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How Small Misses & Poorly Told Stories Are Losing You Money

The sad truth is that many companies throw up websites because they think they need to have a web presence. Too often though, the site does nothing more than facilitate current business processes.

Even companies that have put some time and effort into their websites still fall short in maximizing the advantage a web-presence gives them.

That’s because:

  • The website is tactical in its approach, and not part of a strategic marketing plan.
  • Attempts at differentiating their business are either non-existent, or haphazard and ineffective.
  • Self-promotion efforts turn people off or don’t do enough.
  • Opportunities to broaden their influence and position themselves are ignored.
  • The power of well-told stories is never realized.

Let me show you what I mean, with these 3 examples.

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Example Number 1 – Under Utilizing Your Internet Real Estate

This eastern Connecticut manufacturer’s website’s home page displays pictures representing the industries they sell to, but not the goods they produce. Nor do they tell you what they make or sell.

You have to work to find that out, and most people won’t bother.Lockheed_Martin_F-22A_Raptor

Stephen Krug was right back in October 2000 when the 1st edition of his book, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Website Usability was published. And he’s still right with the 3rd edition of his book.

In 2014, it was estimated that 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a website before bouncing away and looking for better pastures.

In displaying what they think people want to see, or worse what’s easiest for them to do, this company made assumptions about who comes to their website, why they’re there, and what they’re looking for.

For this company, their website is a place for existing customers to place orders.

Websites built on assumptions such as “everyone knows what our business is”, or “someone not in our target market” isn’t interested in what we do,  or “no one’s going to read anything we put out there” miss the point.

The truth is you don’t know –

  • Who’s going to see your website, why they visit, or what they want to learn from it;
  • What they’re going to do with the information they get from it;
  • You don’t know who they’re working for; or
  • Who’ll they’ll talk to; and
  • What will happen, because of what they found on your website – or what they didn’t!

If your website doesn’t have a active position in your marketing strategy, then you’re not maximizing your marketing opportunities.

If your website isn’t helping you generate leads, increase revenue, or increase customer satisfaction and retention, then you’re losing money.

If your website isn’t telling your company’s story the way you want it to be told, then you’re letting your competitors tell it for you.

Doing the same old/same old will get you exactly what you’ve got now.

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Example Number 2 – Not Telling Your Story

In 1898, the water available to people in the over-crowded cities was undrinkable. Peoples’ only option was to drink milk or alcoholic beverages like beer.

Since all the beer was made in the same way, all the breweries advertised their beer as “pure”. It was tough to stand out from the crowd. beer-215050_150

Schlitz was tired of being in the middle of the pack so they hired the best marketer of the day, Claude Hopkins, to do something to improve their sales.

As Claude states in his book, Scientific Advertising, “There is nearly always something impressive which others have not told.”

And that’s what he had Schlitz do: tell the brewing story no one else was telling.

With that one change, Hopkins made Schlitz the standard of purity.

Of course, the other brewers jumped on the band wagon, but it was too late. The stories he told about the company’s processes put Schlitz on track to becoming the best selling American beer both before and after Prohibition.

Claude also said, “. . . doing admirable things in a different way gives one a great advantage.”

When this Western Connecticut manufacturer documented their lean manufacturing story, it was a clear case of “ingrained assumptions” making their Kaizen story less effective than it have could been.

Since they missed showing their mastery of the process, they missed out on increasing their credibility and influence.

With no content strategy, framework or demonstration of a “mentally compelling” point-of-view, they’ve missed the opportunity to:

  • leverage their accomplishments,
  • establish themselves as leaders in their industry and their community, and
  • differentiate themselves from their competition.

The advantage is yours only when you thoroughly communicate it.

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Example Number 3 – Tunnel Vision and Ingrained Assumptions

Videos are a great way to market your products.

This CT manufacturer created a video showing one of their machines agitating. That’s it. That’s all the video shows – a machine agitating.

There’s no demonstration of the product’s features. No before and after pictures of how well it cleans, how long it takes, or why their product does it so much better than their competition.

Only the video description mentions anything about the product, and all it tells you is that the machine is “ergonomic”.

Of course, everyone knows what ergonomic means.  It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but according to OSHA it’s a pretty big deal:

  • “In all, insurers awarded an estimated 2.73 million workers’ compensation claims for RSIs [repetitive stress injuries] in 1993, costing employers more than $20 billion. Indirect costs to employers are estimated to be five times that amount — $100 billion.
  •  That was in 1993.  Data supplied by the Liberty Mutual, Workplace Safety Index 2011, showed that in 2009 the cost of RSI’s, in California alone, was $1.97 Billion Dollars.

What does OSHA say can prevent RSIs?  Ergonomics.

Experience Key blk brdWhen you focus on how something operates, then it’s easy to lose sight of the additional benefits that can help you increase your sales.

In the case of this company, they’re missing not only on the opportunities mentioned above, but three additional ones as well.

First: Not demonstrating how the machine’s ergonomic design works so people can see for themselves.

Second: Not pointing out how specific design features mitigate repetitive stress injuries, and reduce worker compensation claims.

Third: Not leveraging their ergonomic expertise and strengthening their position in the market.

If you’re not showing yourself as a leader, then you won’t be perceived as one.

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Big Stuff Gets You Noticed and In The Door – Small Stuff Gets You the Win

What’s the small stuff? It’s things such as:

  • Finding and documenting all the stories about your company’s policies, standards, processes, methods and controls so they can be leveraged as Claude did for Schlitz.
  • Having a website that promotes your business, supports existing customers, expands your influence, helps you stand out from your competitors, and positions you as a leader in your niche and your community.
  • Making sure your marketing and content strategy close all the gaps caused by ingrained assumptions and tunnel vision.

These small things add to your credibility and demonstrate what your company thinks is important.

How your company, or even a group of people within your company is perceived can impact your bottom line.

Since you never can tell what’s going to tip things your way, it makes sense to give people as many reasons to buy as you can.

That’s what Claude Hopkins did with Schlitz.

I can help you do that with your company.

Thanks to my work in corporate America, I’m experienced in compiling and updating documentation and stories, as well as spotting the gaps and small misses. And I can also help with content strategy, or writing website content so it supports and enforces your marketing,

Complete my Contact form today or give me a call at 860-638-9990.

I like helping people and businesses be successful, so let’s setup a time to talk about how I can help you.

Writer, Content Strategist, Blogger, Technical Writer and more!
Quinn Eurich