The Times had a great two part blog post last week (click here for part 1) detailing a small business’ self made website—which attracted plenty of traffic, but no sales— and asked for feedback from the Times readership on what the owner could do to improve the site.
The second part (here) goes over some of the feedback received—-much of it simple: have the same URL name as your business, write copy that talks about your strengths, put more money into it, etc… and some of it was more nuanced: “What’s missing here is passion—tell us why you do this for a living and what makes you tick”
All in all a great experiment by the times, to put a site under a microscope and truly open source the feedback.
Personally, the timing of this article could not have been more apt—see, as a self professed marketing guru (read: its’ a stretch), I am occasionally approached by friends, (see: lack of resourcefulness on their part) for simple marketing tips. So last week, a buddy of mine in the beginning stages of building a green friendly cleaning company showed me his new website.
What he had was a static page with a long paragraph about the new outfit, and a contact form. This wasn’t going to do, so I wrote out the following list of questions and tips that he and his biz partner needed to answer before they decided to put up an enhanced version of their new site.
So in our best mimicry of the times post we’re asking you to help us do the same for the Greenstone Clean site as they did for the small business in Houston. For now we’ll go over my questions/tasks for my buddy, and In follow up posts, we’ll show his new logo and the updates as they get put in for our own little experiment. But In the meantime, these were my questions for him.
The Basics: Your company and Your Market
- What do you do best
- write out your 1st-2nd-3rd value props
- what do existing companies do best
- how do your competitors talk about themselves
- How can you stand out
- Who is your customer?
- how many exist in your market?
Branding Exercise: Who is your customer?
- come up with an archetypal customer
- give them a name, a job, a company, whatever…
- list out what drives their business and then figure out value.
- Value in b2b=saving or making your customers money—which side do you fall on?
- how do you provide that value?
The Site: Architecture and feel
- break down the info you want to communicate in your website
- split it up into sections
- every section will be its own page
- look at what you came up with to put on the site—-is that all necessary?
- now—what kind of style do you want to apply?
- who are you as a company?
- what’s your tone?
- funny? serious? (think of what your customer will respond to)
- think back to your value props—-your list of 1st-2nd-3rd
- based on those—what are your keywords?
- how can you place your keywords into your copy?
Now, what I need from you is feedback:
- Did I ask the right things?
- What did I miss?
- How would you go about setting up your new business’ website?
Be sure to leave your comments in the disqus box below. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
-By Ben Malki