So many times I go to look up a company and take a run through their website to get an idea of who they are and what they do. More often than not I am thoroughly underwhelmed. It’s not for lack of effort – many of the worst sites I’ve visited were professionally produced with good design and graphics. Hey, they look like real companies. Most of the time what sucks is the content. The content is well written, in the sense of grammar and editing, but after about 2 minutes I’m practically begging for mercy. What’s my problem?
First, if I read one more absolutely worthless line like “we leverage our unique capabilities to drive strategic value for our global customers” I’m going to go break something… Really, WTF does that mean?? Your competitors say the same thing, so why not? That’s precisely the problem. They all say the same stupid, meaningless and impossible to prove crap.
Oh, but you put it in a CMS with RSS feeds and lots of flash – doesn’t that make it good? No – sucky content cannot be improved with technology or sizzle. It still sucks.
My friend recently took on a new career as a counselor at a well-known outplacement firm. He has learned more about marketing in 2 months than most marketers learn in a lifetime. Beyond helping with the transition process and giving his clients confidence to move forward, one of the first transformations he can accomplish is with their resumes. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t respond to stuff you find on most resumes. Why should your customers respond to the same level of crap on your site in in your collateral and presentations?
The problem with most resumes is that they focus on responsibilities (features) and not on accomplishments (benefits). Employers want to hire people with impact value. What was the result of your 10 years with XYZ corp? So what, you managed this function. What improvements did you make? Or, did you fail to move the business forward while it was under your care? If so – you’re not getting hired by me…
Instead of writing your site like everybody else – how about writing it like a resume? I can tell you right now that it’s very hard to do this well – but what things of value aren’t hard work?? It starts with a brief (2 sentences, max) summary of who you are. Then an exploration of your capabilities as told through your accomplishments. Let me give you an example.
I love to give my ex-employer Sybase a hard time because, well, they’re easy… Anyway, look at what they put in the image to the left This is what shows up on their home page. And actually this is better than what you find with most companies. Now, imagine if the what you saw front and center on their home page was the following:
Sybase’s iAnywhere mobile solutions helped McKesson Corporation save millions of dollars by delivering solutions that reduced calls for delivery errors by 97%, eliminated imaging costs, and reduced delivery claims by 30%. What can Sybase help you achieve?
As a buyer, CEO, business line manager or even technologist, which approach is more powerful? Which message might make you more interested?
What if all sites were written like resumes with accomplishments front and center, and perhaps a framework of capabilities to show where the successes fit in your strategy? Then, everybody could easily see that your old, features-oriented and tripe-laden site just plain sucks.
I’d love to give you examples of sites that do this really well, but I have not seen any recently. Have you? If so – let me know.