Everyone wants to be known for something. In the business world we call it branding. When you think of any one company you think of something either consciously or subconsciously that tells you if you want to go into a store or not go into a store, visit a website or stay away, or if you’re going to buy or not buy.
What you think of is related to how you perceive a company through the experience that they give you?
Companies each year spend millions of dollars just on branding and trying to create an experience for you both offline and online.
Offline that could be in the form of:
- A logo
- Color schemes
- A store layout
- Types of products they offer
- Quality of products they offer
- Price points of products they sell
- Quality and training of the staff and how they interact with you
Think about it for one moment. When you think of the following stores you have a perception of their brand and they are all different:
- Mercedes vs Ford
- Sears vs Macy’s
- Walmart vs Kmart
- Tiffanies vs Dollar Store
- Spencers vs. Hallmark
- McDonald’s vs. On The Border
It’s easy to identify a brand offline and think through what makes them different. Online it gets much harder to do.
For one you only have a few seconds to make your initial impression and second in order for people to create in their minds an identity that is your brand and in order to do that they have to experience you repetitively.
It’s more than looking at your logo and your layout, it’s the whole package. It’s the process of building competency and trust and helping people begin to understand who you are, what you’re about, and how you can help them.
In my opinion, people tend to get stuck on the wrong things when it comes to creating a unique experience online that gives them a reason to keep coming back.
2 Ways Not to Build an Experience That Tells People What You’re Really About
I’m going to propose a few ideas. Some of them may be controversial and some you may flat out disagree. You may think I’m nuts for what I’m about to share. If so, I would love to read your ideas in the comment section below.
Don’t Rely on Your Web Designer to Create Your Brand
Don’t do it! Don’t rely on your web designer. I didn’t say don’t listen to their input. However, some web designers are really good at making it look like they know it all when it comes to helping you build a website or online presence.
Let’s get real for a moment and if any web designers are reading this article I hope you’ll jump down and comment.
For one, web designers are not generally business people. They are creative types who have been trained and shaped by one industry that is disconnected from the rest of the business world. Unfortunately, IT people, graphic designers, coders, social media and search engine optimization freelancers are generally in the same boat.
Web designers don’t take the time to learn how to build and run businesses very often. They learn how to use color pallets and layouts.
Have you ever had a web designer talk to you about your market, competition or industry? Has one ever sold you on understanding what’s happening in your market or industry and offer you suggestion on how to better connect with your audience by solving their problems because they researched your company and talked with you from a business point of view before making recommendations on your website?
Probably not, in fact most sales meetings go like this:
Web Designer: What would you like in your website?
Company: I researched these company websites and I like this, this, and this
Web Designer: We can do that… I will charge you $x.xx
Company: Great, when do we get started?
This is how we get business websites that don’t create an experience or unique brand, don’t say anything or mean anything, and very few people really visit it or stay on it very long. Building a website and doing it right is hard work. It can take months and lots of planning and hard work if it’s done right.
Website designers by far and wide are not business people and are not trained in understanding your business, marketing, or how to help you. They are trained in WordPress, coding, CSS and a few ideas of how make your website look great.
They are creative types who can make a website look nice and not say anything.
It’s not their job to help you decide what goes into your website or how to create an experience. That’s up to you. It’s their job to create the environment or conditions so that you can decide how you want to do that.
Don’t Rely on Yourself to Create Your Online Brand
How many of you have created a website and love the results you’re getting? That’s what I thought. Very few do. Check out this video… I have personally experienced conversations just like this one:
Everyone wants more traffic, more prospects and more customers from their websites. Everyone wants more with less.
By less I mean:
- Less effort
- Less work
- Less thought
- Less strategy
- Less intentionality
- Less time
But we all want more results. Think about it for a second. Does it really work that way?
You may spend a lot of money to create a tool that stinks in the eyes of your website visitors who are your prospects.
At that point does it really matter what you think if they don’t like it?
Every year I work a few companies who think they know more than they really know.
“Here is what I want, give it to me!”
Okay… I give it to them and in a few months they are not happy and guess whose fault it is?
It’s not MINE! It’s yours!
You thought you know it all. You know layouts and navigation and how to create an experience for people because you looked at five of your competitor’s websites. What if they got it wrong? Yep, you created one your visitors didn’t like or couldn’t understand how to quickly and easily get what they wanted because you didn’t think about it, you just took ideas from others and didn’t think it all the way through.
The truth is you don’t really know how to do this because it’s not what you do. That’s okay, there is nothing wrong with that at all.
I don’t know how to put up dry wall, paint the right way, replace the engine in my car, fly a large airplane, run a crane, sell perfume and makeup, install windows properly, run a soundboard…
Why should I pretend if I hire these people that I know more than they know?
What Should You Do to Create a Great Online Experience for Your Website Visitors?
I want to propose a few quick of ideas of what you can do to create a great experience that helps earn the opportunity for business through your website.
Be Yourself and Stop Copying Others
In a recent article titled “Dare to Be Different and Reach More Prospects, Buyers, and Earn Raving Fans” I started the article by saying:
“The internet is full of articles by different people that all say the same thing in a slightly different way. Just browse the marketing blogosphere and you will discover titles that have similar headlines like “7 Ways to…” or “Five Ways to Gain a 1,000 Twitter Followers?”
After a while, it all starts to look the same. It’s as if we are taking other people’s content and just re-writing it as our own. No originality, thought or uniqueness.” ~ Don Purdum
How do you learn to be yourself when everyone else around you is telling you if you want more traffic you have to copy what others are doing?
Okay, they don’t say it that way, but it’s true. I was reading an article the other day that literally said we ought to follow the influencers who are writing topics that get lots of comments and social media engagement because they know what people are looking for and want information on; and then write on the same topics they are writing on.
REALLY? Are you serious?
What if that’s not your expertise? What if you don’t know anything about it? What if you don’t care?
Why are you chasing traffic?
You will never truly build a following that is loyal if they keep finding the same topics re-written again over-and-over.
Stop doing that and find your own unique voice.
Being Different Will Bring Results That Will Speak For Itself!
You are your brand! You are what makes you different, interesting, relevant, compelling and worth following.
I’m living proof. Since April of this year, I’ve been blessed to create relationships online with many influential bloggers, business people and speakers that have created some amazing opportunities for me. It didn’t happen by accident!!!!
Just the other day Enstine Muki dedicated his blog to my influence on his thinking in his article “3 BAD reasons why your business Stinks and Sinks!”
I’m mentioned weekly in one way or another in several blogs of how I helped someone and Is share the links in my Saturday morning roundup called “Marketing News from Those in the Know”.
And, people tell me in the comments of my blog how my articles help them. Here are a few samples taken from recent of how I resonated with them:
“Not only your posts ideas are unique but most of the solutions you suggest in your posts are not stereotyped. This has become your brand if someone has to get anything amazing he just needs to visit your blog and find some awesome stuff.” Mi Muba, ~ Be a Money Blogger
“If we hadn’t already had a delightful phone conversation Don, this blog post would have inspired me to phone you!” ~ Deborah Tutnauer
“Don – your message is loud and clear here and I appreciate that.” Jane Sheeba – DoSplash
“Don! I love it when blog posts give action steps that can be taken right now to make a big difference. This does just that. It’s clear, thorough, and sound advice. A MUST read for business owners.” Angela Brower-Hobbs
“Don, the other day I was talking about how great a guy you are and how glad I am to know you. I feel that you are going to be invaluable for my own site” Sylviane Nuccio
If you read through the blog comments I get on all of the articles, you will find these themes over and over again.
Does it really get any better than this?
Do you think that people who are making money from their websites, no matter if it’s direct or indirect, are doing so because they have taken someone else’s voice and viewpoint and made it their own?
How many music stars have built long lasting, sustaining, profitable careers by singing other people’s music? Music is music in some ways, right?
If you listen to certain genres you know U2 immediately when you hear them. How about John Mellencamp, the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Maroon 5, Madonna, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood… I could do this all day long.
Each one has created their own unique brand that has defined them and we love them for it!
Do the Hard Word Inside Your Business
Whenever I look at a small businesses website I can tell you immediately who is in touch with their business and who is not.
Because their messaging is clearly thrown together just like the rest of their marketing and presentations.
It’s clear that they never worked on their business.
Here is a hint and of how I prospect at a networking event. Most networking events allow a 30 or 60 second introduction to your business. The minute I hear:
- We do…
- We sell…
- We offer…
Or anything like that, I know the business owner has not invested the time in seeing their business from the public’s point of view.
They have never taken the time to:
- Learn what business they are “really” in. If you’re in the plumbing business you’re not in the plumbing business. You’re in the get the house clean smelling business, lol… or anything other than plumbing. Your homeowner doesn’t care that the pipes are too small they only care that the house smells or they have no water because a pipe burst.
- Learn what problems you “really” solve. You probably don’t realize it, but you have in all likely hood hundreds of practical, real world problems you solve for your customers. They way they think about it what you do is probably very different than how you think about it.
- Who do you solve the problem for? It’s not everyone I assure you. Not everyone wants “you.” I know, I want everyone to like me as well.
- How do your products and services serve as a solution to their problems?
Now to the hard part…
When it comes to creating your brand how do you help people identify with you via your website where you only have a few seconds to make your first initial impression?
This is where defining your purpose for marketing is critical. You have to know “why” people are on your site and “why” they might buy from you.
From there you create multiple strategies, measurable and specific goals, and objectives (also known as tasks) to fulfill the strategies. (I talk about this more in my article titled “What is the Real Reason You are Not Getting Traffic to Your Website?”)
You have to create a reason for them to contact you and that is called a Call-to-Action. You do that via text, image or video. I’m going to do that for you in just a few paragraphs.
Once all of this is done, then you can start laying out your website’s look and feel, its sitemap (that’s like a flow chart that shows how one page relates to another), its content and pages.
How Do You Create the Right Content?
We have a coaching program that walks you through this process step by step by asking you to first work in your business.
We work with you to help you answer the questions above and then create a package you can use to develop your content.
There are a lot of benefits to this program for not just your online marketing but in every aspect of your company:
- Learn what business you are “really” in from a marketing and messaging perspective.
- Learn how the public perceives you.
- Identify specific target audiences.
- Learn all the problems you solve from the customers point of view.
- Learn how to better communicate with you target audience as they learn your language (both online and offline).
- Learn how to position your products or services as a solution to your client’s problems or needs.
- You will have enough information to build content on your website that will benefit the site visitors.
- You will have loads of helpful information to help a copywriter, social media or search engine optimization company know and understand your business.
- Changes to your messaging company wide through print marketing materials, networking, or if they use other online media like social media, press releases, blogging, and more…
If you’re not getting the results you need or want, then you already know you have to change what you are doing.
If you don’t work on your business you are putting your business at risk and you limit yourself to competing with your competition strictly on price.
What do you want to be known for? How do your prospects perceive you and what reason do they have to buy from you when they come to your website?
Do you have anything meaningful to say to them that affects their world and helps them be better at what they do so that they can sell more and make a positive difference in the world?
If you want your website to work for you, you have to work for your website. You have to give them an experience through how it’s built and what it says that they can identify with and keeps them coming back for more. You have to be interesting, different, relevant and compelling to THEIR context if they are going to reach out to you and buy from you.
Here comes my call-to-action; If you don’t know how to provide an experience for your website visitors that gives them a reason to connect with you and then buy from you click here to visit the Begin Here page and learn more.
Latest posts by Don Purdum (see all)
- Closing Sales: How to Use Video to Close the Deal - May 26, 2016
- Build a Website: Find Its Purpose and Get Results - May 25, 2016
- Hire a Web Designer: How to Find the Perfect Match - May 24, 2016