Some of the most powerful improvements one can make in their website presence are often the simplest (and often overlooked): When prospects researching your company arrive at your website, do they understand in the first 10 seconds what you do? and how are you differentiated from your competition?
The job of a marketer is to present their business’s solutions in a clear and compelling manner to help drive awareness, interest, demand and conversion to sale. Armed with an arsenal of media, content and technology via SEO, SEM, Advertising, Social, PR etc., marketers cast these “hooks” out into the marketplace, draw them to their websites, and finally, lure them into conversion.
Knowing these “hooks” have led them to your website, you have a precious few moments to convince this prospect that they have landed in the right place to solve their problems, or leave a confused prospect to abandon and look elsewhere.
Sounds easy enough, but more often than not, we find ourselves advising clients on this very topic and it is easier said than done. We like to think “what we do” is obvious, but individuals researching solutions are actively going through the thought process to answer: Does this company do what “I” need?
Prospects will often see an ad, get a peer reference, read an article, etc and inevitably check out the vendor’s home page to learn more.
Clearly placing yourself in the right category is often the best place to start.
You might think this is overly elementary and unnecessary. The following example will walk you through a scenario that illustrates it’s anything but that.
In this scenario, assume you are accountable for driving the pipeline for a marketing technology software solution.
You’ll likely immediately start doing research on all the ways your solution is great (after-all, marketing technology is now a mature category, so no need to explain, right?).
Know you are not alone in your market
Before jumping straight into “me” space, you must realize there are about 8000 marketing technology vendors to choose from, each doing very unique things.
More specifically, within the marketing technology landscape, your offering is a campaign management software solution designed to automate marketing campaigns and help drive leads. Definitely more specific. However, you must now acknowledge there are still about 50+ brands promising the same outcomes vying for the same business.
Assess your competition
So what are the competitors in this space saying? As you do your competitive research, ask yourself: Are these competitors making it clear what category they play in and what they are offering? Is it possible they too thought that expressing which specific category of martech they serve was obvious?
The irony is, in all of these examples, the brands actually do marketing campaign automation. The trouble is, many weren’t clear at all, and some prospects may have moved on. Those vendors may lose a viable lead (in so many instances, because the brand was trying to be clever, or felt it’s already obvious what they do). This happens everyday, and it happens across startups, and even large, mature organizations.
How might you address this?
Applying your learning
Looking at a different category, we have a security company who sells security software. Is this clear? They claim to deliver the promise of XDR (extended detection and response), so maybe they are competing with end-point security solutions that promise the benefits of XDR?
Unfortunately, people researching for this specific type of solution are researching and comparing security products in a very mature and well established category of Security Automation and Orchestration (known as SOAR).
How would they know they were in the right place?
Beyond redesign work which brings numerous additional benefits we won’t cover here – look at how simply a new approach can signal to the researcher/visitor there is a new, innovative solution in the SOAR category.
In the update, a visitor is clear to read on, confident they are in the right place without wasting time.
Think of the immediate advantages you have simply making things clearer, up front, helping prospects at the crucial start of their journey.
It’s worth noting global brands with top of mind awareness like Microsoft, IBM, Google don’t need to explain themselves on their corporate homepages (we all know who they are) – but dig deeper into specific solution areas like cloud computing, or security – and you’ll find – even these mega brands – have to be crystal clear they are playing in the category.
We can’t understate the ease with which the changes/updates can be made
Therein lies both the opportunity – and the real monetary risk.
Risk or reward is 100% up to you.
Now, let’s say you’ve done that well.
You will still need to address another, critically important question, “how are you different?” (remember there is a sea of solutions offering the same thing you are).
This is a topic we’ll cover on another day.