This week I have had several calls with clients and prospective clients. In preparation for those calls I generally do some online research. I take a look at their site, social media, blog etc. A lot of the time, I cannot tell what their business is actually about until I speak with them. Often this still dosn't help me. Why? As they still can't clearly explain what they offer and to whom. I'm not perfect, I find this difficult also.
I was helping a student out with her business ideas and I sketched out the below to help explain the main points of our conversation. I am a visual learner and love to whiteboard my thoughts. With a lack of a whiteboard to hand I sketched the below on a piece of paper. (excuse the quality and ink marks)
My marketing isn't working
I hear from business owners and senior managers that their marketing isn't working. "We need a new website/manager/team/agency <insert excuse here> before we can do anything else."
Pause. Breath. Listen to what I am about to say.
Your marketing efforts are not working because you don't have a positioning statement and defined buyer personas. You can have the prettiest looking website and most stunningly beautiful logo or ebook but it will be a wasted effort until you know who will be using your website and for what purpose. The same goes for any marketing effort. The next time you send out an email or create an ad.
Ask yourself :
a) Who is this for?
b) What is its purpose? OR what action do I want people to take?
A template for crafting a positioning statement
I/ WE [Provide this service/ value/ outcome] FOR [This type of company/ industry/ market] BY [using this kind of approach] BECAUSE [Why]
Questions to answer to help you create a buyer persona
- What is your persona motivated by?
- What are they looking for?
- What is your personas professional background?
- Where or from whom else is this person getting information about solutions?
- What are his/her needs?
- What is his/her biggest challenge?
- Where do they live online?
My Website isn't working
I have been asked to review a few websites recently and give feedback. Mostly, I seem to be giving the same advice.
Just because you have a website doesn't mean magic will happen. Like with anything in life. The more effort you put in, the more you get out. My father always says "consistency is the key to success, just keep at it". This was often said to me when I found something very difficult or challenging. I just wanted to complain and get sympathy but I guess he has a point.
However, you do need the right type of effort to get the rewards. If you want your website to improve after you have defined your positioning statement & buyer personas. Do two things :
a) Tell your visitor what you want them to do
b) Give them a reason to do it
Just because you say subscribe to my newsletter, dosn't mean they will subscribe. If you say "click here to download the ebook" on your Call to Action button. Dosn't necessarily mean they will click and download. Give them a clear and compelling reason to do so.
Using the structure "I will help you to....so that you can....." is a great way to convey this message on a page.
"I will help you train your marketing team so that you can be more productive"
"This ebook will help you to optimise your website so that you can get more leads"
A Checklist for websites or landing pages
Can you tell if the above website offers a service or a software product? Often we assume too much. We assume they have heard of us, they know what we do, what we can offer etc. Don't assume anything. It's your job to make sure they know...
- Who you are?
- What you are about?
- How you can help them?
- Why they should buy/ sign up?
- How they can buy/Sign up if they are interested?
Navigating your website
Choose 5 or less buttons on your navigation. Make it simple and clear. Remember people are generally coming to your website to solve a problem. Help them out. Make it easy for them to solve that problem by navigating your website easily.
- Use 5 or less main navigation sections
- What information are people generally seeking when they come to your website? e.g. Pricing, products, services etc.
- Make subnavigation clear and helpful
If I don't know Imediately what you do or it's not easy for me to see if you can help me with my problem. I will click away from your site and go to a competitors site.
You may find some of these concepts are familar to you. However, I’m hoping there are a few new thoughts in the mix that spark some ideas about how you can more easily communicate what you do to others. Take the good bits home to your website and play around with them. Find out what works best for you and let me know how you get on in the comments below.