As a follow-up to the great Google Chrome ad I posted a few days ago, here’s another great TV ad from Volkswagen. As mentioned about the Google Chrome Ad . . . there are two keys to branding that both these ads excel in: authenticity and emotion. If you don’t connect with your customers in these areas they really won’t get the true value you’re offering with your product.
The emotion of this ad is obvious, but notice too how authentic the laughter is. If the laughing in this commercial came across even with a suspicion of being staged the ad would lose a lot of its effectiveness. Another important key to this ads success is the very personal nature of the content . . . for a moment we feel like we’re sharing a intimate moment with someone we know.
This ad exemplifies the sales axiom . . . people buy from those they know and trust. In a matter of 30 seconds Volkswagen takes us from being a stranger to making us feel like we know and trust them. Every bit of your branding and marketing communication needs to be created with this same axiom in mind.
The content of your Web site is crucial and should be developed to quickly answer the basic questions and needs of your specific target visitors. Research shows that you only have a few seconds to entice your visitors to stay so it’s vital that you present obvious choices for them to find the information they need. In addition clear and compelling navigation options need to be present that allow your visitors to easily recognize where they should click to proceed through the sales/information process.
If your visitors become confused about what your site is about or how it applies to them, they are likely to just leave and look elsewhere. The goal of your front page is to allow visitors to qualify themselves as prospects for your business or organization and to proceed through the sales process by accepting a call to action that you offer. Call to actions can include purchasing online, contacting you for an appointment, subscribing to your newsletter/blog or whatever the specific next step is in your sales process.
The Essential Questions Visitors to Your Site Will Need Answered:
What do you do? One of the most common mistakes that sites make is not being clear on exactly what they are providing. The more complex of solution you offer the more important it is to provide this answer in easy-to-understand language. The essence of what you do should be the basis of your organization’s mission statement, but answering the “What you do” question will also include the specific products or services you’re offering.
Why you do it? This is related to an organization’s vision statement but needs to be expressed in concise language free from industry jargon. Telling visitors “why you do it” is a means of establishing credibility and positioning yourself as an expert adviser for recommending a solution to their needs.
Why are you the best choice? This question is the most vital for new prospects and should be answered by your unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition is simply a concise statement of how you
meet their need better than anyone else. In addition to stating your unique value, you need to back it up with real-life examples. The most effective support will be testimonials, portfolio’s of your past work, and third party reviews or endorsements if available.
What can I do? This is the question you want most asked because it means your visitor is satisfied (or at least intrigued) with the answers to their first three questions. They are asking how to proceed through your sales process. This doesn’t mean they’re necessarily ready to buy, but they’re willing to take a step closer. Your site needs to present unambiguous action items for your customers to answer their question of “What can I do?” by providing conspicuous “call to action” links in the body of your front page and the navigation menu.
How To Provide the Answers
Here are a few key principles for answering your visitors’ questions :
Be concise. Paragraphs of text on your front page will bury the answers to your visitors’ questions and result in a high abandon rate. Your front page, and navigation bar, should be thought of as a map that clearly directs people to more detailed information on the destination of their choice, without them having to think twice about their choices. While, supporting pages will provide more detailed answers the still must avoid verbosity to be effective.
Communicate in layman’s terms and avoid your industry’s jargon. Realize that much of the internal language your organization uses may have no relevance for your visitors.
Provide clear call-to-action choices for all types of visitors. The fundamental questions presented above provide answers for newly aware prospects through “trial” or first-time buyers. If you anticipate clients, customers with an ongoing relationship with your organization, to be frequent visitors you need to accommodate the needs of these visitors. Other visitor types can include press, investors or employers. The answers to each type of visitor questions need to be presented in proportion to the importance they have towards achieving the overall goals of your site.
If you watch this very short video from Google and believe what they’re saying, you will catapult yourself into an elite group of people who actually understand the “secret” of SEO.
I emphasize the word believe because I’ve learned from years of Web development that many people persist with a misconception that SEO success is determined primarily by how that site is coded, even when they’ve been enlightened with the truth. Many, if not most, people think that there is some method by which a developer can arrange the code on their site to make a big impact on their SEO. We get inquiries all the time from people who are looking for someone to take their existing site and have it recoded so the same content is listed higher in Google.
That’s simply not how it works.
As stated in this video from Google, “First and foremost we [Google] care about content.” Not to go down another wrong path, this does not mean Google is looking for some special arrangement of content and keyword stuffed pages. What they are ultimately looking for is content that is unique and truly valuable to your target visitors. By no coincidence, that’s what real people are looking for too.
To be clear, there is still a place for proper coding (on-site SEO) . . . but it is not the driving force behind the overall success or failure of your Website’s SEO.
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