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Online Marketing Is A Lot Like Online Dating

on September 08, 2016

This article is written by our first guest author - Terri Jones of Wordplay. Terri is one of our favorite freelance writers. Enjoy!


If you’ve ever browsed an online dating site, you probably first scrolled through the photos, looking for someone who caught your eye. Nice hair, but a little too showy.  Click. Great smile, but why is the picture taken in a hotel room? Click.

After you have found an image of a person who has sparked your interest (and your trust), then you read that person’s profile and decide if you should email, call or meet him or her. Sound about right?

When customers find your company online, it’s not really all that different. The design of your site—the photos, the colors, the logo, etc.—will likely be what initially grabs a visitor’s attention and often helps them find the most important information; however, it’s the quality of the content that will hold their attention and, with any luck, turn them into a customer.

So how do you make the words on your site work hard for you?

Know your audience. First and foremost, you need to get to know your customers. What are their problems and concerns? What are their priorities? How do they live their lives? Just as you know that the people you like to date also like to try new restaurants, and therefore, may need a dinner partner, you should know that your ideal customer strives to save money, work more efficiently, or get healthy, plus always puts their kids/pets/aging parents first.

Turn features into benefits. Once you know a little bit about your customers’ challenges and goals, write your content to show how your product or service can respond to these needs.  There’s an old marketing adage that says you should sell the hole, not the drill. In other words, who really cares that that drill has a “variable-speed trigger (0-800-RPM) that delivers up to 122-in-lbs max torque”? Instead, your customers would rather know whether the tool can drill through concrete and how much time and effort it will save them.

Differentiate yourself. There are countless guys with brown hair and brown eyes on dating websites. Similarly, there are probably an overwhelming number of companies that are selling essentially the same type of products or services as you. That’s why it’s important to find those qualities that set you apart and that will resonate with whomever—customer or date—you’re trying to attract. Sometimes these differentiators are a deliberate part of your business model; however, more often, a company’s most powerful USPs (unique selling propositions) simply evolves organically with the business itself and you may not even be consciously aware of them. Ask your best customers what they like best about your business. Those are the differentiators that you should be using in your marketing!

Make it personal and conversational. Formal language may work for an attorney’s website, but for most businesses, it’s best to write website content as if you’re actually talking to customers. Use “you” instead of “they” to refer to your customers and “we” instead of “it", “they” or “I” when you’re talking about your company. Also try to avoid jargon. The simpler the language, the more likely customers will be to continue reading it.


Terri Jones is a freelance copywriter based in Richmond, Virginia. We love working with her whenever we have the chance. If you'd like to learn more about her services, check out her website: WordPlay.


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online marketing digital marketing content content marketing content strategy

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