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Who’s your real, real customer? A website marketing makeover.

by Paul Montreal. Average Reading Time: about 6 minutes.

judge

I’m doing a marketing makeover on Kim’s website. She’s down in Australia, building a marketplace to help the public find the right type of Lawyer. I love marketplaces, they have huge potential. But building a marketplace is about far more than just having an idea and a database. Getting early adopters is expensive, so the site itself better be spot on when your users land. Let’s take a look at Kim’s site and see what we can learn about our own marketing in the process. (I’m listening to RY X while I work.) So, before we prepare our closing statements, lets take a look at the evidence…

Click for full size.

Click for full size.

1. Make it obvious how your user benefits from what you do.

First impressions: I land on the homepage. It looks fresh. I’m greeted by a giant, friendly, attractive smile. My attention is focused on just a few lines and one option. The copy reads…

KNOW WHERE YOU STAND

LawCorner is a question and answer site for Aussies who need legal help – find information, get answers and connect with a local lawyer who can help you.

“Know where you stand”. I love that. There are all sorts of things that could have been used as a headline, such as “Find a Lawyer”, but “Know where you stand” taps into a more emotional state. As non-legal experts, when most of us have to deal with any legal issue, we’re in unfamiliar territory. We feel like we’re on foreign soil. Maybe out of our depth. We don’t know our rights. We don’t know where we stand. When we’re out of our comfort zone, we’re looking for someone to guide us back to a place of comfort, a place of understanding.

The customer is in a state of uncertainty, and the very first thing the website promises – in huge letters – is to guide them back to a place of certainty. That’s a great start.

LawCorner is a question and answer site for Aussies who need legal help – find information, get answers and connect with a local lawyer who can help you.

That statement is so clear, so simple, it tells me as a user exactly how I can benefit from this website. Like the performance of a great dancer or athlete, great copy appears effortless. But what appears effortless is often the result of many, many hours of practice, refining and testing.

Finally, the user has a single decision to make.

What can we help you with today?
Find Information & Answers / Find a Lawyer

Two different ways to proceed, depending on where in the process the user is. And pretty easy for them to decide and move forward. That’s 2 options. Not 20. Just 2. Great.

Now, just because my experience tells me this is great copy and layout, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t test every element on the page to prove its value. For example I’d test a smiling male face vs a smiling female face. I would try and “beat” that great opening headline. But trying to beat our own best work should be standard operating practice. So far this is a superb start.

Action: How you start your users’ experience will depend upon the type of problem they have and their level of awareness. But whatever the product, your customer has a need, a problem or a challenge. And you have to acknowledge that need, and point towards a solution in the simplest, clearest terms possible. It’s not about you, it’s all about them.

2. Have a name so “Marilyn Monroe” memorable that it multiplies your marketing money.

Building a brand takes decades and costs millions of dollars. I hear people all the time talk enthusiastically about “their brand” and they are totally oblivious to the reality that the wider world really has no idea they exist.

As Entrepreneurs we love to come up with plans for world domination through the building of companies. And often we anchor those dreams to a company name. A name we created. In our minds the whole plan rests upon that name. A name we’ve said to ourselves over and over a million times. We think that is our brand.

But to the rest of the world we are invisible. We have to spend huge amounts of time and money and repetition to have even the slightest chance of being remembered.

Winning that battle is about money, creativity, guts, and having a memorable name.

As startups we can’t afford to be conservative. We can’t afford to fit in. We have to stand out. We have to use every trick in the book to multiply our marketing dollars. We have to be memorable in what we say and do, but most importantly, in how we name ourselves.

Our name is the hook that our customer uses to hang an idea on. The idea is that we can help them solve their problems.

“LawCorner” is a good name. It’s simple. It’s short. It’s got a keyword in it. You can stick it on a billboard, website or TV spot and it would fit right in.

But it isn’t as memorable as it could be.

LawCorner is a respectable 8. LawCorner went to a good school, can hold their own at a cocktail party, in the board room, or talking to your in-laws. But does LawCorner stop the conversation when they walk into a room? Does LawCorner make the front cover of the magazine?

Does LawCorner multiply your marketing dollars?

The difference between mere survival and achieving success is a very simple formula: “How much does it cost us to get people looking for a lawyer to your marketplace?” vs “How much do you earn from successful transaction fees from lawyers?”

The margin for error is tiny. So you need a name that’s an unmistakable 10. A name that stands out. A name that everyone remembers. You need the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ of names. A name so memorable that it gets shared and talked about.

Action: Your business lives or dies on a very tight margin of error. Your name is a multiplier of how memorable you are, a multiplier of every advertising dollar you spend. It’s one of the best investments you can make because it scales infinitely. Many famous products didn’t take off until they changed their good name to a great name. So, ask yourself, if this is a good name, what would be an even better name? What would be a 10?

Click for full size.

Click for full size.

3. Keep the path simple, clear, focused.

From the home page options, I click “Find Information & Answers”. The screen darkens and I’m asked to submit my postcode, so I can be given local results.

I’m then given a list of popular legal topics: Business, Family, Personal Injury, Employment Law, Property, Wills.

It’s a nice smooth path, laid out well, with large clear copy. I would expect most people to not only find this easy to follow but also feel like it’s easy to follow.

Alternatively, I can search by “Find a Lawyer”. I can type in the name of a Lawyer I might already know, or again search by category.

I’m given a nice list of matching Lawyers in my area, which I can refine based on location, time in business and gender.

So far this is clear, well-designed and smooth.

Action: Half the battle of making complex processes easier to get through, is breaking them up into small chunks, limiting the user’s options, and using large spacious design to make your process feel “childlike” in its simplicity.

CONTINUED…

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