The conversation started innocently enough.
“I’ve had a chance to take a look at your site and, at first glance, it’s very well developed. It’s graphically pleasing and flows well. The problem is that it doesn’t do much to establish you as the person that someone should make this purchase from. Based on your site, you’re really just another vendor.”
“What do you mean? I’ve got a ton of graphics at the bottom that show all of the awards I’ve won!”
“Well, awards are good but if I’m looking for someone who really knows their product, I’m going to want the person that can explain that product to me inside and out. They need to show that they live and breathe this thing. Awards, frankly, can be bought. We need to establish you as the real deal in this industry.”
After a few moments of deafening silence (and fully expecting to hear the phone being hung up on me), the client came back.
“Fine, so how do we do that?”
Those were the words I needed to hear. “How do we do that” is why I do what I do. Now that this barrier had been overcome we could actually have a real conversation about the client and his business.
See, it used to be that all you needed in order to claim that you had an online presence was a website with a picture or two and a listing of your address, phone number, and hours. It was the digital equivalent of hanging a sign on your door and waiting for customers to come moseying in.
This worked great way back when we could isolate our business to our surrounding town or village and only one or two other people might have offered a competing good or service. Today, however, businesses have to understand that they – like it or not – are probably participating in a regional; if not global, marketplace and they need to do something to differentiate themselves in that marketplace.
For some, the immediate instinct is to start competing on price. I want you to say this with me:
Competing on price will only lead to a race to the bottom. A price-motivated customer will buy from one of your competitors if doing so means they can save a penny. This is not the customer you want.
Instead, your ideal customer is one that values not only your product or service but also the knowledge about the product or service that you bring to the table. You probably have years of experience doing what you do. It’s what motivated you to go into business in the first place. And that, dear reader, is what we’re going to sell.
This product or service of yours isn’t just a commodity to be offered for the lowest possible price. It is something that you have nurtured for years and your customers will have those years of experience standing behind every purchase they make from you.
The question is how we use your web presence to demonstrate that.
Well, it just so happens that you’re doing business at the greatest time in human history for those who need to demonstrate their expertise in their marketplace of choice. Your website is so much more than a sign on a door. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day a year (or more…they keep working on leap years!) marketing powerhouse that serves one purpose: delivering your message to anyone who will read it.
Your strategy, as a result, needs to focus on four key ideas:
- Attracting visitors
- Keeping visitors coming back for more
- Establishing your authority with those visitors
- Converting visitors to clients, customers, or advocates
We’ll tackle each of these, and more, in future posts. Since this is the first post on this topic, I wanted to keep it nice and basic. But, for now, think about what your website currently does to attract your ideal customer. Are you casting a wide net and going after everyone you see or are you being selective and targeting your ideal customer and working to bring the perfect solution (which, of course, is you!) to them?