Startups are some of the coolest companies to work for.
They’re obsessed with innovation and driving the economy and society forward in really cool ways, which is incredible.
But one common worry, especially with early-stage startups is this: MONEY.
You know, the cash that you use to pay your rent and buy your groceries while you’re hacking away at code for the third day straight. Or the cash you use to pay employees, if you’re at that stage.
Sure, you can get funding from investors (and you often need to), but investors aren’t the ones that are going to create the reality of financial sustainability for your business. They’re just there to get you started.
So you need to make sure—even if you do still count on investors as your financial lifeblood—that you’re positioning your business to be customer-friendly. (And I mean paying customers here, not the ones using a beta-level free ride.)
I’ll explain it more in the video as I live-edit two different startup websites… but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple some of these changes can be to make.
Hello everyone! (And a special hello to those of you working in startups—today’s video is especially for you.)
Startups play a really important role in keeping our economy going and moving innovation forward, but the sad fact is that most of them end up failing.
There’s too many complex reasons to get into why they all fail, and there’s certainly no sweeping rule of thumb here.
But I do know that in any startup, cash flow and money are a BIG deal.
And you mostly get money from two places: investors and your first customers.
Ideally, the investments give you the funds you need to get your business up off the ground, but your customers are the ones that will really sustain you for the long term.
However, since getting investors is so difficult, a lot of startup founders put a lot of energy into getting the messaging right for investors, but kind of let it slack when they’ve got that comfortable cash cushion and don’t tailor their sites to their actual, paying customers as much as they should.
In today’s video, I’ll walk you through the sites of a few startups I found on AngelList and show how you can shift away from the investor-friendly speak that customers really don’t care about and write something that makes people want to SIGN UP NOW for your paid services, so you can make your business more financially sustainable more quickly.
And let me be clear: when you’re a startup, your product and customer service sides usually aren’t nearly as developed as they need to be, so it’s incredibly important to use every bit of copy on your site to drive people in the direction of signing up. (Without being tacky, of course.)
So here we go…
1.) First we’ll look at a section on Forkable’s home page.
They’ve got a really interesting concept going on, but their “How it Works” section is a perfect example of investor vs. customer speak colliding.
You can see here at the bottom of it that they want potential users to sign up for the service, but if you read through the steps, it’s talking to an audience of non-users about the users.
Instead, it should be talking TO the users.
To fix that problem, you can adjust the text like this:
- Tell us what you like, your dietary restrictions, and your preferences.
- Each week our lunch robot automatically selects and schedules lunches for you & your office based on your preferences.
- Replace, customize, or cancel your meals with our easy-to-use website.
- Stop worrying about getting lunch in on time. We’ll make sure it’s there the instant you need it.
- Rate your meals to make our lunch robot make your lunches better every single time you order.
You see how that’s better?
- I want to show you how this works on another website, too. And this time, it’s a really easy fix… as easy as simply flip-flopping some text.
On Cloudastructure’s site, they try to funnel customers to the correct landing page right away by displaying their three core services.
But “IoT Based Technology,” “Cloud Video Surveillance,” and “Cloud Access Control” don’t really speak to the heart of what their prospects would truly need when shopping around on Cloudastructure’s and their competitors’ sites.
But do you see this text underneath?
That does speak to the core value people are after.
So here, all we have to do is flip-flop the text, and we’ve made it so much better.
- Connect your doors, cameras, & alarms.
- IoT Based Technology
- Video monitoring & recording platform.
- Cloud video surveillance
- Access management & door control.
- Cloud access control.
Can you see how the large text will now promote more “YESes” in the readers’ minds?
When you get a “yes”, you’re far more likely to get a click, which is the ultimate goal here.
And honestly? This text underneath now may not even be necessary. Because you’re already speaking to the benefits.
Ok, so hopefully those two examples helped you see how to improve copywriting on a startup’s website. It’s a large problem I’ve noticed in my work with startups, so I wanted to put it out there and address how easy it can be to fix.
And if you’re at the point in your startup where you’re catering to both customers and investors, I want to encourage you to NOT try killing two birds with one stone and just make a landing page for each one. Ideally, your home page would be customer-focused, since that’ll be the long-term reality of your business. But you can easily create an impressive-looking page that you direct your potential investors to, as well.
It’s just so, so important to talk to potential customers like they are potential customers. You don’t want to lose out on their money! Because you want your business to be self-sustaining.
If you liked this video, it’d be great if you could share it on LinkedIn or Twitter. (Or even Facebook, if you want to.)
You also want to make sure to hit “subscribe” because even though this video is startup-specific, I’ll have other videos coming out that will help you with more specific things on your website—no matter what your type of business is.
And if you want even more tips on how to improve your on-site conversions now, I’ve got a link to my free e-book in the description below. It talks about five hacks I use on the landing pages I write to decrease bounce rates and increase conversion rates, which I think is something we all want from our websites.