Recently, a client asked me for advice on the strategy of their website. I’ve written about the accidental power of your website before, and I firmly believe that when properly utilized, your website provides a tremendous opportunity to grow your business, make powerful new relationship, and cement old ones. Done improperly, your website can be the greatest commoditizing force you face.
I thought I’d share my thoughts with you (name and some data altered to protect the client’s identity):
Your website has two purposes:
- On purpose: someone looking for specific information for a specific purpose, fully aware they were going to your site.
- Accidental Visitor: There are several ways an accidental visitor can come:
- Word-of-mouth: They’ve heard about you, been referred, whatever – but they are not clear on who you are nor are they clear if there is anything they need or what they would need.
- Search query: They’ve searched to answer a question and a your page comes up.
- Blog entry or link: Similar to search query, our page has been linked to by someone for some unrelated purpose.
Actions for the accidental visitor:
- Positioning is critical. If you are perceived as an “provider,” then we are commoditized and may never get a chance.
- Beginning the conversation, content should exist on the site that encourages the visitor to come back. In essence: how does the site begin the conversation (and encourage reaching out) when there is no direct sale on the block.
- Create thought leadership. This is what will causes incoming links – critical to broadening our audience and increasing search engine positioning.
- Frame the conversation:
- What a company says about itself and how it positions itself unconsciously frames the conversation. We need to frame the conversation to be: how do you solve the problems you don’t know you have.
- Teach vocabulary: one of the biggest problems facing companies today is that their customers don’t have the vocabulary to understand the problems that the selling company solves. They think things are fine, because they don’t know any better. Vocabulary helps create awareness of problems.
- Create awareness:
- Obviously, we want to create awareness of your company
- As, or more, importantly we need to create awareness of problems that the customer is unaware of. We do this by creating diagnostic interaction that creates awareness.
Joe Pullizi at Junta42 regularly discusses (better than I do) content marketing. Joe’s ideas get right at the heart of how your can capitalize on the hidden value of your website.