I’m on a typical phone call with a prospective client. The conversation goes something like this:
Me: What sort of tone are you seeking for your copy? What does your brand voice sound like?
Client: Well, uh…we don’t really have a tone of voice or anything. Can you just make us sound like Basecamp?
Ah, Basecamp. Everyone loves them. Everyone wants to be them.
If I had a hundred bucks for every business that “wants to sound like Basecamp”, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here typing this.
Figuring out your SaaS brand voice
Startups often have a “done is better than perfect” mindset to get their product to market as fast as possible. Developers and designers are often writing the copy for websites and emails, and as a result, there’s no clear tone or voice for any of their marketing materials. There’s nothing that differentiates them from everyone else doing the same thing and there’s no consistency across their content and marketing messaging.
SaaS websites widely tend to look and sound the same at the moment. I like to think that in 20 years we’ll all look back on this time and smile fondly. Maybe we’ll even ask designers to make us websites in a cute retro “SaaS” style.
What makes for websites and emails that DO stand out from the others? They have that extra…something, right?
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it’s there. That little something is a combination of tone and voice. It’s something that has taken a ton of research, analysis, and thought to capture and put into words.
Companies that have a recognizable brand voice have wisely allocated budget, time, and resources to talk to their customers. They interview them, they survey them. They seek out the voice of their marketplace. Scour every piece of incoming email. Go deep into their customer support logs. They listen. And they learn.
These companies differentiate themselves not by their product, but with their words. By using the language that their customers are using, and targeting the emotions that their customer are feeling, companies can pinpoint what to talk about in the copy – and HOW to talk about it.
They work out the exact words and emotions they need to use to target new customers that match their existing happy customer base, and in return, customers that visit the website can see that this product is perfect for them (and wonder how the heck that company got inside their head like that! How did they KNOW?)
As a startup business trying to differentiate yourself from the other guys, it can be difficult to think about your website copy from an outside customer perspective. You’re too close to the project, and too emotionally involved. And also – pressed for time, short on team resources, and have a million other things that you’d rather be doing than moving words around a page and spending hours on the phone.
If you can’t afford to hire an in-house copywriter, do your startup a favour and enlist a freelance conversion copywriter (IT ME!) that can help you strengthen your value proposition, tone and voice, and attract the right customers for your business.
I love talking about customer analysis and how it can be used to make that leap in conversions for your business. Feel free to contact me or schedule a call at any time, I’d love to hear from you.
Just don’t mention Basecamp, okay?