The advertising said, "We'll drive traffic to your web site"
True or false: FALSE
The sales hype said, "Your business web site will stand out in a crowd"
True or false: FALSE
The ad said, "You need an awesome web design to create a first impression"
True or false: FALSE
Why do business owners believe these false statements?
We believe them because it is exactly what we want to hear. We would also like to believe the car salesperson that tells us the car we want gets 100 miles to the gallon of gas. There are lots of things we would like to believe, but sooner or later we have to get real with web marketing.
It is not so much an issue that web design firms will market their business with a little creative licence in their advertising message. No, the real issue is that business owners are mislead and distracted from web marketing that has a real potential. To start with we should know why the above sales hype is false.
Typically our business web design is staged for US, not our market. A web designer knows who they have to please to get paid and without a direct stipulation to focus the design on our market then we won't get what we need - - we get what we want, or what we think we want.
It would be convenient to blame the web designers for not suggesting that our web design should be focused on our market but it's really our own fault for not putting our market first.
Never mind the blame, we can set this straight and directly reach our market with a design that gives our market an excellent experience. All we need is a market profile
What, exactly, is a market profile?
Like all networks the web is designed to share. The concept of sharing is somewhat alien to the business model of making sales and this is the first clue that the web is a far different marketing medium than anything we have known before. And even in light of the phenomenal growth of social networks our, so-called, web professionals would have us ride the coattails of various social networks instead of simply sharing with our market.
It is obvious that social media, blogs and forums grow because they share, and the web loves to share. Anything that ever went viral did so because it was shared, and people love to share. That means that the web is a social sharing medium that supports and encourages sharing. Marketing takes on a new appearance and meaning when it is created to be shared. But how can our business web site share and form relationships with our market?
Most small business web sites mix together push marketing with pull marketing, and they do this by sending out keyword messages that read as though a solution is at hand, but then the web page only talks about a product for sale. That same web page even has self promoting ads that compound the problem when, in fact, the customer has already arrived and advertising is out of place. Instead of self promoting ads a business web page needs to get to work by talking about the market's biggest problem.
The next biggest web marketing problem is thinking that a web site markets to the world. The web is not a broadcast medium but rather a one-to-one medium. When our page content is generic sales copy and written for everyone in the world then our web site markets to no one. There is no clearly defined focus for our market to relate to if we are trying to talk with everyone.
A third problem arises when we assume our web market is just an extension of an offline material market. People behave differently online and they have different expectations of our web site than they do of a brick & mortar walk-in store. Our web site is part of a virtual reality and although the difference between a virtual market and a material market is subtle it is no less real.
These 3 big problems have a common solution.
There is information in the article section on web design, web marketing and oh so simple SEO that you can do yourself. These articles help you to see the web as a pull medium and also address the ways small business owners have been misled by the web design and marketing industry. The most important thing business owners will discover will be a profound effect on their confidence in making web design and marketing decisions.