I’ve been having an interesting conversation with a client over the past few days and I thought I’d recap it here as it calls up a common marketing issue that I run into time and time again. I’ll preface this by saying that what I’m talking about here isn’t a holistic business strategy per se, but that it has to do with people’s expectations when they come to a website and that even the most intelligent folks still seem to have both their intelligence and their attention spans shrink dramatically as soon as they open a web browser.
When people come to your website, they need to understand within a few seconds exactly what you do and how it solves their problem. Your customers, even the most patient among them, will not submit to a scavenger hunt to determine whether or not you’re a good fit to solve whatever problem they have.
The client I mentioned above is a business coach/consultant, and when I asked her what her primary service was, she said that she was a “change agent.” In a lot of ways, this is the PERFECT thing for her to be: from her perspective, it describes both the perfect situation for her to succeed and how she wants to help. But, from the perspective of a potential client, it’s confusing at best. I sent her this made up dialogue to describe the problem and she confirmed at it’s almost verbatim to what happens when she introduces herself to someone:
ME: So what do you do?
YOU: I’m a change agent!
ME: What does that mean?
YOU: I help businesses evolve by optimizing their processes and the way their team functions.
ME: How do you do that?
YOU: Through consulting and coaching primarily.
ME: What does that do?
YOU: It helps business owners focus on the tasks and projects that will increase revenue, profitability, or efficiency and creates an atmosphere of accountability to help ensure that things actually get done.
ME: Wow, that makes sense!
If the conversation was flipped and she led with coaching/consulting and the benefits of, I would have “gotten” her message more quickly and more clearly and then she would have a great opportunity to pull me further in by describing how she can act as a change agent for my organization.
The best thing to do is to try not to get too enamored with taglines or flowery/cliche statements — just put what you do out there as simply as possible. Try to visualize your best client sitting in front of the computer and try to figure out what sort of statement would get them to say (within 2-5 seconds), “Aha! THAT’S the help I need!” And work backwards from there.
Every now and then I say something smart so I figured I may as well capture that for posterity 🙂
We are wrapping up a handful of projects, we have about 5 sites that should be going live in the next couple of weeks and lots more work in the pipeline. One of the biggest things I need to focus on this week is preparing for the launch of our latest version of ORBTR. We’re also in the process of moving our servers from one datacenter to another which is a nerve-wracking process to say the least, but with a little bit of luck that will be all over by this time next week. More to come soon…