Recently a client showed me an article about websites, written by a well-known marketing coach. The article’s premise seemed reasonable. Look at these 10 terrific websites, he said, and use them as models.
Any time you’re encouraged to model your marketing on someone else’s, question it. This marketing coach chose some excellent websites to use as guides. But they wouldn’t be useful for my client. Here’s why.
(1) My client was a service-based solopreneur. The websites were all from large-ish companies that sold SaaS products. Their clients bring different problems, concerns, and backstories to a purchase, compared to a coach, consultant, fitness trainer, or even a lawyer or accountant.
SaaS stands for “Software as a service.” You might think, “Big deal. Service is service, right?”
Think about the way you choose an email service versus the way you hire a business coach. For the email service, you want reliability and ease of use. You ask questions about uptime. You want a help desk that responds quickly.
When your SaaS offers reliability and an effective user interface, you rarely talk to a person. When you seek help, you probably use email. Personal style won’t be important, as long as the representative can communicate in your language with ordinary courtesy.
When you hire a business coach, you’ve got more concerns about the interaction. Will the coach respect where you’re coming from? Will he maintain boundaries? Will she criticize you in the style of your least favorite teacher, so you feel worse after each coaching call?
(2) The sample websites featured high-end design, with magnificent professional photos.
Clients often tell me they’re disappointed with off-the-shelf WordPress themes. “They look so different in the demonstration videos!”
They’re also frustrated when they tell a designer, ‘Make my site look like that one.”
Almost always, the difference isn’t due to design. It’s due to the photos.
A few professional photos can transform a website. Often, of course, it’s the quality of the photography. Sometimes it’s the actual scene in the photo, such as a unique landscape or a view from 10,000 feet. Some websites feature large, professional charismatic photos of the owners.
SaaS companies benefit from eye-popping design. Solopreneurs need strong copy, with design incorporated to help readers navigate the copy.
(3) Follow sample websites that use your story archetype.
That beautiful website might be profitable for your marketing coach but a money sink for you. Often a marketing coach will apply a Celebrity archetype, while you’re an Educator or Role Model.
Once you understand your story archetype, you don’t waste time wondering who to follow. You know exactly how to write your copy. When you base your strategy on your story archetype, you don’t waste time figuring out how to talk about your services. You have clear guidelines and a path to clarity.
Have you figured out your story archetype yet? Download this free quiz, which comes with a marketing guide to apply your archetype to your content creation.
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