Let’s take a trip back in time, to a day not too long ago where things were quite different in the business world.
A time when an entrepreneur – back when being an entrepreneur meant you we’re “figuring sh!t out between jobs” – had an idea, and started a business.
They’d spend some time figuring out the logistics, then hit the road hard and build their business. They knocked on doors, make cold calls and talk to anyone who had ears about their idea. They worked day and night, wearing out shoes and eating rejection for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And as the famous Bell Curve would indicate, after sufficient effort, once they’ve amassed enough action, once they’ve primed that old water pump long enough the water (a.k.a. money) would flow! Of course, we’re talking massive action continually adjusted into the right direction – let’s not even get into massive action (“hustle”) in meaningless directions!
Like trying to get a 50 tonne ship moving, it takes incredible effort, energy and cost just to get it going, but boy once it’s going it only takes consistent action to keep it going.
As time passed and technology advanced, these now major companies would start to get into the digital era and put up snazzy websites that looked like a million bucks. And those beautiful website were far and few between because, well, they cost a small fortune to build!
Fast forward a few more years to a time where most kids can build some of the most visually stimulating and satisfying websites out there from the comfort of their mom’s basement, and now we’ve run into a real problem.
Today, thanks to the ease of website creation, thousands of “companies” are popping up on the web, and they all look like million dollar companies. Yet as many are finding out, those websites are simply NOT working. And business owners are left scratching their heads.
Why is it that a website that looks fantastic not drum up traffic by the bucket loads?
The fact is that most website out there don’t have a real business behind them, they simply have a website that talks about a some mythical business that, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to exist anywhere except in the mind of it’s creator.
Unfortunately, this has jaded us all, and websites have lost their pull, their attraction and worse, their credibility.
Many web designers will have you believe that a beautiful website will lead to sales and riches, but the truth is that some of the ugliest websites out there make a killing, while state of the art sites are rarely visited and couldn’t sell water in the desert.
So why is this happening? Why is your website dying, not pulling, not converting, or worst – completely dead?
You see, most websites are nothing but tombstones.
It’s a place that marks your business, proof of existence, but aside from random strangers who stumble across it, only your family comes to visit.
Sure, you’ve got your stone. You’ve marked your spot among all the other tombstones websites, but in reality everyone’s just surfing on by, without taking even a second of their time to glance over and acknowledge your presence.
The biggest problem of all is that most websites are simply there to talk about themselves. “Here lies my company, in all it’s glory, loved by it’s owner, ignored by everyone else.”
And here’s the thing about tombstones, even the fanciest of stones only garner an extra glance at best.
Here’s the thing: most web designers are exactly that, web designers. They are NOT marketers. In fact, often times a marketing department and a graphic design department don’t see eye-to-eye simple because one wants it to stand out, to clash, to draw attention and scream “STOP! READ ME!”, and the other wants everything to blend seamlessly, to have soothing colors, easy on the eyes, no jagged edges, etc.
The challenge, especially on the web, is finding a balance between the two. Your website, at the very least your home page (or, if you’re sending traffic to a landing page) needs to be visually satisfying while still written and designed as a powerful sales and marketing piece.
Do you remember back in the newspaper days… what location was number 1, which spot was the absolute best place to put your ad? First page (cover), and above the fold. That meant that if a brand new, unopened paper lay on a table, your ad would show. anything after the fold or on a separate page required the paper to be unfolded, opened or turned over. Of course, this spot was also the most expensive!
Now fast forward back to the digital era, above the fold is everything you see the moment you land on a website and don’t have to scroll. That’s the money right there. Yet land on most websites and the very first thing you see is a big beautiful image (which is okay) with text overlay that usually says something like “Best ____ in this city!” or “Highest quality of ______ in town!” or “winner of X super-duper award because we’re the best!”
I’m always amazed at how many small and medium sized businesses STILL don’t understand the power of being BENEFIT driven. That first line of text they read is your headline, it should be strong, compelling, attention grabbing and convince me that it’s worth it for me to start scrolling.
Let’s play a game… I’m going to do a quick search “social media agency” in google and open up a random companies page.
Okay, I got one. I won’t say who’s it is because I’m not here to take anyone down, but if they’re reading this I hope they learn a few things and make some positive changes 🙂
The headline, the very first phrase I read is “contact us today for a free social media audit”.
Imagine if you walked up to a total stranger in a bar and said “here’s my number, call me if you want me to see how well you perform!”. OUCH!
Now, to be fair, that same approach can be used, but the wording needs to be tweaked. For example, starting with “contact us” without even an opt-in box nearby makes the user have to jump through more hoops just to take you up on your offer.
In business, it’s all about LOWERING the barrier of entry, reducing the amount of hoops they need to jump through and making every step they need to take as EASY as possible.
Using the same approach they’re using, what if they changed their headline to something like this:
Are You Making These 6 Profit Crushing Mistakes On Your Social Media? Discover 2 Simple Ways To Eliminate Them And Open The ‘Cash Floodgates’ In Your Business. Enter Your Email Below For A Free Audit.
And of course, there’d be a spot directly below for them to enter their email, which would utilize a double opt-in procedure and a world class automated follow up system.
Okay that takes care of “above the fold”, now let’s start scrolling…
Next I read a tiny (It’s a tough one to read!) paragraph that says “XYZ is a revolutionary marketing agency that takes an unconventional and sophisticated approach to generating leads”.
Although I do like the use of the words unconventional and sophisticated, one phrase always keep in the back of my head when doing copywriting for clients is “SO WHAT?” or better “WHO CARES’ or best “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” or the real kickier “PROVE IT!”.
“revolutionary marketing agency” means???? Not too sure. Could very well be true, could be that they have one of the most technically advanced strategies of all time, but without proof, without some verification or at the very least testimonials surrounding that paragraph, it creates doubt in the mind of the client.
Think of your clients as though they had a mental checklist, on the right side it said “TRUST” and on the left it said “DOUBT”, and as they went through your site, they were adding checks on either side of the box. When you say something lavish like “revolutionary” without any immediate backing it’s a check on the DOUBT side. Why? Because we’ve all been burned, we’re all jaded and we’ve all been “wowed” by fancy words before. The second it sounds too good, it builds up the doubt side.
Another important point to remember is to answer your clients objections before they even come up. This is sales 101.
When you make a claim about being the best, or being revolutionary, or even about driving profits through social media, the objection in the clients mind is “yeah, right, everyone says that”.
What if you opened like this…
Social media marketing agencies are like diets, there’s a new one that comes out every day, all claiming to be better than the last, but the truth is most simple don’t work. They seduce you with fancy pitches, right when you desperately need a lifeline, then abandon you when the going gets tough.
At XYZ, we’re in the same boat as you, and we’ve heard enough horror stories to make our stomachs turn. And that’s exactly why we’re driven by results and use unconventional yet sophisticated approaches to ensure your needs are met. And we’re here for you every step of the way.
Now that’s just off the top of my head, and still needs work, but I think it’s a good start, and with a bit of testing can be fine-tuned to be a work of art.
Let’s keep scrolling… Next up is a brief “about us” section that, quite frankly, doesn’t really make any sense so I won’t even touch it… But here’s what you need to remember (again!) it’s about the consumer, the client, the prospect, NOT YOU.
So, if you want to say “we’re a team of professionals who (insert word vomit here)” then tell me why I care.
“We’re a team of professionals who specialize in going above and beyond for YOU and your business, delivering the greatest returns and emphasizing maximum market penetration”
And lastly, nearing the bottom of the page, they’ve got a section titled “your marketing specialist” with photo’s of each team member and their title.
I’m okay with that, and I don’t mind showing WHO you are, because people BUY FROM PEOPLE, but here’s my two cents on staff pics…
You either need to be full on professional, or laid back, there’s little room in the middle. If you’re going to wear a suit, for heavens sake get it fitted properly. If it looks like you lost 100 pounds and haven’t had your suit taken in, please lose the suit. Even 50-cent wears a fitted suit. Everything else he wears is falling off, but his suits are fitted!
And if you’re going for casual, that’s okay too! Just remember who your market is. Even Gary Vaynerchuk admits that his attire and his profanity turns off a percentage of his market, but he’s accepted that is is OKAY. He’s openly said he’s lost deals because of it, but he’s aware of it and adjust his business and efforts in other directions accordingly.
Let’s get back to websites real quick before I wrap this up…
If you ask MOST small business people if they’ve had any actual sales come from the website, most will say no. Sure, they’ve had friends and family tell them it’s great and beautiful, but you can’t pay rent with compliments.
I challenge you to turn that first page your clients land on, whether it’s the home page or a specific landing page, into a killer sales letter. And I know what you’re thinking… “but a picture is worth a thousand words”. Perhaps, but my experience has shown me otherwise. I’ve found I can have far greater impact with 10 000 WORDS than any image. Heck, even pornography needs the words “buy now” to close the sale!
Use your images, but make sure the content is user-driven and written by a professional copywriter and watch your sales change.
I hope this helps 🙂
To your success,
P.S.: Oh, one last thing… EVEN if you make all the changes I recommended and have an incredibly powerful sales page, you won’t get a single sale and won’t make a dime. Why? Because you’re missing the traffic. Don’t make the mistake of hanging up your shingle and expecting people to walk into your store. It rarely happens. You need to drive that traffic. And without traffic, the greatest clickfunnels opt-in page is useless.