WWW….Wednesday! What’s Your Tone?
Did your mom every say, “Don’t take that tone with me young lady?” I’m sure most of us heard that from time to time when we had our “sass” on. We thought we were being clever but really, we were just being bratty. A tone is implied every time we open our mouth; the same can be said about every time our website every time it is viewed.
If you have a design or business website, what’s your site’s tone? Is it chatty, playful, sassy, edgy, respectful, or sterile? These are vocal tones that your site might be giving, whether intentional or not.
A thoughtful and consistent tone is paramount to selling your product or service. Achieving this takes some planning and assessment. The first thing to set the vocal tone is your headline and “hero” image. We talked about the role and importance of the hero image in last week’s blog. The copy on this first area needs to be specific and concise. What is the consumer going to find? Will it meet their needs? Is it easy to read? Most importantly, do you stand out from your competitors? There are a lot of questions that need to be carefully considered. It is advisable to meet as a discussion group in your company or find others that take an interest in your success and work together to decide what the most important value your company has to offer and how you are different from the competition. A great place to start is to make a long list of theses attributes and then narrow them down to a few key points. Have one person be your lead and guide the process.
Spotlight the tone like you would the sing chorus of a favorite song. Make that note repeat from page to page as if each page was that spellbinding refrain. A song with a “catchy” chorus that won’t get out of your head the rest of the day. If you are selling cupcakes and your website’s vocal tone is sweet, playful, and decadent, then use that tone somehow on every page. Make sure the tone is consistent even when talking about, for example, upcoming specials. Your copy needs to ring a chord with the buyer. Eugene Schwartz was a great copywriter and wrote many articles on how to use copy to bring awareness of products to consumers.
If the viewer is more engaged and involved, they will rate the quality of the product more highly. Pose a mystery perhaps that keeps people digging for clues and eventually solving.
I’m not saying make your copy confusing, but make it intriguing. For example, if you pose a counter-argument, this will challenge the reader to think about it. Maybe Susie B’s design firm’s tone is of expedience and same-day service. Your question could be, “Does fast service make it good service?” The tone for your firm is craftsmanship and custom designed products. You use this dichotomy to pose the question, “Isn’t a better product worth waiting for?” Show examples of your beautiful works and great reviews from satisfied customers to answer that original question. Your viewer will be hooked, and your product seen as superior.
Online marketing is the center of many businesses, it has a voice. Its voice is dictated by images, copy, and layout. Make sure you take the time to analyze your tone. Care for your site and stay consistent. The tone that you discovered is what makes you stand out from the crowd. Don’t be the bratty kid that is dismissed because he’s whining to his mom in the supermarket. Be that vocal tone that is catchy and makes your viewer happily hum along.
Jill Meyer is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. A Scottsdale, Arizona resident, Jill is an artist, decorative painter, interior designer, and writer.
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