THE GREAT WEBSITE FRAUD
by Martin Grunstein
I like IT people. I really do! They are sweet, caring human beings who need recognition and respect like everybody else……… but they are “helicopter heads” and they should not be allowed to talk to the general public!
Yet most websites have been created by IT people. And most websites are terrible!
There are two pages that should be on EVERY website and I bet they are not on yours.
The first is a page called WHY CHOOSE US.
Most websites have a COMPANY HISTORY page or an ABOUT US page which gives background information on the company e.g. Bill used to work in a bank but left and founded BILL’s FINANCIAL SERVICES in 1993. He is passionate about customer service and he loves kittens.
Guess what? Nobody cares!
All prospective clients want to know when they visit your website is “what can you do for me and why should I contact you and not your competitor?” They want to know what differentiates you from your competition. They are not interested in your life story or your mission statement. They want to make a decision quickly, in as few clicks as possible, as to whether they will contact you and most COMPANY HISTORY pages and ABOUT US pages do more harm than good. They sprout a lot of clichés and rhetoric that actually turn customers off rather than encouraging them to make contact.
Here’s what should be on your WHY CHOOSE US page: Your years of experience; the range of services you provide; the awards you have won; your qualifications and expertise you have that not all your competitors have; what you give back to the community; your environmental policy; your QA accreditation; your industry association membership; your personal accessibility; guarantees associated with your product/service etc. etc.; and anything unique about yourself and the services you provide.
It should be in bullet point form and it should be OBJECTIVE making it easy to compare your offer with that of your competitors. You DON’T say subjective things like “I care about my customers” and “our staff are friendly” because even the companies that don’t care about their customers, say they do, so why should I believe you and not them?
The WHY CHOOSE US page is for purely OBJECTIVE criteria in the decision making process. E.g. you have 30 years experience, the competitor has 15 years experience – advantage you; your product has a ten year guarantee, your competitor’s has a 20 year guarantee – advantage them; you have QA accreditation, your competitor doesn’t – advantage you etc. etc. so the customer can make a decision based on the facts. And they can make that decision quickly.
I am not saying you don’t have other pages on your website. You may have a page on the explanation of your environmental policy but on the WHY CHOOSE US page you say you have taken action to minimize your carbon footprint (and if people want to read more they can click on your ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY page and they can read about it in full). But many people WON’T want to read all about your environmental policy in full, they just want to get a feel for whether they should consider you in one or two clicks.
The second page that should be on EVERY website is WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY with glowing testimonials from satisfied clients talking about how great your service is. If YOUR CLIENTS say your staff are friendly or that you act with honesty and integrity, I will be much more likely to believe it than if you say it about yourself.
If you look at the success of websites like tripadvisor.com and the importance of likes on Facebook, the marketplace is saying “I don’t believe the seller, I believe the buyer”. This is an indisputable fact. If you take the travel industry, look at the changes. Many years ago when planning a holiday, you got a whole lot of brochures from hotels and destinations and you made your decision based on what they told you about themselves. Nowadays, you don’t even go to the hotel’s website, you go to tripadvisor.com and read what people who have stayed at the hotel said because you trust them more than you trust the promotional material of a hotel.
Understanding that this is the way consumers are making decisions, you NEED to have testimonials on your website because the perception is that if you don’t have testimonials, you don’t have happy customers. Yet, most websites don’t have testimonials!
And you need to use testimonials correctly.
Firstly, you need to get the client’s permission to use their testimonial on your website which most people will happily give you but if they don’t you need to respect that and not use it.
Secondly, you need to put their full name and title if it is a corporate e.g. Martin Grunstein, CEO, Success Communications Pty Ltd; and their name and suburb if it is a consumer e.g. Mr. Martin Grunstein, Kensington. Why? Because testimonials are about credibility and verifiability. I have seen websites with testimonials from “Mary” or “Mary, Sydney” and that’s just ridiculous. Those could be made up for all the prospect knows. It is a very rare person that checks the veracity of testimonials by ringing the person to see if they are true but for testimonials to be credible they must be verifiable if the prospective customer wants to confirm their validity.
Another tip with testimonials is to never have a date on them. If you are lazy and don’t regularly update the testimonials on your website and there are dates on them, it looks like you have gone a long period of time without a happy customer.
And a final tip on testimonials – have LOTS of them. On my website I have over 30 testimonials. I don’t suggest that all my prospective clients read every one of them but I want to create the first impression that I have LOTS of happy customers. And a key part of business is creating a good first impression. I see some websites where the company talks about being in business for over 50 years and they have two or three testimonials and the first impression is “50 years in business, three happy customers”. Not a good first impression.
Another thing you may not realize is that the testimonials page talks about the RESULTS of what you do and that’s the picture you want to put in a prospect’s mind.
Unless you are running an online business, the purpose of your website is to get prospective customers to contact you. And in this world of short attention spans, you want people to be able to do that as quickly as possible. The ideal path for a browser should be HOME PAGE – WHY CHOOSE US – WHAT CLIENTS SAY – CONTACT US.
A major change I have made to my own site is to have video excerpts from live presentations ON MY HOME PAGE. When booking a speaker, people want to see them present live so my video is my strongest selling tool. I also have a CONTACT ME button on the home page as well. This enables people to book me with a minimum of clicks – HOME PAGE – WATCH VIDEO – CONTACT MARTIN (all on the same page). Some of the browsers will go to the WHAT CLIENTS SAY page and some will go to the REASONS TO BOOK MARTIN page but I have had a number of clients say to me they googled customer service speaker or keynote speaker or whatever, clicked on my site, watched some of the video and contacted me straight away. That’s wonderful. It was my job to make it as easy as possible for them to contact me.
Have a long hard look at your own website. Do you communicate the benefits of doing business with you succinctly and on one page? Do you have testimonial evidence to prove that the claims you are making are true? And can people get enough information to make the decision whether to contact you in two or three clicks? If not, you have an IT FRAUD WEBSITE and it is probably costing you money.
The changes above are simple and inexpensive to make and if the IT guy tells you they are not, get another IT guy. When it comes to the very important business of marketing, and your website is one of your marketing tools, it is important that the marketing guy does the talking and the IT guy does the listening, not the other way around.
Martin Grunstein’s outstanding results with over 500 Australasian companies across over 100 industries has made him this country’s most in-demand speaker on customer service. He is contactable by phone on (0414)933249 or through his website www.martingrunstein.com.au
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