Did you know that 63% of customers would buy from a company they find authentic instead of a competitor? Cohn & Wolf’s study The Age of Authenticity found a direct connection between sales and the tone of voice of brands.
Your website is the first impression you make about your brand online. To have a defined voice and tone strategy is paramount for the right communication with customers. When your customers stand in front of you, it is quite easy to decide what tone of voice to use and how to change that voice if necessary judging from the reactions you see on their faces. Online, however, you do not have this advantage.
Writing engaging web content is quite tricky because the same sentence spoken in a friendly and confident way might appear mechanical and distant in writing.
Read our blog about how to develop an outstanding tone of voice for your website and social media.
What is website tone of voice?
When talking about a physical tone of voice, is it about what you say, how you say it, the rhythm, pace and even body language. When choosing a company’s digital tone of voice, obviously a lot of these are redundant. You need to focus on the words you want to use and how you present them.
A company’s online tone of voice encompasses all of its written copy such as website, social media and emails. It also expresses the company’s personality, core values and sets the business apart from their competitors. That is why the tone of voice should be authentic, easy to recognise and unique. The language a company uses in writing must be consistent to make it familiar to the customers and help to build trust.
How to find the tone of voice for your brand?
First of all, you have to determine who your target audience is and what you want your website to achieve. Both of these points need to be supported by the visual design and structure of your site.
Once you have decided on the audience you want to target; it is time to develop your tonal guidelines.
Imagine the personality of an employee you want to represent your brand. This mind exercise helps to set the character of your brand.
Collect adjectives to describe this business’ personality such as friendly, fun, open, professional and so on. To specify the characteristics try to use the “this but not that” method; fun but not childish, confident but not arrogant.
Another critical question to ask yourself is what do you want to tell the world about your business? Define the core purpose of your communication. Identify your company’s values and way of thinking. Ask your team members and colleagues to join you in brainstorming sessions and ask a few critical questions such as “why was the company founded”, “what value do you offer” and “what makes you stand out”. Answering these questions together will reveal the priorities and values your business stands for.
4 steps to create a successful tone of voice
You can influence and persuade your audience with carefully chosen words that have a focused purpose.
Just think about politicians, they tend to speak the way you would talk to a five-year-old: simple, short sentences. This gives the impression they are honest and talking about universal truth. On the other hand, banks and mortgage providers prefer to use more jargon and technical terms to hint a sense of professionalism, knowledge and authority.
Avoid playing around with words and sentence structures to achieve literature levels. The primary goal is to focus your customer’s attention to your business. This is more important than brilliant writing.
Use longer words for precision
When writing your copy bear in mind that clarity is critical. To achieve the right message you need to use the right words to describe what you want to say. Although long words might seem too stuffy, they tend to explain your thoughts more precisely. Take your time and search for appropriate words for your audience
Ensure you communicate the right message
Be conscious about how you frame your message: is it positive, gain-framed or referencing a reward? Aim to use positive words to make your content compelling and engaging. Consider what associations come to mind when reading your copy. Create a small poll and ask colleagues or friends to give you feedback about how your words make them feel. Do they want to buy what you are offering?
Be clear and understandable
Nothing is more dangerous than confusing your customers. Visitors decide in seconds whether to read on or leave your website. Make sure they stay by using explicit, prompt messages that engage them. Be your worst critic and try to simplify your content for better understanding.
Use Calls to Actions
Calls-to-actions (CTA) are essential on your website. They are like a torch in the night: light the way for your visitors and guide them through their buying journey. Use action-oriented language and striking colours for your CTA buttons. You can test different wording and colours and see which version performs best with A-B Split testing. This will directly compare a variation against a current experience and allows you to ask focused questions about changes to your website. The data collected will offer insights about the impact of that change and allow you to make informed decisions to optimise performance.
Need expert advice?
Our friendly team at All Things Web® is happy to answer any question you might have regarding your current website’s tone of voice or how to develop it. Get in touch to find out more about our content review service, call us today on 01793 766 040 we would be delighted to hear from you.