Tone of voice. Anyone with a teenager, who’s met a teenager or stood in the vicinity of a teenager with a parent, is bound to have heard:
‘Don’t you use that tone with me’.
It’s usually accompanied by a grunt and an eyeroll, but nevertheless, you know what I mean.
Tone of voice. People inject tone into their everyday conversations. Chatting with friends, sharing banter over a few cheeky gin and tonics, or even just in a passing conversation at the checkout. Assuming you’re lucky enough to nab a human checkout.
Yet time and time again, I come across boring words on websites. Websites that are an absolute snooze fest! I’m talking 2 minutes in, and you feel yourself drifting into a mini coma. They’re completely devoid of personality, no character, or humour. Just plain old generic words all over the website.
Where’s your personality? Add tone of voice.
And the thing is, I know the owners of some of these websites and they’re freaking awesome humans. They’re funny, engaging and in-person, you wanna hang-out and chat with them.
So why are people constantly afraid to get personal on their websites?
Some say they find it weird to share personal stories or their likes on their websites as it’s unprofessional.
Others are trying so hard to appeal to everyone they simply blend into the next generic website and end up appealing to no one at all.
And others, well they’re not confident at writing about themselves so they just write about their business.
But here’s the problem. Your words convey tone and personality and give people a sense of who you are. So, what are your words doing to make your business stand out from the rest?
Tone of voice helps you and your website stand out
Your tone of voice on your website is what helps your personality burst through the interweb. Injecting some character, some humour or even a little bit of cheekiness, will make you memorable.
On the flipside, using a boring, mundane, and dreary tone of voice will have the same heart-warming effect as Freddy Kruger’s fingernails down a metal drainpipe.
It’ll have your potential clients running down a dark alley, looking for an escape route.
Or right into the non-stabby arms of your competitor.
Are you more appealing than your competitors?
For example, if someone were searching the internet and had yours and your four closest competitors’ websites open, how would they choose?
Now let’s assume you’re all offering a similar product, all similar price and in the same area. What makes you and your product more memorable than theirs?
Let’s say you’re all selling wine. Your competitors all describe their wine in a similar way.
‘Our red wine is fruity, full bodied with aromas of blackberry, raspberry sauce and liquorice. Guaranteed to delight the tastebuds.’
There’s nothing wrong with these words. But they’re boring. Plain. Generic. Just blah, blah blah.
But what if your website says this:
‘Our red wine is fruity, full bodied and the aromas of blackberry, raspberry sauce and liquorice will have you and your tastebuds dancing in your kitchen like nobody is watching. Go on, grab a bottle or two, chuck on a supportive bra and have yourself a little dance party at home.’
It basically says the same thing as your competitors but it’s funny and far more interesting.
It’s got personality.
The words on your website are how people perceive you and your business and it’s no different to meeting people in real life.
Who are you attracting with your tone of voice?
A little while ago, I went to a party and while I settled in with a few red wines, I people watched.
Do you do that too? Just sit back and observe people’s behaviour?
Parties are the best because after a few too many bevvies, people get pretty darn hectic.
And as I sipped my red wine and bopped along to Sir Mix-a-lot, I noticed a few distinct groups.
Over in a corner was the crier. A young woman, sobbing into her cocktail over a recent break-up.
The woman was surrounded by soggy tissues, empty cocktail glasses and a posse of oohing and aahing friends who only interrupted her tragic tale to pat her arm, pass her a tissue or pour her another drink.
Meanwhile, at the opposite side of the room was the guy I’ll call, the larrikin.
Now, the larrikin was perched on a table, holding court like ye old’ court jester. His audience was captivated by his gregarious tales and raucous laughter filled their corner of the room.
He was so hilarious I spied one girl making a mad dash to the bathroom with wine shooting from her nose. And no, it wasn’t me.
And then there was the groovy girl, tearing it up on the dance floor with moves J-Lo would envy. She was the red hot flame who all the other party moths swarmed to.
Remember the scene from Suddenly 30 when Jennifer Garner revives the party by putting on her epic Thriller moves?
Well, just like that. Without the zombie impersonations. But groovy girl had it going on. And before long, she’d attracted her fellow groovers and created her very own flash mob.
Your personality attracts your ideal audience
The point is each of these people attracted a specific audience. And while they’re not going to appeal to everyone, that’s okay. Because the ones they do attract are their kind of people.
But you know who didn’t attract anyone?
The wallflower, the generic person who sat silently in the corner, made polite small talk, and barely got noticed.
Now, is that your website?
Because even if you have traffic to your website, it’s not enough. You need to keep your audience engaged.
And how do you do that? You do it with the words on your website.
Now you don’t need to be humorous, energetic, or emotional but you do need to inject some personality into the words you use.
But your copy needs to evoke some emotion. And you do that through using your tone of voice.
Be creative, be playful, show yourself
So, just like in real life, don’t be afraid to show your personality. It’s okay to be playful, talk about your crazy love of dogs and love of red wine. Oh wait, that’s me. But these interests could be the things that get you over the finish line with your audience. They too might love wine and dogs and want to support the business of a like minded person.
So, go forth and be yourself! Be quirky, be bold, funny, or sensitive. Or be all of these things. Just don’t be generic. Because when you’re trying to talk to everyone on the interweb, it’s likely no one at all will be listening.
And if you need help to get your tone of voice and personality into your website copy, drop me a line here.
PS. Bonus points if you love dogs and wine.