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Marketing Is About Perception. Not Yours, Your Customers. A Website Makeover For Everyone.

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

Website marketing makeover for eLearning website 101i

I’m doing a marketing makeover on Guy’s website where he sells eLearning services. He’s done some great client work but he’s not getting the leads he expected from his website. (I’m listening to Gustavo Santaolalla’s charango music while I work). Here are my top 6 tips to turn your eLearning website around…

1. Your name is an opportunity to create a strong positive impression.

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I did a quick poll to see what people associated with your name “101i”. Here’s a summary of the answers…

“Sounds like an introduction to something, the basics. Like Photography 101.” (The allusion is to a college course with the code 101, which indicates an introductory course.)

“Reminds me of room 101″ (From wikipedia: Room 101 is a place introduced in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia.)

A name can have an existing strong association, say “Sunshine Holidays Inc”. Or “Coconut Cruises”. With no further information I’ve already planted a positive image in your mind. Or, a name can be neutral. Say, Kodak or Viagra. These words mean nothing until you spend time and money creating an association to them, building them into a brand.

Right now, “101i” has no existing positive association, but it does have a few negative associations. People think of the number as being linked to “an introductory course” but nothing else on the site led me to believe that’s your intended position in the marketplace. People also associate the name to “a room where a prisoner is subjected to his or her worst nightmare”. That’s definitely not good.

Quick tips to help you come up with a more useful name. For each question, list the words that come to mind, then use them as your raw ingredients to come up with a new name.

  • Think about the positive emotions or outcomes you want to associate with yourself and your company. E.g. “Love Learning LLC.”
  • Think about your position in the marketplace. Do you want to be a premium provider? Do you want to be the fastest provider? Is your focus on being the easiest to understand. Or the most reliable person to work with? Are your clients dipping their toe into the water? Or do you go in and fix complex projects done by others? E.g. “Rapid Instructional Design”
  • Is the location of your market or the size of companies you serve relevant? (Don’t try to serve the world, if in practice you only work with clients whose offices you regularly visit.) E.g. “East Coast ELearning”
  • How do your new customers search for you? What terms are familiar to THEM? (Not experts in your field). It will depend upon your customers level of sophistication whether they use a phrase like “Instructional Design” or whether they use non-technical language like “Online Teaching”. Don’t guess, find out. E.g. “Instructional Design Depot” or “Online Teaching You Can Trust”
  • In all cases, you need to be remembered. It’s half the battle with a name. As you can see, alliteration is my tool of choice for helping with that.

Action: Do the exercise above and create a more effective name for your company.

2. Backup your new name with a stronger logo.

Unfortunately the associations get worse when people are shown your logo…

“Looks like a room sign”

“Is it a male toilet?”

“It’s a hotel room with a gents toilet”

Once you’ve got a name that helps tell a more useful story, it shouldn’t be difficult to make it more visually obvious what you do. You’re selling software and services that let people teach online. What image pops into your head when I say “internet” or “school” or “university”? Do an image search for “eLearning” and you’ll instantly have a page full of inspiration. Have a graphic designer combine those simple, iconic images (Laptop, chalk board, mouse, mortarboard hat) in a unique manner. But keep it simple and keep it obvious.

Action: Get a new logo. This isn’t a mature market where you need to really be unique amongst thousands of competitors. People just want a visual confirmation that they are talking to the right company to solve their problem.

3. Don’t be cryptic, clever or smart with your tagline. It should make perfect sense to all your potential customers.

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The larger a company gets, the more generic and clever their taglines become. They also become more meaningless. Don’t go down the same route. Your tagline should make it really obvious what your primary purpose is, what your unique value is, or specifically which group of people you serve. And you can expand it and shrink it to include one or all three of those.

You seem to have two different taglines on your website and Twitter account.

“Strategic Learning” on the website and “At the intersection of elearning and marketing.” on Twitter.

“Strategic” is one of those corporate words that tends to instantly turns people’s brains off. Imagine being asked what you do at a party and answering “strategic learning”. Even if you were at a party full of your ideal customers, you’d probably get a lot of blank looks.

The second one sounds like a magazine tagline. Magazines love being at the intersection of things. But having been all through your website I don’t understand what your work has to do with marketing.

Keep it simple, clear and obvious.

Depending on what improved name you come up with, your tagline is just an opportunity to tell a little more, to become a little clearer about who you serve. In this case you could even squeeze in some useful industry keywords, IF you prove that your CUSTOMERS use and understand them. For example…

East Coast eLearning: Online course creation you can trust.

Rapid Instructional Design: eLearning design done right, done now.

Online Teaching You Can Trust: Teach your Team online, consistently and cost effectively.

Now these are just examples off the top of my head. They aren’t necessarily ideal solutions. But they demonstrate how you can start to combine a name and a tagline to tell your story and draw people into how valuable you are to them. What benefits you choose to highlight will depend upon your deeper research into your own market.

Action: I’ve guessed at your customers valuing “trust” or “speed” and that the technology will allow their training to be more “consistent and cost effective”. Now it’s your turn to establish the ONE key benefit which both fits your market’s strongest desire and your own nature and way of working. Then you can go all in and become “that guy”.

CONTINUED…

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