Thoughts From The Cloud: Who’s Your Website For?
A friend and I were looking at a website that I was bidding the other day when she asked me, “Who is this website for?” because it appeared to her to be the most generic site in the world. After we finished making notes, that question was still rattling around in my brain. I got to wondering, does In The Cloud have that same issue? Is it unclear what we do or who this site is for?
I took a long, hard look and I have to admit, maybe. Maybe this site has a bad case of “Who is this website for?”
Because of this incident, I rewrote much of the content. Because I’m cool like that. Now we’re back to our core competencies, but I’ll be adding a lettershop option down the road (you can still get lettershop services right now). This maybe makes more sense. If I were my own client, I would kick my ass so hard. But here we are. No self ass-kicking because my knees don’t turn that way.
Falling Into the Generic Content Trap
It’s the easiest thing in the world to fall into the generic content trap. After all, traditional advertising has largely been a numbers game. Sure, you place your ads where you think your audience is, but since there’s no great way to measure the metrics of a newspaper or magazine advertisement, you can only do the best you can do. Because you want as many customers as possible, you cast a wide, wide net. So wide, in fact, that you can’t actually catch any fish. I’m not sure that works as a metaphor, but I’m going to roll with it.
When you don’t brand with a specific market in mind, you’re failing.
When you don’t spell out what it is that you do and how you can help your customer do better, make more money, improve efficiencies or whatever you do, you’re failing.
When someone looks at your website and asks, “Who is this website for?” you’re failing.
You can’t catch all the fish in our increasingly niched marketplace. You can, however, catch the fish you really want. Want to target mothers of toddlers who need a dishwasher repaired? Show and tell about how toddlers are bad about throwing Legos into the dishwasher, causing it to fail to wash. Demonstrate your value by addressing the problem at hand. That’s content that’s very specific and pointed, but it’s also content that converts.
Here’s How You Do That…
Do you have multiple audiences that are very different? That’s ok. Just set up different site entry points for them. Let’s say you have a B2B service company and you sell multifunction printers and copy machines.
You might want to target lettershops and also real estate brokerages. The two have almost nothing in common, except that they do a lot of printing. You could have the lettershops come to you through mylettershopprinter.com and your real estate brokerages through lotsarealestatecopies.com. Each would have a differently branded index page, but the rest may be able to be shared, like offers or FAQ pages. (Please note: It’s important that you don’t copy those shared pages for each site, because Google will frown upon this practice. Instead, just choose a site to plant the shared material on and refer to that page like you would any other.)
The first step out of the content trap is realizing you have a problem. And that takes a really, really determined eye — it’s so hard to see our own mistakes sometimes, especially in writing.
Who Is My Audience? How Do I Know?
This is a question that actually perplexes me on the regular. Am I looking for the audience that needs my services, or am I looking for the audience I want to sell my services to? It’s kind of a chicken-egg situation. When I refer to your audience, I mean the people you want to work with, not the ones that you end up with. Choosing an audience requires a lot of self-awareness, along with a thick skin.
Let’s say you own a fishing boat and you take customers out to do a little ocean fishing now and again. You really want the top of the heap, high dollar types. So you invest in the advertising that should attract them to your company. But after six months, you’re just not seeing any results. Could it be because your barnacle-encrusted, barely seaworthy vessel doesn’t match the image that your marketing has created?
If you want to land a whopper, you’ve got to look the part. So, really, choosing your audience also includes creating packaging that allows their expectations to match your reality. What’s that other business saying that I hate so much? Oh, yeah. “Fake it ’til you make it.”
Where Do I Go From Here?
Step one is looking hard at your site and asking yourself the big question. Then, you need to figure out who your audience is and rewrite that site to appeal to them. This typically includes demonstrating how you can solve their problems quickly and painlessly. Although your advertisements are advertisements (aka. business pimping), you need to keep in mind that it’s not about you — at all. It’s really about your customer and their needs.
You don’t say things like “We have the biggest augers in town!” Instead, you might demonstrate your augers like this: “Giant augers get the job done fast and with little mess.” Busy parents of teenagers love fast jobs with no mess. Also, I don’t think this is actually true of augers, I’m just making up examples.
In short, if your site is for everyone, it’s actually for no one. Fix that ish. I’m happy to take a look if you’re not sure how well your page is doing its job, just shoot me an email or give me a call at 817-796-9393. I’m here to help!