I’m doing a marketing makeover on Hala’s website. She’s a consultant and product development coach for tech companies. She wants to turn her website around so that she can spend more time with her kids. In this makeover you’re going to learn how to really draw people in with your pitch and how to avoid repelling people with the wrong mindset. So, hold onto your iterations, here are my top 5 tips for turning this website around. (I’m listening to Chris Sterio on Soundcloud while I work)…
1. A brand name is a hook to hang an idea upon. It has to be memorable to your chosen audience.
I land on the site and the homepage is a standard blog list. The most prominent thing is the name “Hala Saleh”. Which is also the domain name. It’s not a name I’m familiar with or used to hearing, so I’ll likely have trouble remembering it. I might have a better chance of remembering “27 Sprints” which I think is the name of the company, although it’s not prominent.
People get very attached and emotional about their names. As a marketer you can’t be. It’s about being understood and most importantly remembered by your audience. Great products and people are held back every day by names that people can’t understand or remember.
On the flip side, mediocre products, with great names and super clear tag lines that communicate their benefits clearly, often outsell far superior competitors.
Action: Run a split test. Instead of focusing on your personal name as the highlight of the homepage and the domain name, focus on the company name “27 Sprints”. (Or test variations of it? I’m not sure what the relevance of “27” is?). And as soon as possible in the process, introduce yourself using video. You only need to say a few sentences, but start by telling us how to pronounce your name. Once we’ve heard it, it will be easier to remember. Once we remember it, it will be easier to get to know, like and trust you.
2. The universe doesn’t know your blog exists.
I scroll down the page and see 11 blog posts. You’re only 1 post away from where most people quit blogging all together.
This is a mindset issue. You’re waiting for the universe to reward you for your blogging effort. Because blogging is hard, we mistakenly think that putting lots of effort into the first few posts is the same as delivering lots of value to our readers.
It feels like a lot of effort to us, because most of us aren’t very good when we start blogging. So we shouldn’t expect any pats on the back, until we get good. We don’t get instant and positive feedback for every small step forwards. So you have to persevere until your blogging deserves feedback and recognition.
As part of an ongoing practice of getting to know your customers, you must constantly be asking “what is the problem they are suffering with”? And those are the problems you start to address and solve in your blog posts.
It’s better not to “muse” on things. There are far too many blog posts on the internet for people to find our musings interesting. People only read stuff they really care about.
Action: Make a list right now of the top 12 things your customers fear, struggle with, or get stressed about. Then make a list of the top 12 things they look forward to, aspire to, or dream about. You have your first 24 blog post topics right there. Write one a week, every week. Write about things your customers are looking for. Then go out and promote those blog posts. Your warm-up period is not 12 blog posts, it’s 120 blog posts. Most people overestimate what they should expect in the short term and underestimate what they can achieve in the long term.
3. Bribe me with an irresistible offer.
I like that you have a big, bold email sign-up box that stands out. But right now it isn’t persuasive enough. Your blog posts aren’t likely to attract people to sign up, just to get more of the same.
As you work through your first 24 blog posts, you’ll be promoting them externally on forums and around relevant watering holes. Noting the responses people have to them, you should be picking the 7 or so topics that people pay the most attention to.
Package these 7 most interesting posts together into some form of product or auto-responder sequence, so that you can offer a more valuable incentive to get people to sign-up to your email list.
Name your offering in a way that makes it hard for your target customer to resist. Buzzfeed or Business Insider will give you plenty of ideas on how to make “irresistible” headlines. Your customers are likely not as rational as you think.
“7 reasons why your Agile project is doomed to fail”. etc.
Write half a dozen “irresistible” headlines and split test each one. The right headline and bribe can increase your email sign-ups 100 fold.
Action: Package the best of your new problem solving blog posts into an irresistible bribe for your email subscribers. Add a sign-up box at the bottom of each blog post and at the bottom of your “About” page.