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Avoiding Buzzword Bingo. A Website Makeover For IT Consultants.

by Paul Montreal. Average Reading Time: almost 5 minutes.

I’m doing a marketing makeover on Jane’s website where she’s selling some kind of IT consulting services. (I’m listening to Bob Marley while I work). Hold onto your padded armrests, I’m going into cynical customer mode…

Update: I seem to have lost the original screenshots for Jane’s site. But it’s great to see she’s had a shot at applying some of the suggestions I made…

1. First impression: I’m being sucked into corporate buzz word hell…

Let’s start with the name, which just doesn’t sound right – “The knowledge remote worker”. It’s spinning around in my head uncomfortably. Wouldn’t it sit better as: “The remote knowledge worker”? The worker in question is first and foremost “a knowledge worker”. The fact that they are remote is secondary.

A spaceman working remotely is “a remote spaceman” aren’t they? Not “a spaceman remote”. A bad name kills many a business before it even begins and the owner never even had a clue what they were doing wrong. So don’t build a house on bad foundations, especially at this early stage. Test new names (use Google ads) or you’ll pay 1000x the price later.

2. Simplify the tagline

Encouraging greater communication, collaboration, knowledge creation and sharing in the decentralised organisation.

Whilst there are some situations where you want your tagline to ring with authority, in most cases simple clarity is the goal. You need people to understand exactly what you do, or who you serve, instantly. I know people inside big companies like to come up with fancy words and hold seminars and write books around ideas like “the decentralised organisation”. But trust me when I tell you, half the time, the decision makers in those companies haven’t got a clue what half these things mean, though they will never tell you that.

You simply can’t underestimate how important it is to make your core message super simple. No one will ever buy what you sell unless they understand it on a deep level. So ask yourself, would you ever introduce yourself in person to a client and use that line to describe what you do?

“Hi, I’m Jane, I encourage greater communication, collaboration, knowledge creation and sharing in the decentralised organisation.”

You’re more likely to say something like…

“Hi, I’m Jane, I help large companies who are moving over to remote working get their technology right, so that their teams get better at communicating, not worse.”

I just made that up in 2 seconds and I’m sure it’s not perfect, but lets look at how it might be more effective…

1) I specify the type of companies you help – “I help large companies”. It doesn’t matter if that isn’t accurate, you can change it to the specific niche that is. Don’t try to help “anyone”, be specific.

2) I specify the exact situation your clients are involved in – “moving over to remote working”. Again, it might not be accurate, but it probably is. Remote working is new, so you’re either helping people who are trying it out, or you’re helping people who are failing at it. If they are doing fine, they don’t need you. So be specific about one market and make the situation they are in clearly the situation you specialise in.

3) I include the specific expertise you have – “get their technology right”. Your original tag line doesn’t say anything about technology even though the rest of the page is filled with what looks like keyword stuffing around “IT systems” and “IT strategies”.

4) I specify the benefits of what you do, whilst also giving a nod to the client’s fears and the negative consequences of getting it wrong (by not hiring you) – “so that teams get better at communicating, not worse”. I’m really not sure about “not worse” but hey, I took 2 seconds to do this. You should spend a week writing alternative copy, then test them thoroughly.

The point is, it’s still only one sentence, but it’s a much clearer picture of what you do. People will understand it enough to know whether you are relevant to them, or not. If you are relevant they will dig deeper.

3. Once you’ve hooked them with the tagline, you can go deeper.

By the way, it’s great that you’ve at least tried to include a tagline and a longer description…

“The Knowledge Remote Worker specialises in analysing business IT systems to ensure they are effective; engaging in the business to improve employee collaboration and communication, thus gaining an understanding in the actual IT and knowledge requirements across the business, especially in the decentralised organisation.”

Any headline with the word “thus” in it (unless written by Russel Brand) is doomed. Your customer will read the rest of it as “blah, blah, business blah, zzzzzz”. Apply the same rules from the tagline lesson above to just expand it. A few additional rules to apply here – try really, really hard to eliminate everything that might be considered a buzzword. “successfully aligning”, “IT strategies”, “thus strengthening collaboration”.

Speak plainly. Nobody is really impressed by consultants using words that take effort to unravel. Use half the words in every sentence. Write as if you’re speaking to a real human, who lives in this century. (You are). Forget the search engines at this point.

Speak to the client’s fear of what will happen if they screw this remote working thing up. (That’s why they are motivated to buy anything from outside, to cover their ass in unknown waters). Acknowledge their fear. Acknowledge that it is a real threat and that you’re the antidote. THAT is the benefit they are buying from you.

They do not care about “productivity, engagement, collaboration, and business / IT alignment”. They care about losing their job for screwing up the remote working idea. The idea that half of their top management were skeptical about to begin with.


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