“The classic image of a lion tamer is one of the entertainers holding a whip and a chair. The whip gets all of the attention, but it’s mostly for show. In reality, it’s the chair that does the important work.

When a lion tamer holds a chair in front of the lion’s face, the lion tries to focus on all four legs of the chair at the same time. With its focus divided, the lion becomes confused and is unsure about what to do next. When faced with so many options, the lion chooses to freeze and wait instead of attacking the man holding the chair.”

Truth be told, most websites make visitors feel like a lion. And that’s not a good thing.

What Your Website Says

You need to step back and think about what your website says about your company. You’d be amazing at how much a website can reveal.

There are the “we’re just happy to be here” sites. They tend to sound like this:

  • Hey Hey! Welcome to our web page!
  • We are so glad that of the over 1 Billion websites in existence on the planet earth that you got to ours! (We hope it’s not an accident!)

We get it. You’re psyched to be in business. But too many websites provide more questions than answers.

  • Would you like to learn what we do?
  • Would you like to sign up for our newsletter?
  • We have some spiffy products and services, want to learn more about them?
  • Do you want to meet our team?
  • Do you want to download this informative white paper?
  • Please watch this video!
  • No, wait! Don’t go! Chat with a real human in this little pop-up box.
  • Hey, our CEO was on this podcast the other day do you want to listen to it?
  • Would you care to read our latest press release or this ridiculously good article this one blogger wrote?
  • Do you want to see all the other companies that we’ve worked with?

 

As if that’s not confusing enough, there’s usually a sharp turn toward social because social media is the new hot ticket in town.

  • You know what would be neato if you followed us on Twitter!
  • And Facebook
  • And Instagram
  • And Google+
  • And Pinterest
  • And SnapChat
  • But you know what would be even cooler if your read one of our blogs.
  • By the way, would you mind posting this blog post to your Twitter account?
  • Or your Facebook account?
  • Or your Google+ account?
  • Oh yea, I almost forgot. If you’re interested in what we’re selling, please, please, please give us your email so we can spam the shit out of you.

Take a moment and visit the first business website that pops into your mind. It’s ok. I’ll wait.

Did any of the above ring true?

The problem with the majority of business websites today is that they haven’t asked the most important question of all. Why does my website exist?

It’s Your World, Bro

When building a website most companies will ask questions like, “What information do I want to put on my website? What content will make us look cool? What images will make us look bigger and more established than we are?”

Have you spotted the problem?

Most companies are more concerned about what their website says about them and less interested in what their customers need?

The Age of Me

In 2016, you can safely assume that when a visitor comes to your site, they are searching for  an answer to a specific question.

That question may be simple. “Who are these guys?”

That question may be complex. “Why should I trust this company to monitor my network security?”

The most frustrating thing for any customer when visiting a website, looking for an answer to a simple question only to be bombarded with a million different options. Oh, and none of those other options answer their original question. This cannot happen if you want to succeed.

Providing visitors with the information they need is the key to success. Knowing what your customers want and when they want it is what you have to do to understand your customers’ buying journey.

A Quick Note on Seconds

According to Hubspot 55% of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website. You get one shot to get it right, and you have to do it quickly.

Breaking Down The Chair – Or at Least Put Yourself in Theirs.

This is the world that we live in. Visitors to your site expect to have their questions answered quickly. They have no time or patience for what you want. THIS is the new law of the jungle. Answer their question quickly or they’ll go somewhere else that can.

So what’s the answer? Should you give up? Delete your sites and hope for the best?

Not at all! Quite the opposite, actually. Companies that understand this new reality have a tremendous advantage over their competitors.  The fix is simple. In fact, simplicity IS the fix!

The answer is never, “I need to make my site more complicated.” It is never, “I need to talk more about me or my company.”

The answer almost always lies in simplifying the customer journey.

Fixing your website starts with a simple exercise. Ask yourself this question: “If I were going to buy this product or service, what information would I need to make a smart decision?”

If you’re too close to your company to be objective, ask some friends, or—better yet—ask some strangers.

It’s a simple idea. Start by understanding what information your prospects need to make a buying decision. Then design a website that is laser-focused on that journey. Make it simple for your visitors to find answers to their questions and, if possible, put all of those answers in one place.

The Side Benefit – Content

The power of this approach is that it not only guides your web design strategy, but it can also inform about what content you should develop.

Do you need to answer questions about whether or not you’re a trustworthy partner? Create some case studies and customer testimonials.

Do you want someone to download your app? Put the App store reviews directly on your site.

A Final Word

While we come up almost daily with new ways to deliver customers directly to the content they need to make a smarts decision, the ideas behind them are not new. In fact they are as old as business itself.

It all boils down to understanding who your customer is and what they need from you. Although our means of communicating with customers have changed drastically in recent years (thanks internet!)the concepts behind making customers happy remain the same.