I’m doing a marketing makeover on Avi’s website, Iron Lion Soap. He’s asked me to look at the general usability of his website, but I think this makeover is all about the positioning of the brand in relation to other competing soaps. Will Iron Lion Soap come out smelling of roses? Let’s find out. (I’m listening to UNKLE while I work)…
Don’t waste a second of your customers time.
So I hit the homepage and immediately run into a splash screen, with options to “explore the site” or “shop”. I see two tag lines describing the product. And the background is a rotating series of attractive, full-screen product shots.
Right from the go, I feel like the designer is paying more attention to the website template they happen to be using, than they are to me and my needs as a customer. And I already feel a little confusion as to the positioning of this product. My brain, wants to put it in a box and know “what is this thing, how will this thing make my life better?”. I want that question answered and I want to get down to it asap, but right from the go, it feels like this soap is trying to be everything to everyone.
Action: Remove the splash page. Don’t make people stop and wait in the lobby. Get to solving their problems right away. “The shop” and “The site” really shouldn’t be separate experiences. No one has the time to be browsing a soap website unless there’s a very specific reason. There’s nothing wrong with introducing the product, but that can be done at the top of a longer scrollable page, where they can buy the product instantly.
If you’re good, it will only take 10 years to build a brand. Don’t make it 20.
After hitting “Explore the site” I’m taken to the “Who Is ILS” page. First of all, never abbreviate your name. If you have to abbreviate your name, you’ve chosen a name that has too many syllables.
It takes 10-20 years to develop a brand name that people remember (unless you have a few hundred million to invest), so don’t make your customers have to think by introducing them to the name “Iron Lion Soap” then immediately introducing them to “ILS”. They are two completely different things in their busy, overloaded minds.
Origin stories are about real people, families, communities and problems solved.
Your “Who is ILS” page doesn’t actually say much about you at all. There are no humans in the picture. Just vague references to “family” and an origin story weak on details about the need for your own soap.
If you’re promoting a handcrafted soap, show us the hands that are crafting it. If you’re telling us about family, show us the family.
If you solved a real problem, you need to explain the problem that you solved.
People only buy from people they trust. The images on your about page show batches of soap in random natural settings, as if they’ve been delivered by the soap stork, with no human involvement at all.
Additionally, if you want people to read your copy, don’t use all capitals (fine for headlines, not for body copy). They are especially difficult to read at any length, which is why you’ll see “the fine print” on contracts often written in capitals, to deliberately put people off reading it.
OK, right off the top of my head, here’s a very quick idea of how to pad your origin story out a little. (This is just an example, you can tweak with the real details). It doesn’t take a lot, you don’t need to write a biography. Just add some human touches in there. People, family, community connections. Real challenges, real solutions, backed up with a few real images…
Iron Lion Soap was born of necessity and handcrafted for the first time in 2010 by me, Mr Soap, with the help of my close family, the Soapertons in Soapville Alabama. As an athletic family, we spend many an evening testing ourselves on the mat of our community dojo. Long hours, high impact and close contact. As well as enjoying the thrill and the focus of JuJitsu, we were no strangers to the blood, sweat and tears that come when your sport is a part of your life. At a certain level of practice, when you’re pushing your body to extremes, it’s the little things that count. Keeping your nutrition in check, adequate recovery and looking after your skin. We needed a product that could handle the rigours of daily athletic practice. A product that we could use in the shower, that matched the high standards we strived for on the mat. Iron Lion Soap, our handcrafted, medicinal soap, with all natural ingredients, was the solution.
Action: People want to know, like and trust the person they are buying from. If you’re handcrafted, show them your hands and arms and most importantly smiling faces. If you have a family or tribal story, show them the community whose problems you set out to (and did) solve.
Getting people to associate your brand with one thing is hard enough, don’t confuse them with two or three things.
I love the product images used on the top of the pages. The close-up photography is well executed. Using a food photography style, emphasising the natural ingredients and handcrafted nature of your product. They literally look good enough to eat.
But that imagery is incongruent with the copy claims that you’re chosen to highlight on the page…
Protects and Prevents: MRSA, Ringworm, Eczema, Hives, Acne, Plant Rashes, Athletes foot, & More.
That’s a list of nasty stuff. I don’t feel all fresh and natural and hungry any more. I feel like this…
This product isn’t quite sure whether it’s an aspirational, handmade, natural product. Or whether it’s a medical cure for bacterial nasties.
You can only paint one picture in people’s heads. They are either moving towards something pleasant, or they are moving away from something nasty. Your soap can either define who they want to be. Or define who they don’t want to be. If you try and create both images, neither will hit home. They simply won’t be able to make a clear picture in their head. And it’s those clear pictures that make us take out our credit cards and buy stuff. It’s those clear pictures in our mind that create the motivation to act.