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A New Website? Now, That's Refreshing


Over the years, we've been asked to revamp websites for many clients — from colleges and universities, to high tech corporations, to financial advisors, to one of the area’s premier direct marketing companies. Regardless of their industry segment, these clients come to us with similar objectives:

• Develop a more contemporary and visually engaging website that better creates and communicates their unique brand

• Establish a single voice and go-to-market message that can be leveraged across all channels, targeting multiple constituents

• And develop a new website that works quantifiably harder from a business generation, direct marketing, and customer acquisition perspective.

You may be thinking, "Wow, that's a big ask." Maybe, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Happily, these objectives are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the smartest, hardest-working marketing communications solutions (like a website) can effectively build brand and demand.

A lot of the websites we're asked to update consist of what we call, "brochureware." Essentially, content that was created for more traditional media is posted online. While this may have seemed like an efficient solution at the time, it doesn't take advantage of what the web does best — build an intimate one-to-one conversation and drive visitors to take action.

Luckily, there are several ways to address this.

Start by thinking of your website as a persuasive salesperson — not an all-you-can-eat buffet. Your visitor probably doesn't need to read an exhaustive history of your company. (At least not yet.) What they do need to recognize is what your company can do for them.

The new website content should be written and/or edited for length, perceived length (which is not necessarily the same thing). immediacy, intimacy, and direct responsiveness. The focus needs to be on "What you need," not "What we can do." Direct marketing copy — especially on the web — works harder when all messaging is positioned from the perspective of your target audience.

Our copy development process usually includes:

• Writing/rewriting passages in the second person: "you"

• Setting up stories and problem/solution scenarios

• Empathizing more with the prospective customer's situations and challenges

• Taking advantage of marketing moment of truth by serving up irresistible offers and calls-to-action

The copy should engage the visitor and get them nodding in agreement as early in the communications process as possible. Your new and improved website should engage and educate and even entertain. It needs to say, "We get it. We get you."

And, most importantly, "Here's what we're going to do to help you."

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