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Articles filed in: Marketing

The One Thing To Remember About Website Traffic

Of course you want more ‘traffic’ to your website. After all;





Behind that ‘traffic’, every statistic, every blip on your analytics, every search term that brought them there. Behind every Tweet, Like and +1 is a person just like, you who wants to matter.

Think about that for a second. They too scraped ice off the windscreen this morning, took their kids to soccer practice last night and commuted to work so they could pay next week’s grocery bill, or next semester’s college fees. And they found you by sitting on the other side of this screen searching for something beyond information.

Remember them every time you sit down to post, design a product, or open your shop doors and you’ll do your ‘best work’, the kind of work that earns more than just traffic and eyeballs and authority.

Bonus — 56 tips on how to get traffic to your blog from Seth Godin.

Image by crazy stitch.

What Makes Ideas Matter?

Ideas are formed in the mind, but triumph in the heart.

Your fabulous, worthy, well thought out ideas might have logical foundations. Logic though is not what will convince people to rally to your cause or click the ‘Buy Now’ button.

So begin everything from where your audience is. Set out to deliver to them the feelings they want to feel. Your idea must matter to them, not just to you.

Image by Madridmobs.

Building A Currency Of Trust

It’s tempting when selling your product, service or idea just to focus on what it takes to make a particular transaction happen. That transaction might make a dent in the balance sheet in the short term, but it’s important not to lose sight of what will make a long term difference to your business and to focus on the legacy of the interaction.

The purpose of each interaction is not to sell your idea
or your answer.
It is to foster the next interaction,
to build a currency of trust.

Now more than ever as our networks expand and we operate in the global village, far beyond our neighbourhoods, legacies are built on tiny transactions and leaps of faith.

Trust is built over time. Bit by bit. Interaction by interaction. Doesn’t matter whether that’s in your cafe, your studio, or on your Facebook page.

So how do you focus on building the legacy of every interaction?

Image by Meredith Farmer.

Brands Are Shaped By The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Coffee chic is not merely a creation of Starbucks, no more than flawless design is the singular domain of Apple. What these companies do with a clever brand story, is make it easier for us to buy into the wants that we associate as being part of our story.

What we actually believe to be the truth about the brands we love has as much to do with trendy interactive spaces we enjoy lingering in and exploring, as it has to do with products we consume or want to talk about.

Brands are what customers perceive them to be,
and never just about what marketing departments communicate about products bought and sold

Back in the 70’s you could tell a story about who you were depending on which brand of doll you played with and what kind of bicycle you owned. Those stories you told yourself mattered almost more than the things themselves, just as the stories your clients can tell themselves about doing business with you today matter.

What story can your customers tell themselves when they visit your website, use your product or walk into your cafe? Is it the one you hoped they would be telling?

Image by Miguel Jimenez.

What Should Your Website Do?

What you want your website to do is probably very different from what your customer wants it to do. The trick (as with most elements of your business), is to build for customers and community first to realise the benefits for you later.

“A website turns a stranger into a friend,
and a friend into a customer.”
Seth Godin

You want your website to:

1. Be on the first page in Google.
2. Send customers.
3. Boost credibility.
4. Convert browsers into subscribers.
5. Change followers into fans.
6. Connect you to the right audience.
7. Make you money.
8. Increase your business, bottom line or popularity.
9. Make you look, bigger, better, stronger, faster.
10.Tell a story that people want to believe.

Your customer wants your website to:

1. Be exactly what they were looking for.
2. Give them a solution to a problem.
3. Tell them the answer.
4. Help them to understand.
5. Entertain or educate.
6. Connect them to people, ideas and things they care about.
7. Save them time.
8. Save them money.
9. Be clear and show them the way.
10.Focus on their wants and needs.

How is your business catering for your client’s wants, while fulfilling your needs?

Image by Alexsi Aaltonen.

Pick Yourself

Do you remember the feeling of helplessness in a junior team line up at school, as one by one the captains and team leaders of the moment chose who was ‘in’? Remember the fear of being last, of not being picked and the feeling of having no control over your destiny. As economies tank, and traditional business models break down, we are beginning to question what security is. We’re evaluating the actual value of being picked and weighing that up against being masters of our own destiny.

Since some reports say that 80% of jobs aren’t even advertised and are filled through networks and recommendations, it seems that picking yourself might be an excellent strategy.

“Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.”
Seth Godin

Backing your own dream without a safety net seems scary and yet when you look around you at the people you most admire, who have created not just businesses but legacies, you’ll find that they are the ones who have drawn their own line in the sand and dared to cross it.

Tom Fishburne a Harvard Business graduate picked himself the day he left his well paid job to follow his dream of being a cartoonist.

Angela Lussier self published her book Anti Resume Revolution and started a career consulting business on the back of it.

David Mc Kinney and Stuart Hall didn’t worry about the 425,000 other Apps in the iTunes store, they just focused on solving problems and building ‘killer products’. Their Discovr Music App was number one in 28 countries.

Abigail Forsyth was appalled by the amount of waste generated by disposable coffee cups, so she set about doing something to change human behaviour and launched the award winning Keep Cup in 2009, selling 800,000 cups in the first year alone.

If you want to work with a dream client, find a way to show them what you could do for them.
Mike Kus did exactly that when he realigned the Innocent drinks homepage and posted the results on his blog. He may not get the Innocent gig, but I’m betting he’ll land a clutch of other great offers.

Christina and Sandra didn’t wait for publishers to contact them. They wrote and blogged and shared and built communities. They picked themselves and their ships sailed in.

Self selection doesn’t rely on privilege, education and hierarchies. Our world is littered with examples and role models of self selectors, who didn’t wait and wonder. Don’t let tradition, gatekeepers, HR departments or sports captains stand in the way of you making your mark and creating ideas that matter.

What’s your take on this?

Image by Treetop Mom.

How To Write Great Website Copy

So you’ve got the crash hot website, the perfect calling card for your business. Fantastic! There’s just one problem you’ve got to fill it with engaging content that not only showcases what you do but gives potential clients a sense of who you are and how your business can help them. I’ve stared down the barrel of empty web pages…. often, so I feel your pain.

Where do you start and what is the best way to position yourself digitally? I found some useful tips in The Little Black Book of Business Writing whilst browsing at the airport recently (why are all the best books right there under your nose to tempt you just before you fly?). This handy little volume is an easy read and has sections devoted to different areas of business writing from proposals to resumes, minutes to media releases.
So what did the Little Black Book have to say about writing website copy?
1. Avoid slabs of text, use short paragraphs, catchy headings and incorporate graphics.

2. Never stop talking, don’t lose your voice. Write your side of a terrific conversation

3. Tell a story with elegant simplicity rather than by enumerating accomplishments.

4. Don’t waffle and use generalities, use compelling real world examples.

5. Break your business story into five or six categories-your tabs and use them to position you.

6. Greet your reader and show them the way in. Tell them who you are, what you think and how you define yourself and your work.

7. Don’t feel you have to say everything. Your website should start a conversation not stop it.

8. Make prices, dates, places and details easy to find using dot points and colour.

“Use writing to do business,
not to sound like you’re doing business.”

Great advice!
What’s worked for you? What challenges do you face when writing your service descriptions or website copy?

Image by Image Abstraction.

How Do You Differentiate Yourself?

Life’s too short to sell things you don’t believe in. ~ Patrick Dixon

Often the real value of the work you do isn’t what gets delivered in the package, during the session or in the ebook. In order to differentiate you need to really understand the effect of what you do, sell, offer or deliver to people. I hope you’ll consider asking yourself some of the questions on this list and maybe add a few of your own.

1. Why do you do what you do?
2. Does your story really define what you do?
3. What makes you, your product, service or business stand out?
4. What makes it blend in?
5. How is your product different?
6. How is your service special?
7. Are you delivering on your promise, original, unique, fastest, flexible, enduring, best?
8. Can you create a new market and do something that hasn’t been done before?
9. Can you reinvent something that’s already been done and do it better?
10. What do people care about right now?
11. What’s not selling today that might, if you marketed it in new ways tomorrow?
12. Could you produce something enduring, that’s scalable?
13. Is it possible to create scarcity?
14. How is your product compelling?
15. Is your name evocative?
16. Does your work start conversations?
17. If not how could you make that happen?
18. Are you giving people a sense of your purpose and values?
19. How does your product or service make people feel?
20. What’s your legacy?

Image by Thomas Hawk.

How Virgin Wins With A Better Story

Good Story means something worth telling
that the world wants to hear. ~ Robert McKee

Every time a customer encounters your marketing they are filling in the blanks. Their perceptions about your business are being etched in their minds and if you’re doing a great job, in their hearts too over time. All marketing beings with a great story. A true story that your customers want to believe in.

You are telling your story with design on your website and words in your copy. Piece by piece from your product to premises, packaging to profile photo, music to mission statement, you are sending out clues about what it means to do business with you.

Every detail of your story
is part of the interface between you and your customer

Over the weekend here in Australia, our national airline was grounded in an attempt to settle a longstanding dispute over pay. The entire fleet of 108 aircraft stopped flying, leaving passengers both here and abroad stranded. A story and reputation built over decades was shattered in one day. All the taglines, refurbished lounges and commitment statements will not save you if the rest of your story doesn’t add up.

Virgin has just repositioned itself as a real alternative to Qantas for the business traveller. Virgin tells an upbeat story about improved standards, fabulous staff, putting customers at the centre of everything they do and then sprinkles it with the magic of red high heeled shoes (which Virgin Atlantic is bringing back for stewardesses). Their response to the Qantas crisis (extra flights, access to lounges and information about stranded passenger discounts), shows customers that their brand is living the story not just telling it.

Image by Kevin H.

What Story Can People Tell Themselves About You?

This is the story of two businesses. I tell it often. Two cafes, that are literally side by side on the same street. One has a shaded elevated outdoor seating area with a view of the ocean. It is bigger and has a couple of comfy couches inside, where customers can relax over a light snack. On a beautiful Sunday morning at 9am they have a sign outside saying; “Open all day, for breakfast, drinks and snacks.” There are two people sitting inside.

The tiny cafe next door is smaller. They have extended their seating area outside onto the pavement. You don’t get a view of the ocean because of the lower elevation. They have made the most of the available space by placing low orange coloured stools at little square tables. Some people miss the cafe as they drive past because it’s tucked in between the petrol station, the larger cafe and behind the bus shelter. At 9am on the very same Sunday it is packed to bursting. There are people spilling out onto the pavement and others waiting both inside and out for a table. Why?

The bustling little cafe with the orange stools does serve great coffee, expensive cakes and organic homemade food. But what differentiates them is more than just coffee. They simply make their customers feel part of something special; a shared secret. Customers who go there feel that they belong. They believe that where they drink coffee says something about the kind of life they have and the experiences they enjoy.

Behind every business statistic, reader, website visitor and customer, is a real human being who wants to matter.
People the world over care about and pay more for things that make them feel that they matter.

People don’t want experiences and things that are fabulous, cool, beautiful, empowering, trendy, delicious, sexy, cutting edge, healthy and smart. They want to be all of those things. And your business must give them the opportunity to shape the story of themselves.

People are looking for a reason to do business with you. So why not give them a great one?

Your customers, clients and readers want to feel something and they want you to help them get there. What story can people tell themselves about why you’re different, why they love your brand and feel compelled to do business with you?

*This is an open Q&A thread. Post your brand story questions, with links to your website where appropriate and I’ll answer them.

Image by Henry.