I know a mid-size company that spent over $600,000 just three years ago on a website along with some branding.
Now I suppose that within a certain context that number could be business-justified, but the fact was that this site and branding had a major problem. It was all about the company instead of their customer. $600,000 had bought them a lot of displayed chest beating, a fancy animated logo on every page, and ‘clever’ phrases peppered around the site focused on how wonderful they thought their service was.
Take a look at your site. Count how many of the words, video, and images are bragging about you versus how much of that space and time is dedicated to helping your site’s visitors.
“But wait.” you say. “Isn’t the purpose of our web site, advertising, and collateral material to tell people how great we are so that they’ll buy our stuff”?
That’s the traditional way of looking at marketing, but think of what your customer cares most about. You or themselves? What is top of mind when you visit a website? The problem you’re trying to solve.
You’re hoping that the website will illustrate what they do, but only within the context of solving your issue. Are they talking to you or are they bragging about how terrific they are and about all the incredible success they’ve enjoyed (money they’ve made).
How can you engage your customer?
First, talk to them. Is the language on your site predominately filled with “we”, “ours”, and “us”? Or it is “you” and “yours”? Do an audit of just that and you might be shocked by the result.
Are you asking for their name and email so that you can send them your ‘newsletter’ filled with all things wonderful about you? Or are you offering them something valuable in exchange for their information?
Are you making statements about you more than asking questions about them?
Are you being generous and obvious with ways to reach you or have you simply hidden a link to a contact form in the back reaches of your site footer?
Perhaps it helps to use the analogy of a retail store. Are your site visitors greeted with a version of “let me know if I can help you.”? Or do they walk in to a barrage of SALE signs and employees hidden behind the checkout counter?
Think about what you appreciate as you click to a site, and offer that experience to your visitors.