Why a new website won’t solve your problems
Your competitors are doing really well right now. They’re beating you in sales, they have more customers and, oh yeah, their website is brand new. That must be the reason they're getting so many customers through the doors, right? The new website. They must've spent thousands of dollars on it and it really makes them look professional.
How do you compete with that? By getting a nice shiny new website too – of course! One that looks exactly like your competitors and you spend a fortune on it, so it must bring in some seriously big contracts, right?
Hey, I'm not saying a new website can't get you more sales. I’m sure it will, for a little bit.
The website is your digital headquarters and it is a crucial part of building a modern business. It’s pretty much a necessity, and you will be judged on how it looks and functions – but it’s not the only thing you should be focused on when trying to increase your sales and beat your competition.
A new website is not a cure-all.
If you're struggling to compete in your market, failing to get new customers or simply fading into the background, you need to look deeper into your business than a pretty new website.
To stand out in a crowded industry, you need to differentiate your brand from what everyone else is doing. A prettier website can’t do that for you.
Figure out exactly what you do, why you do it and why you do it better than anyone else.
And no, having 25 years’ experience in the business DOES NOT make you stand out. Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands of businesses trying to cash in on having years of experience doing exactly what you do.
You need to look deeper.
What is unique about you? How are you different than the alternatives?
Embrace them and promote the hell out of them.
Sidebar: Don’t freak out if you don’t know what they are or you feel like you offer exactly what every other firm offers. It’s often hard to see the value you deliver from the inside of the company. It’s ok, we can help with this.
How do you promote them? By applying your unique brand personality your all of your sales tools and brand assets.
One of your most important brand assets is your website – it's your digital HQ.
Without knowing how you are different and how to articulate that, your website won't have much to say (or much that's unique anyway, it'll say what all your competitors' websites say. Which will NOT get you the sale.)
It’s time to stop blanding and start branding
I don’t mean slap your logo on some tchotchke. I mean, find out who you are as a company and find a way to package it with clear messaging and on-point visuals. BE the firm that exudes confidence from top to bottom.
This work… the work of digging-in and focusing on a long term brand building strategy, will be what makes sales easier, marketing more effective and will make your business more resilient..
— Tracy O’Shaughnessy
Before spending a dime on a new site, take the time to dig into your company’s DNA. Talk to staff, clients and vendors. Research the competitive landscape to see what alternatives your prospects have to choose from and formulate a strategy for where you are going to play and how you are going to win. By that I mean, where are you going to spend your time and money, who are you going to target, and how are you going to define your brand’s personality (visually and verbally) so prospects see and feel you are the right choice for them?
This work will define your brand foundation (differentiation + positioning + messaging + visual identity = brand personality). Once you have your brand personality worked out, now it is time to apply it to your website, all of sales tools and don’t forget to use it internally for recruiting and culture building.
Feel free to invest in that shiny new website, the updated tradeshow booth, new brochures and clean up the pitch deck. Roll it out to your biz/dev and sales team. They will be thrilled to have materials that back them up and help them convey the true essence of the company and why you should be hired.
Say goodbye to that credibility draining website, outdated brochures and bland messaging.
Firms that do kick ass work deserve to have a tight brand that exudes who they are.
And that's how you get the sale.
This isn’t easy work and most firms don’t take the time to dig in. Are you different?
Look beneath the surface of the shiny new website. It's the vehicle for your company to get attention online, but if the engine's missing you won't go anywhere.
Wanting a better website than your competitors isn’t a bad thing. It’s natural to want to be better than somebody else and having a more impressive website feels good and makes you feel like you're on top.
But, it’s not where you need to focus right now. Create your new site based on your brand personality and a solidly built foundation.
If you want to attract more customers and beat your competitors, you need to stop copying everybody else and start building your brand around your company’s own unique attributes instead of building it around generic tactics that everybody has seen and heard before.
Stop telling people to buy from you, show them why they should.