In business, you are no longer the first impression. Your bubbly, energetic, honest personality is not valuable — at least at first glance. You may be able to sell ice to an Eskimo, but that doesn’t matter, especially if your website does not tell your story.
Everything starts and stops online.
Everything starts and stops online.
Now is the time that brands are budgeting for outbound communications for next year. If I were them, the first touch point I would look at is the digital space, and then everything else.
Consultants should help. Rarely do public relations agencies look at the embodiment of a communications footprint when determining the proper strategy for the next outbound communications campaign. They simply press “go” and start “trying” to generate media. Rarely do they pause and inform the client, or prospective client, that there is a gap in the process — that their website does not sell, and therefore, all the great PR they secure holds a lesser value.
Today’s world is technological. We search the Internet to discover answers to everything. We no longer go to the library or have a need to phone a friend. Every bit of information is at the tips of our fingers. This shift in the way we consume information has unlocked the sales person from step one in the sales process. In fact, the sales person has slide into third of forth place on the totem pole.
The shift in sales structure doesn’t mean brands don’t need a sales person, it just means they need a sales person that can put the ego of sale to the side and realize that the website is now No. 1 in the power rankings.
Today’s franchise prospect is much more savvy than ever before. Or, rather more protective. They don’t pick-up the phone and inquire about franchise opportunities. Nor do they click “Apply Now” now. They wait. They search. They discover. They want to know how you behave in the digital space. This will include your Facebook Fan Page. This will include setting up Google News Alerts. This will include looking at your competitors sites and footprints. They will search you, and you better be ready to show your ghost prospects a good time. If not, they may discover another brand.
Beauty is still in the eye of the beholder. Thankfully, sites like Facebook and LinkedIn will provide your prospects with a beautifully built site that disseminates information. These sites are your friends, especially if your franchise page has either not enough information or too much.
Websites from yesterday may be too old. You must look at your website every year. Make it a New Year’s resolution to evaluate the sales process of your site. Ask yourself if you would buy from your brand based on your footprint. If the answer is no, then you got some work to do.
Today’s sites much be robust in content. There must be a place to fill with original content (blogging is the easiest way) as well as a place to showcase your press. You should celebrate your signings and new openings (don’t worry, your competitors already know when you open and who your franchisees are — just ask your FDD). Content is king (just ask Joe Matthews, he does a nice job here). Don’t think of your site as a brochure, think of it as YOUR social media site. Make your media social, interactive and story telling.
Yesterday, No Limit Agency launched its new website. When launching the website, some things we wanted to accomplish were:
1) Outperform Competition: We think we are the best. Our clients tend to agree. Therefore, we should have the best site in the business.
2) Tell a Story with Creative + Words: We wanted to showcase a robust site that was also SEO and content rich. This way our site could easily tell our story, or tell it in a month in-depth place.
3) Celebrate Our Assets: We have a great team. We have awesome clients. We have produced incredible work. But, if we don’t tell those stories, we fail. We fail to the ghost prospect.
4) Be Content Rich: If you click on the “Learn More”, you can do just that. You will see content rich sections, including our NLATank, an active blogging site that leverages our staff content from 1851.
5) Make it Easy for Someone to Inquire: We are a dynamic communications agency. If we suck at telling our story, no one will care about the dynamic part.
With the launch yesterday, we are proud of the work our team produced — and produced internally.
Being proud is step one. Trial and error is step two. Growth is step three.
Standout from your competitors. Be rich in the way you tell your story. And constantly embrace change in your technology. You must be able to meet those criteria if you, as a sales person, want a shot at selling your ice. If no one inquires, you will never be able to tell your story (unless you cold call). Be different.