I’m not talking here about the technically flashy website. I’ll talk about that some other time. Today I’m talking about content.
Not so long ago, I had some content sent back to me for being “braggartly.” I didn’t think it was bragging, but it’s always easier to brag about someone else than about yourself, and my client just wasn’t comfortable with the admiring tone I had taken about his company.
I rewrote it as a modest statement of fact. The client was happy, and it was probably just as effective.
Last week, I worked with a company that took modesty to extremes. It came up in conversation that they were a family business. “Oh,” they said, “do you think people will want to know that?” With twenty years experience. “Do you think we should put that in?” And partnerships with most of the major players in their industry. “Is that important?”
You can take modesty too far.
But you can also take braggadocio too far. The! Best! in the World! doesn’t really convince anyone, and it can turn off many visitors.
How can you make sure that your web content is not too modest, not too bold, but just right?
- Use facts. When you rely on facts, you’re not bragging. The awards you’ve won, the number of years you’ve been in business, the quality materials you use, the quantifiable results you’ve achieved — reporting these things isn’t boasting.
- Let someone else say it. Faithfully repeating testimonials from your clients isn’t boasting, either. Say “May I quote you?” and get those kind words onto your page.
- Spread the credit around. Mention the accomplishments of all the people who’ve contributed to the quality and success of your organization. Not only does this let your visitors learn more about your company, but it also shows that you value your workers, and that’s an admirable trait.
My basic philosophy about marketing is simple: do something very well, and let people know it. With excessive modesty, you may be keeping your visitors from learning that you’re good at what you do. With boasting, you move from letting people find out about your quality goods and services, to making them suspect that you value yourself too highly.
The peacock shows his gorgeous tail, and lets it speak for itself. He’s on the right side of that line between showing and showing off.