Thursday, February 17, 2011

2 Tweets Reminding Me That I Hate My Website

I've a confession: I hate our site. Well, okay I don't hate it. I love the website I have in my mind. It's just that what I have in my mind doesn't match what's out there in the ether today. And, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll quickly guess that this inability of mine to deliver an experience on our site consistent with what we deliver in person is probably a big thorn in my side.

And, you're right. It is. I'm not practicing what I preach and there's nothing worse than a hypocrite. I have a pretty good idea of what's basically wrong with it. Here are a few:
  • It needs more "warmth" but the good news is that our new headshots are done along with some other photos.
  • I need to do a better job with getting people to want to kick off their proverbial shoes and stay a while.
  • I need to do a better job with its foundation and structure. There are very basic things I could be doing with page titles, meta tags, etc.
Between us friends, if I share more of what I know to be wrong with it, I'll burst into tears. Not to be dramatic but I am a perfectionist.  This confession comes about because on Tuesday afternoon of this week, I was innocently sitting behind this very laptop when this tweet came randomly my way from someone whom I've not spoken to (live) in a year:

"@parissab Finally had a chance to check out your website. Spotted some things that could help with SEO and stickiness. Glad to share ideas."

I was mortified.  This man just told EVERYONE something I was hoping to keep relatively secret: my poor little site is suffering mortally.  I had barely recovered from the embarrassment when it was followed up with this tweet:

"@parissab Send me a DM with your e-mail address and I'll send website suggestions to you."

I was feeling a little sassy and thought that since he "finally" scrutinized my site so thoroughly (uninvited), I could reply that he could get my contact information from the site.  And so I did.  I then got a very long email about all of the things wrong (and then some).  I was reminded that most people pay for a site overview such as I had gotten (uninvited) and that if I appreciated it, I should tell others.  I applaud his guts for this aggressive approach to what is kind of tweet telemarketing (twitemarketing?).  It did not give me warm fuzzies about him though.

Back to the matter at hand...  As you know, I wax on and on about the importance of focus, discipline and strategy in marketing. And, I wax on and on about these things being completely agnostic as to channel. Regardless of how you interact with me, you should always have the same idea of what I do and who I am about. You may not articulate my objective the same way I do, but it should be a close enough facsimile that if you were to ever recite it to me, I'd say "yes!"

I was on a call with a client last week explaining this very thing.  I said that no matter how someone finds out about her product, the impression should always be the same.  I brought up Starbucks as an example of why the best thing about it was also its worst.  Your favorite Starbucks has a certain way of doing things: the table set up, the music, the people taking the order, the baristas making your drink, cleanliness, etc.  But, when you walk into another Starbucks, something major may be "wrong" or missing.  And it gives you the impression that the left and right hands of Starbucks do not know what the other is doing.

Impressions matter as I've said so often and this week's Twitter adventure really drives that point home for me.  This man resides in another city and has no idea of the reach and network I've created within Chicago in the past 11 months since the creation of 678 Partners (sigh - it needs help).  He has no idea whom we've met, who considers us trusted advisors and how much we've filled our customer funnel.  I don't like to boast, but we've accomplished quite a bit.

And so shame on me for not inspiring confidence in those that visit our site for the first time looking to find out more about us.  The value that we bring to our business relationships personally isn't being translated online.  I may get accolades for writing this blog (and I do) which helps the 678 Partners Persona but I need to do a better job at getting people to want to know more about us if all they ever see is our site and not this blog, not our YouTube channel and not us in person.

What's your take?  Please share your thoughts and if you've liked this post, please share with your friends.

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

1 comment:

  1. Several thoughts this morning:
    1.) Everyone is a critic these days when it comes to evaluating other people's online strategies.
    2.) Offline is where the rubber meets the road. Online is just a reinforcement.
    3.) Not everyone is a Starbuck's, especially a small consulting firm that specializes in niche strategic marketing.