January 8th, 2019
Health & Fitness
Improve Your Online Presence With One Simple Question…
Does your website make bold claims? What’s the evidence? Show me! For example:
- “I have 12 years experience in family counselling…”
- “As one of the areas leading gyms we…”
- “I am a highly successful trainer who has helped hundreds of woman and men…”
My response and likely many of your potential clients is ‘So What!’. This is a question you must ask of every aspect of your own business. Stick with me for a moment…
Wiktionary defines so what as “A reply to an unimportant or irrelevant statement indicating indifference on the part of the speaker.”
The phrase is used, almost universally, as a derogative to cover statements made by others, often intended as a challenge to what has been said. It is also used to show an unwillingness to participate in further discussion. For marketing and business people it is an essential question to be asked, almost at any level. So what can be used in a constructive and effective way to test the contents of a website thus ensuring we keep to the point and not just pad it out with business speak.
| What’s Your Mission Statement? |
The leading exponents of the so what theory are often successful entrepreneurs, who will test their beliefs and assumptions to maintain focus on what they are trying to achieve. Always having the end product in sight is the key to success in any venture. A business should have a mission statement and a strategy (and, of course, a business plan) to implement and perform the tasks necessary to achieve success. Amazon’s mission statement is “to be earth’s most customer centric company to build a place where people come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”. A very powerful message from one of the largest companies in the world, and one for which the question ‘so what?’ fails on so many levels. Well done to Amazon’s marketing minions!
It is unlikely that we will have the budget or the resource to employ the number of staff that work in the marketing department of Amazon, but that does not mean we can’t be innovative in our journey to achieve our goals. It is easy to see that the phrase ‘customer centric’ is the heart of the statement and offers an immediate connection to its reader. The rest of the statement outlines Amazon’s business in a concise and clear manner. We are not recommending you take the statement and apply it to your business (there may be a few copyright issues) but it does demonstrate how powerful a mission statement is when it is well constructed. It also forms the core direction that the business should take until market forces or competitor activity dictates an alternative path.
“Your mission statement defines the core direction that your business should take”
Using a successful company to get ideas is a good way of understanding what is needed. Take a look at mission statements from leading businesses in your field before deciding what you would like to include for your new mission statement, and test it by asking so what? Get as many people involved as possible and don’t forget the most important sector – your clients or customers. Businesses that do not have a robust mission statement may be on the slippery slope to failure. Remember the old adage from school – fail to plan, plan to fail – it’s as relevant today as it ever was.
| Your mission is clear BUT what’s your strategy? |
OK, so we have our mission statement and we now know where we are going. Time to look at the strategy we intend to use to achieve our business and financial goals. There are lots of theorists on the web offering many options for how a strategic plan may be developed. Really there are three main options, which one is right for your business will depend on your mission statement. They are:
- Cost leadership
- Aiming to be the cheapest option, undercutting the competition and offering basic services, targeted at all users.
- Offering a service that is different to others and has distinct advantages or a unique selling point (USP) that customers want.
- A concentration on a small speciality of a larger discipline, aiming to become the best in field for a single purpose.
| Choose One Strategy and Stick With It |
All of above options are possible for all types of business, be careful to choose the one that best matches your expectations and stick to it. Whether you use one option or more is an ongoing debate that may continue for years to come, for a new business it is better to focus on a single strategy. Again, ask the question – you know the one by now – so what?
| How does this improve my web presence then? |
If you’ve read this far then you may be wondering what this has to do with your web presence. The answer is relatively simple; if you have a firm understanding of where you want your business to go then it will be quite easy to promote your products and/or services with confidence. Your customers need to be taken on a journey to see how you will help them to achieve their personal goals. If your goals match those of your customer then it will inspire confidence in them and they will gladly join you as a willing partner. Your website must be well designed, colourful and appealing. Above all it has to include compelling calls to action that are concise, customer centric (remember Amazon’s mission statement?) and simple to use.
Using positive language in your website statements will improve your visibility and encourage potential customers to press the button that says ‘read more’ or ‘show me how’.
- Words to avoid – can, possible, may, often, sometimes, usually.
- Words to use – will, always, every.
Finally, question every statement that goes into your website. Every page is an opportunity for you and your business to showcase what you have to offer. Make clear, positive statements that are in line with your mission statement and give your customers, both new and existing, an informative and desirable place to find what they are looking for.
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