Telling your story – Its what a website should do!!

A great example of a site incorp. News feeds, Blogs, and Twitter and FaceBook updates

People buy from People they Like …..

People buy stories not Products

… but its the product and your Brand story not the promotion that combine to build business

The old days where it was all about promotion, advertising, selling… but it’s now about engaging, conversing, two-way communication rather than shouting and your website is a key tool to build long-term communities of support for your Brand.  People these days want to feel some ownership of a Brand  if they support it and via Web 2.0 tools and tactics this is made easy.

So as with everything when designing, planning, building a highly effective website make sure you Begin with the End in Mind.

John Jantsch the man behind the Duct Tape Marketing – Blog, Podcast and Book is a master at providing practical marketing advice for Small Business. And when it comes to website content we share some very common opinions and views.  So below I present my ideas (greatly influenced by reading John’s book and how to do Good Content for your website.

If it’s in your marketing profile it should be on your website … and it should be in your words and those of the people you help….so make sure all materials are in sync and where possible re-use the same content … its quicker, easier, cheaper and consistency is everything..

“I like to use a case statement as the home page content. Dont waste time with some sort of “Welcome to our Website” message. Hit your visitor with the most compelling marketing copy you have.”  John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing.

But make sure it’s not laced with Marketing speak and meaningless babble .  Keep it concise and to the point as you would if someone stops you in the street and asks you what you do these days ….  so No Worlds best practice, market leading etc etc .   People want to know what you can do for them and why they should trust you… and will give you the minimum of time to convince them to read on.

Say what you be  …..  but be what you say.

And then back up this short compelling opener with – Your Brand Story in Your Words and testimonials that back you up throughout the site … preferably in video but as a minimum have a picture to go with any text.

And then think about what you would like to see if you were your own best prospect …

  • Whats different about you … why choose you over others.
  • How do you operate … what can people expect from working with you
  • Your story told your way
    • “Tell them your story in an open, honest. and entertaining way, and you will win their hearts as well as their heads.” John Jantsch
  • A profile of your ideal client/s …  so I can easily see that “we” are a god match
  • A single clear and concise statement of the products and services you provide
  • As many case studies as you have that are relevant to the claims you make
  • And a list of clients … so that as a prospect I feel good about the company I will be keeping

So now that you have sorted out the sort of things you need to say you need some professional help to put it together – Someone that can sort out the most costs effective design, technology and above all strategy to make sure that the Right People find you. So forget about HTML, SEO and find someone to bring all of the right resources into play to make sure that you end up with a powerful marketing weapon that is closely aligned to your corporate goals and ethics.

Above all

– Keep It Simple

– Start each page with a Powerful headline backed by a well presented intro paragraph

– Keep navigation simple ….  make sure you test it out on a few people first… and create links to every page and lots of text links within pages to allow for a variety of ways that people will use the site.  For example if there is a term you use often set up a link to an explanation/definition.

John in his book also presents a list of “Shoot the Web Designer if they ……”

  • Suggest Flash intro pages – look great but serve no purpose unless your visitors are seeking entertainment
  • Suggest Frame pages – search engines don’t like them
  • Suggest templates – they are inexpensive … and look it … and wont allow you to match your key identity elements at all well

But make sure you site incorporates Your Blog, Your Status updates from Twitter and LinkedIn, Links to your Facebook Fanpage. …  preferably embedded in the home page as per the example above.

Also provide

  • Free Resources that are valuable to your visitor
  • Article and case studies that are relevant… esp if written by you or referring to you
  • Ability to syndicate content via RSS
  • Creative Commons Content that may be useful to your visitors .. another freebie that adds value

And above all do all that you can to help people find you via what ever form of search they use.