespoke: this used to be a nice word evoking a bit of panache but is now over-used. What about custom, personalised, made-to-measure or individual instead?
- Proactive: so you have a proactive approach. So does everyone else these days! Give examples that show how you shine: “Your IT problems solved before you know they’ve happened.” “We think of the answer before you’ve asked the question.” “Weekly updates so you always know how your project’s going.” “Ahead of the curve so you’re always compliant with the latest legislation.”
- Day-to-day basis: do you mean every day? Excellent, you just saved two words that give you space to trumpet two more of your competition-beating USPs.
- Individual requirements: as in meeting your customers’ individual requirements. All too often this is another wasted, hackneyed phrase. You wouldn’t be in business if you insisted your customer buy a red jumper when they wanted blue, or sold them a spade when they needed a bucket. If you want customers to know you sell wood in every dimension under the sun because you can cut it to fit, tell them that. Especially if your rival down the road doesn’t.
- Market-leading: which market are you leading? What does that really mean and do your customers care? If you have the largest market share or have won awards for your service, tell them.
- Innovative: if you have to tell us your product or service is innovative, it probably isn’t. Why don’t you simply set out what it does and let the reader decide how different you really are?
- Superior quality: if your product is of high quality, explain exactly why. It could be the material, the manufacturing process or the fact that it has been put through rigorous testing that your competitors cannot match.
- Excellent customer service: but what makes your service excellent? Perhaps you solve all complaints within three hours, or you have a no-quibble refund policy. If your opening hours are the longest around, say so.
Banish the boring and look for ways to sparkle.
Don’t state the obvious. I’m thinking of the website for the “professional architects”. Just as well, I wouldn’t want amateurs to do it!
Your customers deserve better; your business deserves better. This is your chance to get rid of the clichés and stand out. (Hopefully you’ve noticed this list is a Top 11 rather than a Top 10 – another way to be different.)