Is Your Content Truly Customer-Focused?

So many web sites have a couple of fundamental flaws: they aren’t written from the customer’s perspective, and the content doesn’t help users complete common site tasks.

Organizations often become proud of their mission statement. After all, the management team spent considerable time developing it, and they feel it’s the best summary of their niche, markets and stakeholders. The mission statement is so good, in their view, that it should be featured on the home page – front and center.

Most mission statements, however, are filled with language that customers (and other key audiences) never use. If your organization “revolutionizes visionary markets and extends value-added experiences to our customers as we empower robust technologies” (a made-up mission statement created with help from the online BS generator), it should stay far, far away from your home page.

Customers would never describe your organization using those terms—and the mission statement certainly won’t help them use your site.

Web content guru Gerry McGovern is especially passionate on this topic. “I don’t want your damn mission statement,” he said in a recent keynote presentation. “I just want to book a room or check on my health care benefits or find the address of the restaurant.”

The solution, as he describes, is to identify those words – carewords, as he calls them – to help your audiences navigate the site and fulfill their goals. And as Jakob Nielsen writes, it’s better to use old, familiar words than create your own. 

So before you add the mission statement to the home page, make certain the words connect with your audiences. Better yet? Ask them to be sure.

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