If you prefer to listen to this article please click the link Designing a Customer-Focused Website
You’re at a dinner reception. The stranger next to you strikes up a conversation.
It only takes a few minutes before you realize: “This guy’s completely self-absorbed.” No matter how hard you try, every topic leads back to him. Soon, you find yourself inching away.
Guess what? You can find the same thing on the web. Sites that are egocentric. More interested in talking about themselves than solving customer problems. However, unlike the dinner reception situation, your escape from a self-absorbed website is quick and painless.
(Although there are offenders across the board, the biggest culprits seem to be business-to-business companies and small- to mid-sized firms.)
To heck with product benefits or helping prospects and customers solve their problems – the narcissistic website dwells on the company’s spectacularly engineered offerings, their superior manufacturing techniques, the brilliance of their people, the company’s offices. Is there a place for bragging? Sure, but it’s secondary to the customer’s issues. Too many websites forget this.
When you consider that the average visitor has an attention span measured in seconds and that he scans the web instead of reading every word, a narcissistic website has the same effect as a narcissistic tablemate: it turns people off.
In contrast, an intelligent website doesn’t leave a visitor stranded, searching for the customer benefits of the company’s products or services. It:
- Provides clear statements that are customer benefit oriented
- Supports its claims (often using customer and third party support)
- Proactively addresses potential objections
- Ushers the visitor into a dialogue
While prospects and customers care a lot about the companies they deal with, they care first and foremost about their own needs.
The underlying concept is simple and an underlying marketing communications truth. The most effective marketing communications put your customers and prospects first, not your company. By focusing on customer and prospect needs, you are more likely to fulfill your company’s needs.
As obvious as this statement would appear, it is similarly obvious that many marketers don’t really follow it.
A Quick Checkup to Find if Your Company Website is a Narcissist
Pretend you are a customer visiting your company’s website for the first time. Write down five key concerns you have related to purchasing these kinds of products or services or choosing a company that you feel (or marketing research indicates) reflects the key concerns of your target market when researching companies like yours. Spend up to one minute at your website. Close the browser. How many of your five key concerns were addressed? How well did they address your concerns? A brief amount of copy addressing a key concern and a link to more detail is fine; no mention of these concerns is not.
Did the web page copy get to the heart of your concern or was it focused on itself instead of the prospect’s needs? Use what you have learned to further test your website in front of real prospects and customers. Find out their most important problems they are hoping your website will help them answer and re-design your website around helping them.
It’s your choice: propaganda that only ends up stroking your company’s ego or profits.
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.