By Jerry Bader
With today’s Web site tracking software and services you can find out a lot about the people who visit your Web site. You can learn where they’re from, what kind of browser they’re using, how long they stayed on your site and a whole lot more. But what all this high tech intelligence won’t tell you is what kind of people they are, and how likely they are to be transformed by your Web presentation from viewers to customers.
Your ability to convert Web site visitors into clients depends on your ability to find the soft underbelly of their subconscious desire. After all, if someone is happy with what they’ve already got, they don’t need you, but if they were truly one hundred percent happy, they wouldn’t bother coming to your Web site. Therefore every visitor that comes to your site is a potential client whether they know it or not.
Your Web site presentation has to find that annoying little subconscious scab just under the surface and pick at it until it becomes a full blown irritation that fosters discontent and a desire for change. That discontent is your opening to make your value statement.
We refer to this process as The Setup. Like any good presentation you cannot, or rather should not, just blurt out how great you are, but rather you have to set the scene. Like any good story, the punch line, moral or payoff only works if it is properly setup. Far too many Web site presentations suffer from premature pitch climax.
The ability to transform viewers into customers requires patience. Entrepreneurial companies tend to view the setup as a waste of time, and they fear losing viewers before they ever get to the so-called “good-stuff.” But without a proper setup, an audience is just not primed to accept what you have to say.
You can’t sell anybody anything unless they understand they’ve not been getting everything they need and deserve. That understanding creates dissatisfaction with your competition and opens the audience’s minds to what you have to offer. In short, the setup needs to touch a psychological nerve.
We’ve all heard the expression, “the customer is always right.” The fact is the customer is not always right, and in many cases they don’t really know what they want or what they should have; and sometimes even when they do, they resist it because of a variety of misinformation, misunderstanding, self-doubt, and preconceived notions of conventional wisdom. It’s your Web site presentation’s job to set visitors on the right path.
You’re supposed to be the expert in what you do, and if you are, you need to have the ability to dig deeper into what people really want, need and desire. I am always reminded of friends of mine who hired an interior decorator to furnish their new home. The decorator asked them what kind of furniture they liked. They answered that they were looking for Colonial, to which the decorator answered, “No you aren’t. What you want is Country French.” And after he showed my friends what he was talking about, they quickly agreed. The decorator knew his business and understood the clients. Yes, the clients liked the idea of the homey Colonial look they’d seen, but not being furniture experts they didn’t understand what the options were, and what kind of furniture best suited their lifestyle and budget, while still providing the homey rustic but comfortable aesthetic they wanted. Customer satisfaction is about providing what the client really wants and not necessarily what they say they want.
Let’s face it; we all like to read about how the digital revolution has opened up the business world to more audience influence, but the fact is people are influenced and manipulated and desires created through marketing and advertising as much as ever. How many Web site owners actually benefit in any meaningful way from social networking and search optimization, or do they do it because it’s expected and promoted by proponents as the tactic du jour?
If you think a particular song you like is played on a thousand radio stations because it’s good, or even because it has a following then you are living in a fantasy world. If you think the vast majority of viral videos produced by corporations go viral all by themselves, then think again.
Audiences are being manipulated and transformed into customers all the time, not because companies responded to what the public says, but rather to how the public reacts to various communication and marketing stimuli. What’s truly amazing is how bad companies are at doing it. With all of the television industries’ research into viewers, they still fail to deliver consistent quality programming that people want to watch. Every fall, new shows are yanked faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball, but the same crappy commercials live on for what seems an eternity. Television viewers are a captive audience and if they want to watch their favorite show they have to tolerate the commercials (DVRs aside), but the Web is different. If your Web site presentation stinks, nobody is going to stick around to absorb the smell.
If you think of your Web site presentation as nothing more than a digital brochure, you’re already behind the curve. Welcome to the Web on TV.
All you need is a laptop computer or one of the new gaming consoles attached to your big screen TV to access the Web on television. And as network programmers scramble to get their acts together more and more people are opting to spend their television time on the Web. Kind of makes you rethink what kind of Web site presentation you should be offering. It’s time to start thinking of your Web site as your own business channel and the content on it as programming. It’s the future, and it’s here, now.
Before Web site visitors can be transformed into clients, we have to understand who they are in terms of their mental outlook or frame of mind when they first arrive at your home page.
If you’re fed-up with social networking self-gratification, frustrated by ever changing site optimization requirements, and ineffective advertising then it’s time to re-evaluate what your Web site presentation says and how it says it.
In the final analysis it’s all about communicating your emotional value proposition using your most important venue, your Web site; delivered in the most engaging, informative and memorable manner that compels your audience to pay attention to your marketing message, and act upon it.
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a Web site design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit http://www.mrpwebmedia.com/ads, http://www.136words.com and http://www.sonicpersonality.com. Contact at email@example.com or telephone (905) 764-1246.