The Mission Statement: Your Website’s Worst Enemy

Mission Statements

Dear business owner,

We know vision, mission and value statements make you feel warm and fuzzy. They may even make a few of your keenest employees feel giddy. But inflicting them on your website visitors is cruel, and it’s time to put a stop this sleep-inducing torture.

To be sure: a mission statement is important for guiding your business direction and every decision you make. But that doesn’t mean it belongs on your website. In fact, putting your vision, mission and values on your About Us page is just a waste of valuable Internet real estate.

Copywriting, for your website especially, is all about delivering information your customers want as quickly as possible. Prospects come to your website looking for information on your products or services, the benefits you offer, and reasons to choose you over the competition. So your web copy should speak directly to these points, and deliver them right away.

The way a mission statement is written is almost in direct opposition to this goal. Mission statements often feature flowery, idealistic language that doesn’t talk about what your company really does, but rather, the principles that guide your day-to-day operations. On top of that, the language is often ‘we’ (company) centric rather than ‘you’ (customer) centric, which is proven ineffective in copywriting. For example:

The Mission Statement on the Coca Cola website

(Any idea which company’s website this mission statement belongs to? No? That’s not good.)

When considering the appropriate content for your website, ask yourself: “Do my prospects want to read that I am committed to providing outstanding customer service?” That statement is vague at best, and anyone can make that claim and still be crappy at customer service. Real proof of this claim, such as mention of an actual customer service award or percentage of satisfied customers revealed in a survey, would be much more convincing.

Replacing the Mission Statement

So what kind of information should you include in your About Us page? Mostly, it should be real facts about your company that demonstrate your experience and skill — things that a customer wants to know when deciding whether you’re worthy of his or her hard-earned dollars. It shouldn’t be about the ideals that guide most businesses. It should literally be about your company, and the unique features that make it great.

Better than a mission statement:

  • How long you have been in business
  • The professional experience of your management team
  • The kind of customers you’ve worked with over the years
  • Any awards you’ve received (that speak to customer desires)
  • Links to other pages of your site that offer more information on your products and services
  • Contact information or a link to your Contact Us page
  • Any other unique facts about your business that demonstrate your sheer awesomeness

Moving Forward

If you’re a designer, web marketer, or business owner establishing a website or refreshing one, please ditch the mission statement and replace it with something worthwhile. Your mission statement belongs in your business plan, in the back of your mind, or framed prominently in the boardroom. On your website — it’s ineffective, space-wasting filler.

(In case you’re wondering, the mission statement above belongs to Coca Cola.)

One response to “The Mission Statement: Your Website’s Worst Enemy”

  1. […] let’s clarify that a manifesto is not a mission statement. As this article says, a mission statement can be your website’s worst enemy. Mission statements tend to be […]

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