1. Not all traffic is equal
I think most of us know this, or at least think we know this. An organic visitor who Googles you is not the same as someone who types in your URL directly from your business card.
So why are we showing them the same thing? Why do so many of us trump the perks of landing pages and targeting traffic, but flop when it comes to our own sites?
Here’s one thing I learned that I think is really clever:
On your business card, instead of putting http://yourcompany.com, try: http://yourcompany.com/hello – or maybe even a separate domain altogether. Imagine meeting someone at an event, giving them your card, and then they pull up your site later and see something that starts out with, “It was great meeting you! Here’s how I can help you…”
Additionally, if you get coverage, run paid ads, or put a link back to your site in the footer of your clients sites (emphasis mine!) why not get those visitors to think, “Holy crap – this guy is talking to me!” by setting up individual landing pages for each source of traffic?
2. What’s in it for me?
If you’ve read my book, you know I cover this extensively (starting on p. 81) But if you haven’t, here’s the truth:
No one cares about you (it’s harsh, but pretty accurate.)
All they want to know is, “If I hire Brennan, will I make more money than I spent?” This means tailoring your messaging around the pains that your services fix. If you design logos for a living, you help companies look more professional – you don’t create vector artwork. At least according to your clients.
3. Less “I/we”, more “you”
This sort of goes along with #2, but people want to know that they’re being spoken to. We spend hours and hours on our copy and designs, and too often are guilty of promoting how awesome we are instead of what they want.
4. Give them a carrot
Want to really impress someone? Want to set the stage for how someone should engage with a consultant like yourself?
Offer a free whitepaper or report that educates somebody about something that relates to their business. If you offer SEO services, what about a guide that covers the basics of SEO and how it relates to small businesses in exchange for an email address?
This will do wonders in establishing authority (your authority) and eroding any trust barriers the client might erect. If they don’t reach out to you on their own after reading your material, gently nudge them with a “I saw you downloaded my report – I’d love to answer any questions you might have about SEO” email.
Do this and the amount of qualified leads you get through your website will literally skyrocket.
5. Drop the jargon
Let’s turn the tables for a second.
Website A is full of empty platitudes – baseball gloves, the Hoover Dam… it reminds me of those inspirational posters that end up in corporate breakrooms.
Website B says,
“Some lawyers claim to speak in plain every day English, but it is amazing how often they slip back into legal jargon and confuse the heck out of clients. At Approachable Lawyer, we have “no legalese” guarantee. That means that if you find anything on this website or in one of our products which you do not understand we will translate it for you without charge. Simply let me know what you don’t understand by emailing me and I will personally respond.”
Website B – shut up and take my money.
A lot of our sites are closer to A than B, unfortunately. Clients don’t usually care about open standards, clean code, WordPress, or whatever else. They do care about making more money, getting more customers, and other things that generally keep them in business.
6. Marketers have already blazed the trail
It’s hard to compare our websites with product websites (that sell ebooks or whatnot), but there are a lot more similarities than differences.
People who have marketing budgets that need to create a positive ROI have figured out for you what gets people interested and motivated to buy, and it’s time to take decades of research and apply it to your site:
- Pain: People need to know they have a problem before they buy a solution. What pains lead people to hire people like you? And remember: some pains are false proxies, and are really just pointers to deeper, hidden pains. Does someone need a new website, or do they need more customers?
- Solution: OK, so what does this pain look like when you flip it upside down? If you’re sopping wet and stuck in the rain, the solution is to get out of the rain (the inverse), and not an umbrella / piece of cardboard / cozy building. Which leads me to…
- Offer: What can you provide that leads people out of the dismal world of today’s pains to a pain-free tomorrow? This is your jargon-less offer – why hiring Brennan will solve the pain they’re facing (which you’ve already shown them you sympathize with.)
- Objections: This is where you want to respond to questions you know a lot of your prospects are asking themselves. Can she really deliver? Is she affordable? Is she someone who won’t go missing in action?
- Testimonials: Testimonials that say “Brennan was great to work with!” are pretty much worthless, but testimonials that talk about how you’ve positively benefited a business are gold. The viewer now knows you can relate to their pains, that you know what they want tomorrow to look like, that you’re the right person for them, and that you have a track record of helping other businesses.
- The Call To Action: This is your moment, the convincing is done and now it’s time to get someone to act. This might mean a form field to swap an email address for a free report, or it could just be a phone number or contact form (these are obviously as a must.)
Things To Try Right Now:
- Do you include links back to your website on all of your client projects? If so, update these links to point to specialized landing pages for each of your clients. Imagine the headline: “You’ve seen what I’ve done for Company X, here’s how I can do the same for you…”
- Tally up all the times you’ve written “we” or “I”. How can you rewrite your surrounding copy to focus on your prospective client and their needs instead of yourself?
- Is your services page drowning in jargon? Scrap the features (Ruby, PHP, Photoshop) and tout the benefits.
- Are your testimonials bland? Get your past clients to write a few sentences about how you’ve made their business more successful, and not just that they had a blast working with you (trust me: there are better places to spend money to be entertained than hiring consultants.)
- Are you sympathizing with the pains your clients face? Are you painting a picture of what life could be like without those pains? If not, right this wrong.
- Do you have a clear call to action that offers a carrot? Is it immediately obvious how someone can get in contact with you? Does it require squinting at a footer or a lot of excess clicks?