Your home page as a conversation

Imagine you’re at a networking event. You’re meeting new people, exchanging business cards, having a pretty good time (even if you are working). You greet an unfamiliar but friendly-looking person in a nice suit, and he/she begins the conversation:

“Hi, I’m Chris with Generic Solutions, Inc. We provide our customers with proactive solutions for systemic organizational problems to positively impact the bottom line by leveraging the employee knowledge base …” And on and on it goes. It’s a good two to three minutes before you can get a word in edgewise.

How do you feel about doing business with Generic Solutions?

Not good, I’m guessing. And it’s no wonder. You’ve been “pitched” in the most insensitive manner imaginable. You’re just another face in the crowd to Chris, someone to recite an elevator speech to. You can’t wait to move on.

Now read a typical home page from a corporate website:

“Consolidated Megacorp is an international solutions provider with locations in 20 countries around the world specializing in document management technology for a wide range of industries …”

Granted, at some point in the business relationship, this information will be useful and appropriate. But doesn’t this leave you a little cold this early on?

It’s been said people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Put another way, it’s premature to offer a “solution” until you’ve convinced your prospect you understand his/her problem. Only after you describe the problem accurately and vividly – so vividly you get a “yeah, that’s me” response – will your web visitor be open to hearing about your “solution.” When prospects are convinced you “get” them, they’re more likely to “get” you.

Instead of inundating your web visitors with corporate facts and figures, think about your home page (indeed, your entire web site) as the beginning of a relationship. Talk to instead of at people. Ask questions (rhetorically, of course, but carefully worded to hit your target market’s hot buttons). Address your reader by using the word “you” (but don’t overdo it). Remember that you’re not talking to a mass of people – you’re talking to one person at a time.

Sure, it takes a little time and effort. You’ll have to think carefully about your ideal customers – what frustrates them, what motivates them, what problem they would give anything to solve. You may even have to pick the brains of some of your best clients to get their perspective.

But isn’t making a stronger connection to your sales prospects worth it?

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