Monday, 25 July 2016

The Harsh Truth About Websites

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I feel privileged to work in what I believe is a dynamic and exciting industry and I'm lucky to work with a diverse range of businesses, large and small, throughout the UK and beyond. I've been doing web stuff since 1995 and I still think it's amazing, it still excites me.

In this post, I want to share some of my experience about what it takes to use this amazing medium successfully because in my view many businesses are still confused. I'm not talking about the technical stuff because that isn't the hard bit. Just because it's techy and you don't understand it doesn't mean it's hard, it's just not your thing! Don't sweat it.

In this post, we're going to ignore the tech because there are people who'll take care of that for you, in this post we're concentrating on the really hard stuff, the stuff you need to understand, the business stuff.

Start With, Nobody Cares

Harsh? Yeah. True? Yeah.

Your husband/wife/partner/family/friends care, somewhat, about your business. Not as much as you think, but somewhat. Strangers, however, don't care. To them, your business is simply an entity that might or might not be able to supply a product or service that will solve a problem or need they have. This is a great starting point when thinking about your company's website.

Putting yourself in the position of your customer is hard but lead generation agencies, such as us, do it for a living. We understand that people don't care about your business, they only care about solving their problems. So you need to develop a deep understanding of the problems and needs your customer has. You need to care about this, a lot.

Think About the Problems Your Business Solves

Amongst other things we create websites, but the problem we solve isn't the need for a website. The problem we solve is the need a business has to be found in Google search. Having attracted the right traffic from Google search the next problem we solve is to persuade the website's visitor to engage by calling, emailing or filling out a form. To encourage engagement we need to give the visitor a reason, some sort of motivation for them to make contact, such as an article that helps them or a download that educates.

This is known collectively as inbound marketing (attract, engage, convert).

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In short, the business problem we solve is the need a business has to find new customers. The websites we build are vehicles for that but not, in themselves, what our customers need. We know this and we use it to great effect as a way of finding and securing new customers.

A simple example of this is a car. People don't buy a car because they want one (OK, some do). Most people buy a car so they can get to places in a convenient way. Many people in big cities such as London don't own cars because there are easier ways of getting around.

Do You Understand The Problems Your Company Solves?

So what does your company really do? If you're an IT company for example, what's the main problem you solve for your clients? Do you fix their computers and keep their networks flowing or do you help them work efficiently and effectively? Knowing this takes you a long way towards knowing your customers and this is really important. Julie's working on a blog on this subject so look out for it.

I can't stress enough the importance of knowing who your customers are and the problems they have and this is what your website needs to be heavy on. That's the stuff people care about, that's the content they're searching for.

OK, Now It's Over To You

So there you have it, the harsh truth about what your website's for. It's way more than a platform for telling people you sell X or do Y. It's a platform you should be using to show your customers you understand their PITA issues. It's a platform for solving problems, building trust and showing your thought leadership. Get that right and the customers will flow in, guaranteed.

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More in this category: SEO, Design, inbound marketing