Small Business Blogging: Words and Numbers Matter

BY: ON THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2014

As a small business owner, it’s critical that your web content, business blogging, and e-newsletters get the best results for your business.

1. You want readers to stay and read what you have to say.

2. You want them to buy your products and services.

Content matters. Getting the words right is important. Here’s how neuroscience can help.

Like most psychologists, I’m fascinated by how the brain works. When I see copy or content that pulls readers in and engages them, I see the neuroscience behind it. Sometimes, it’s just a few words that make the difference.

Words can be the difference between a web visitor (i.e. potential client) who clicks away or stays to read more. For example, which statement has more effect?

  1. The medical procedure has a 90% survival rate.
  2. One out of 20 dies from this surgery.

Even though the odds are the same, the second statement evokes a greater response from readers. The phrase “one out of 20” produces a more visual image. The use of the word “die” rather than “survive” produces more anxiety and a defensive response. Imagine web visitors skimming these statements along with the inundation of marketing images and sounds readers are exposed to. Words matter more than ever.

Here's another example I found in Your Money and Your Brain by Jason Zweig. When told that their patient had a 20 percent chance of committing a violent act within six months, 79 percent of psychiatrists would release their patient. However, when psychiatrists were told that “20 out of 100” similar patients would commit such an act, only 6 out of 10 psychiatrists released a patient.

For small business owners, the take-away is to describe your product or service benefits in terms of absolute number to maximize its impact.

  • Good: 90 percent of our clients experienced 15% revenue growth
  • Better: 9 out of 10 of our clients experienced 15% revenue growth

Conversely, if you are working with negative data and want to position the information in a softer light, use percentages.

When blogging or writing for your business, i.e. content marketing, get the words and numbers right, and get the best results for your business.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Patsi Krakoff

Patsi Krakoff, Psy.D. helps business consultants with quality online content marketing. Find out more about her writing services at her award-winning content marketing blog, WritingontheWeb.com, ContentforCoaches, and read her free e-Book Content Marketing with Blogs.

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