We often ask company leaders to evaluate the quality of messaging on their website, and it’s surprising how often the reaction is similar – embarrassed laughter, followed by a quick retort, “we know our website needs help.”

Today, most company sites are professionally produced, so they look and flow well. Yet, no one likes their content.  It’s considered unhelpful, uninteresting, or so generic that you could replace the company logo with that of a competitor and no one would know the difference.

In other words, most companies think their website content is a mess.

Then we ask a follow-up question – what is the main message on your website for why someone should do business with your company?  We mostly get blank stares.  It’s surprising how few people even know what their website says.

It’s also surprising, and a bit disturbing, how few sales reps use a message similar to what exists on the company website.

But every now and then, we get someone who knows their website’s message.  We then ask, is it what prospects value?  Data analytics reveals what pages prospects visit most, and it can be surprising to learn that those pages containing a core message are often among the least visited.  That’s one clue that perhaps your message isn’t aligned to what your buyers want.

Which camp best describes your company?

We don’t pretend to be SEO experts, but after working with scores of companies and comparing their websites with those of their competitors, it’s apparent many are missing the mark.  Here is what we find most often:

Messaging better suited to ancestry.com.  “We’ve been in business since ___.”  Do a search on the phrase, and you’ll find more than 100 million pages have this phrase on it.  When everyone says it, it loses its power to influence.

  • Endless amounts of text.  In the absence of knowing what buyers value most, many companies throw the proverbial text against the wall in the hopes that something sticks.  Can you say zone out?
  • No value proposition is communicated.  In the absence of a true value proposition, most companies communicate what their product or service “can” do, and not on the benefit of choosing their company.  We see this in the form of sentences that begin “we will…”  “we can…”  “we promise.

Companies that focus on communicating relevant competitive advantages use less text, and have a cleaner and more concise overall message.  Less is more.  Given the short attention span of the average buyer, developing messaging that gets to the point can end the mess we most frequently find.

 

Submitted by Brian Neff, Senior Consultant, Smart Advantage, Inc.

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