It’s really easy to lose sight of WHO your website is for. We all know it is for our customers. In fact, I would argue it is for the people who aren’t our customers yet but who we really want to be our customers. TRUTH is that we are all guilty, us included, of designing our sites (and other marketing materials) and writing our content the way we know how to. Worse yet we are all are guilty of designing and writing for our personal tastes and styles not for what would be most effective in reaching new costumers.
We all need to stop doing that and we need to start zeroing in on our target audiences.
I read this article about a business owner who has over 2 million monthly subscription customers. He spends a majority of his time writing, editing, re-writing and fine-tuning their website and marketing content. The E-myth (great classic book about small business) teaches us that we need work on our businesses not just in our businesses.
So here are some simple challenges to all of us:
- Study your front page / landing page – Is it geared for new customers?
- Look at your language – Is it clear? Is it proper? Does it have your customer in mind? Are you too wordy?
- Does your website navigate easily for the most important information?
- Do you have a clear call to action?
- Have you any idea how much traffic your site is getting and other important statistics? (Link it up with Google analytics)
- Spend 1-5 hours EVERY WEEK fine-tuning your messaging on your site – Learn how to make it the powerful tool that it can be for placing you first in your market category.
[Ryan also writes for RedBikeLeader.com - engaging & developing young leaders]
Whenever something takes longer than the predetermined time I have alloted for it, I can feel my satisfaction and enjoyment waning. On the other hand some things in life need to be extended: mountain bike riding, a very nice meal with my wife, a good fight scene in the movie and a much needed Sunday afternoon nap. But, finding a critical piece of information or receiving a needed service are not among those items.
Unashamedly, I like to fly Southwest Airlines. Online check-in is quick and easy (although I do have a suggestion about how to make it quicker) and boarding is a breeze. Today I found myself riding ‘twinkie’ on a very full flight to Atlanta via Delta. I don’t love Delta. The online check-in was very SLOW, requiring me to visit 3 more screens than S.W. and also much less user friendly. The ‘boarding’ process had 7 zones, people still mysteriously crowd up to get on and amazingly they found a way for it to take longer getting on. The beverages cost money PLUS they are slow in coming, the airplane & internal tv’s are OLD and even though I could pick my seat, I still have to ride in the middle cause that is all that was left.
I expound on all of this because when it comes to websites, service companies, responses to needs in the world, finding vital or common information, telephone & email interactions… ALL OF THEM should be quick and easy. WHY? Because people just like me and you have already experienced that they can be, so now we won’t find it reasonable or enjoyable to experience anything contrary to that.
this commercial has a GREAT spin on name recognition, humor with the obvious and not taking yourself too seriously – who won’t remember this the next time they are needing some quick money for their gold? (how many of us can really relate to that anyway?)
I hate to be the guy to tell you this, but YOUR ideas are getting stale.
OK, maybe not all of them, but that is what most people in your office, market place or in your store are probably thinking. Even if you have a creative and interesting idea to help you gain new customers or have greater impact in communicating your message, the likelihood is slim that you have the time or the creative resources to pull it off. YOU are all alone on this front. There is a reason that vibrant, compelling and creative movies are the result of teams. Sure, there is a mad genius or two with a vision, BUT it takes a team to hone and harness that full potential of a great creative idea.
So, I ask you this very important question…
WHO is on your creative marketing team?
Who are the people sitting around the table that want to throw random ideas out, laugh, think, research and dream about what your organization could be? Who are the mad, sick, talented and fresh artists that are developing your designs, web site, ads and essence of your product or message? Are you communicating precisely and in such a way that it captures the most important seconds of your audience’s attention and imagination?
Your potential in the market place or in the non-profit sector is limited by the team you have surrounded yourself with to “get the message out”. If you are doing it by yourself, I will be the one to tell you that you are in serious trouble. So, the challenge is, why haven’t you engaged more people beyond yourself yet? Where have you gone looking for creatives that ‘get’ your industry and also ‘get’ the power of creative messaging? Go on, get started. Find them. Start here. Ask around. Risk investing a little time and a little cash in getting the product or message that you believe in out to the people who really need or want it.
Is your product or service as bad as your web site?
For some of you out there in business or leading a non-profit I certainly hope not. However, chances are really good that your web site is seriously effecting your credibility with the very audience you would most like to reach. Regardless of your end pursuit, your web site communicates MANY things (not always positive) to the very people who you would like to engage. Consider this, your web site is like the clothes you wear + the words that you say – it needs to have a purposeful look and a crystal clear message!
When you stand face to face with your potential consumer you are certainly mindful of what your first impression is and the key words that will come from your lips in your first meeting. Why not have your web page do this as well? Some common pitfalls (as Matt noted here) are easily avoided when you engage a professional design company. The DNA of your organization will now be able to come through. The look and feel that you have worked so hard to achieve in your store, office, product or worship space can now be caught from the web. The power and importance of your message can be clear among the clutter. And, perhaps most importantly, your potential audience won’t CLICK AWAY or tune you out because your web site has the ‘built on my home PC’ essence.
Let me show you 3 examples contrasting ‘professional development’ from ‘personally designed’. I think you will be able to see clearly which sites best communicate credibility.
Do some thinking on your web site today!