Client -Attractive Websites: Tackling the "Who" question

Previously, we talked a bit about what a well-crafted website can do for your business: boost visibility and credibility, get you more referrals from colleagues and customers, even shorten the sales cycle by putting key information where prospects can easily find it. Of course, those aren’t the only reasons—you may have more, depending on your business.

So, now that you know what a great website will do for you, you’re ready to start putting it together, starting with your home page. Right?

Well, maybe not.

For a site to be truly client-attractive, it has to answer — very clearly — the basic questions for your prospects. Only then will they find your services compelling enough to give you a call.

To make sure you cover all your prospects’ questions, I’ve adapted the classic “Five W’s and an H” formula and applied it to the process of making a website into a client magnet. Over the next several months, we’ll take a look at these questions and how the answers translate into great web copy.

Who’s your prospect?

Website or no, one of the first things any business has to do is define its target market. After all, marketing to the entire universe is expensive, tiring, and pointless! If you’re not clear on precisely what customers you serve best, how will your ideal prospect know if that’s him (or her)? No one ever thinks of themselves as being “just anybody,” so why market to a group that nobody belongs to?

But how do you start identifying your target market? Here are some suggestions:

Look for common denominators among your clients. If you’ve already got a substantial client base, start writing down common denominators. If you are in a business-to-consumer market, do most of your customers tend to be in the same age range, occupational category, or education level? If you’re selling B2B, are your clients in specific industries or of a certain size?

But don’t stop at demographics like these. Think, too, of psychographics. What situations do they commonly find themselves in? What emotions are they experiencing? Identify both the demographic and psychographic components of your target market, and you’ll be way ahead of most of your competition.

What’s the “low-hanging fruit” for you? If you’ve been in business long enough, you’ve developed a sixth sense of who’s ready to buy and who’s just shopping. Think about the last time you made an accurate “snap judgment” about a prospect’s ability (or willingness) to go to the next step in the buying process.

What about that encounter tipped you off? Again, write these observations down. Once you see it on paper (or on screen), the patterns will become clearer.

Who’s your “dream client?” Go ahead, fantasize a little! What kind of clients would you love to land? Is there a market segment that really excites you? An area where you have a special knack? Let your mind wander (with pen in hand, of course) – you may be surprised where it will lead you!

So what’s the goal here? Eventually, what you want is a section on your website like the Who I Work With page I wrote for a recent web copy client. This business coach identified four typical client occupational profiles as well as a common set of problems her clients come to her with.

The result is a page that prompts ideal prospective clients to say, “Hey, that’s me!” while allowing less-than-ideal prospects to filter themselves out.

And if you find this exercise a little daunting, don’t worry – so do my clients! This question and the one we’ll cover next month are the two hardest for most people to answer. But they’re critical to your success with a client-attractive website.

Next up: the “How” question!

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