Your Customer and You
Your prospective customer has questions about you. Where's the first place they're likely to look for answers?
Sadly, your wonderful “Big enough to serve you, small enough to know you” public image probably isn't going to be enough to walk that customer out to their car and drive them to your store so they can ask your friendly and knowledgeable staff.
They'll probably just walk to the nearest computer and invest a few keystrokes, don't you think? And if your website doesn't deliver answers, they'll find them:
1. on someone else's website, or
2. a discussion string where you risk being reduced to what a detractor said about you, or
3. they'll fill in the blanks using information gathered from the shadows of their own suspicious mind.
Think like your customer for a moment: A company's website is silent on a subject. Why might this be? “At best, they're out of touch and behind the times. At worst, they have something to hide.”
How many people do you suppose are looking for answers online?
Clear Channel Communications, the world's largest mass-media company (with 1,100 radio stations and 870,000 billboards) is currently courting suitors for a possible takeover. Google, an internet search-engine company launched in 1998 by two college kids, is on the short list of possible buyers. Clear Channel's market value is currently 17 billion dollars. Google's market value is currently 145 billion dollars.
So let me ask you again: How many people do you suppose are looking for answers online?
Does your website provide these answers?
In 2007, your website will need to deliver: Information. Clarity. Truth.
Your website should be a window into the soul of your company:
1. Anticipate your customer's question.
This is why you must embrace persona-based writing.
2. Answer the question transparently.
Statements that don't ring true will score against you.
3. Make the answer easy to find.
This is a function of website architecture.
Does it surprise you to learn that most website programmers think exactly backwards from how customers think? An organizational hierarchy that's perfectly logical in the mind of a programmer is often frustratingly illogical in the mind of a customer.
Your website architecture dictates your customer's experience. Architecture has nothing to do with graphics. Did your website have an architect? Or was it designed by the programmer? By the graphic artist? By you?
A programmer asks, “Does it function?”
A graphic designer asks, “Does it 'feel right' and represent us well?”
An owner asks, “Does it say what I want it to say?”
An architect asks, “Did the customer find their answer?”
Mass media says, “Create traffic first. Answer their questions after they arrive.”
Search engines say, “Create answers first. Store traffic will be created by the answers you provide.”
Your website should be a relationship deepener. Having already interacted with your expert, open-all-night website, customers will walk into your store the next day already sold. We're seeing it constantly.
CONFESSION: Most of what I've shared with you today was gleaned from my daily chats with the Eisenberg brothers. A few minutes with these guys saves me a lot of time and money.
You may recall that earlier this year Jeff and Bryan's newest book exploded onto all four bestseller lists: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today. These brothers consult many of the largest and most successful companies on earth.
Would you like to experience 3 days worth of face-to-face training with them? Jeff and Bryan are donating 3 days to help build everyone's business who helped build Engelbrecht House with a donation of at least $1,000.
Why are they doing this? Because we believed in them 6 years ago when they launched their company from the basement of their parents' home. The world-famous Eisenbergs are first-year AcadGrads who remember the old days when they were struggling and we were there for them.
With their help, you can look back on 2006 as the old days when you were struggling and they were there for you.
The door is closing soon. Jeff and Bryan and I would love for you to be here at the Academy Nov 29 – Dec 1.
Roy H. Williams
How Advertising is Changing is a free download you'll find in the Freebies section at WizardAcademyPress.com
WARNING: If intensity irritates you, please skip next week's Monday Morning Memo. Just hit the delete button when it appears in your inbox. It's a tacky tirade, a restless rant; something I had to get off my chest. It has nothing to do with business.
But everything to do with success.