Experiences Sell!

experiences-sellEvery product or service has some sort of experience attached to it. Everything from the initial contact, to the way the sales person talks to you, to how the ordering or purchase process takes place, to how the product or service is delivered, to how the company follows up with you and everything in between is all part of the experience.

Ever purchased a great product, but had a bad experience around it? Ever purchased a product or service, and had such a great experience it almost didn’t matter how good the product was?

I’m sure you’ve experienced both.

Apple is a great example of a company that has built an experience around their products. Buying an Apple product, an iPad, an iPhone, an iMac… it’s just plain FUN! The Apple store is different and exciting, their reps are friendly and helpful and the packaging is designed so it’s even fun to open the darn thing! The support, setup and followup is also a pleasure. Most people I use this example on are smiling at this point and saying they want to go to the Apple store now.

I have an iPad and I love my iPad, but I’m of the firm belief (uh, oh, I’m about to start a fight aren’t I?), that the Apple products aren’t proportionately better in quality than their counterparts, yet they get away with a higher price and create fanatics, in part, by the great experience tied directly into every aspect of their brand.

When it is all said and done and the product or service has been provided, what do people remember most? How they were treated… how the experience was. Take a look at the average review left for a product or service and you will find many references to the experience provided. If there any bad experiences with staff or the process, you are bound to hear about it.

Long afterwards, you remember the experience. How it made you feel and if you enjoyed it or not. I hear many many stories from people about their experiences with products or services. Some good, some bad… but overall, people talk about their experiences because that is what they remember. The trinket they bought might be long-broken and gone, but they remember how much fun it was to buy it and how friendly that woman was at the counter.

Does your client or customer have a great experience when they buy from you? What will they remember from the experience of working with you or buying one of your products? Was it enjoyable? Were you friendly? Professional? Was there something unique about the process that made it memorable? Did they have fun or learn something?

You will always sell more, retain more existing clients and get better word of mouth if you create an experience around your product. Experiences sell!

If you have not taken a look at your experience, give it a look and make sure it is memorable… in a good way! It doesn’t need to be rocket science or cost you an arm and a leg… but it does need to be different and memorable and it does need to be a process or system that you put into place and make policy.

 

For example…

Here at Rock Paper Simple, we strive to make every new website an experience that our clients will enjoy and remember. It’s something that one might think might be boring or disinteresting for one of our clients, but we found creative ways to keep them engaged and on-board.

We start with our energetic welcome email that takes the new client to their “Development HQ” where they are greeted with exciting copy and directed to very clear steps detailing what they can expect next so we dispel any fears, confusion or apprehension right away. We provide them with an online questionnaire form, a form to send us files directly and a scheduler to schedule phone meetings with one of our staff. We also include links to easily share that they are getting a new website on major social media platforms and graphics for them to use to share the excitement as well.

We schedule an initial planning call where we strategize about their website and how to present their messaging, call to actions and lead capture methods. We explore their brand and unique offerings to find the best way to build their website. And of course, we are always personable and pleasant.

They also continue to receive educational and fun emails from our system through-out the development process so they stay connected, learn alot and have fun even when they are waiting for us to send the next revision.

When the project is over and we deliver, we ensure everything is just right and double check they are pleased with their website. We follow up with a thank you and a small gift and finally we send them some cool business cards with their website address on them too.

We know that people remember experiences and they will pay for good experiences… so we do more than just sell websites; we sell an experience as well.

 

How can you make experiences sell for you?

So how can you build an experience around your brand; your product or service? Can you add some fun or education? Can you improve the pleasantness of initial contact or continued contact? Can you add a followup policy? Perhaps you can setup a series of email autoresponders? Is your website easy to use? Do you have a customer login or dashboard that makes it easy for them to engage and stay updated?

Ultimately you need to make sure the client or customer feels engaged and cared about and has a unique and enjoyable experience. If you can do that… you’ve got a happy customer who will tell others and probably buy from you again.

 

A final thought

One final thought on the experience you are offering your clients. How is the user experience on your website? For some of your prospects and clients, your website is where the experience with your company begins. The experience should be a good one. How does your website make people feel? Is it easy to use? Is the navigation clear and concise and can they find what they are looking for quickly? Does everything on the website work properly?

If you deliver your product or service directly through your website, it becomes even more critical that your website is designed and developed with the user experience in mind. So many parts of the customer experience are directly related to the web presence and some of the great ideas we have seen for customer experience can be creatively accomplished via an enhanced website.

Remember… experiences sell!

The Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid #10 – No Traffic Strategy

The Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid Rock Paper Simple 10Oh yea… we made it! We’ve gotten through all 10 pitfalls and with plenty of time to spare… and here’s #10! 

This one doesn’t really have anything to do with your actual website at all… but it is just as important as all the others, because if you have no strategy to drive traffic to your website, there really is no point in having it!

This is one of those questions we ask our clients. “How will people be coming to your website?” This really should be determined before even building your website, as it can greatly affect how it should be laid out.

Many companies have great websites with fantastic visual and call to actions, but they are not seeing the results they expected? Why not? Because there is simply no traffic going to the website! A website can only convert traffic that it receives. So how are people finding your website?

Without some sort of marketing to drive people to your site, your website would be like a billboard put out in the middle of the Sahara desert, wouldn’t it? It would be completely worthless and it won’t be seen by anyone… except the random gerbil and gazelle (yes, I used gazelle as an example on purpose and yes, they live in the Sahara desert).

So make sure you come up with a strategy to drive traffic to your site. It can be any number of marketing techniques including internet marketing. You could try search engine optimization, pay per clicks, social media marketing, content marketing, blogging, postcard mailings, speaking engagements, networking, radio and any other number of methods.

Just make sure you don’t have any of the other major pitfalls on your site once you do drive traffic to it!

Download our FREE eBook that includes the other 9 reasons!

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Talkin’ Marketing at the Entrepreneurial Summer Camp

Joshua Adams - Melbourne, FloridaWe had a blast at the fourth annual Entrepreneurial Summer Camp sponsored by the Women’s Business Center and Junior Achievement of the Space Coast at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.

The Entrepreneurial Summer Camp was a five day event for youth aged 13-18 years, and various local business owners and entrepreneurs presented business and entrepreneurial concepts in fun and interactive sessions.

I went in and tackled Branding & Marketing and gave the kids our “Seven Steps to a Marketing-Focused Website” talk and showed them how to make sure a website works for your business or venture and chatted a bit about ROI and what it means to make sure that every dollar you spend on your business has a purpose.

It was so much fun and I remember particularly one young girl who had a wallet-making business, where she made wallets from duct tape. Another young artist-turned-entrepreneur tried to sell me a wall mural for our office! If we hadn’t already had everything all done and setup here, I would have taken him up on it… he had a great pitch!

Part of business, part of the entrepreneurial dream, is to be able to make a difference and accomplish things you have a passion for and these kinds of events are just an example of that. As a business owner, I am able to participate in sowing seeds into these kids lives, give them insight into what it is like to run your own business and to give them some advice about marketing and branding. They may not be ready to use it, but it gives them options for their future and what are we if we neglect our coming generation?

I’m proud that we can be involved with local organizations like the Women’s Business Center and Junior Achievement and make a difference in our community and some kid’s lives!

Now go out and find a cause… find a need and give back to your community! Sometimes it’s not all about the dollars and cents as much as what kind of impact you make around you while earning those dollars and cents. I truly believe that so many of our business community’s business leaders have been incredibly influential and moving us all forward and I believe that many more have yet to contribute only because they don’t realize how much of a difference thay can be making.

Have an awesome day and keep moving EVER FORWARD!

Be true to your brand

brand identityYour brand is one of your single most valuable business assets. It embodies everything that your company is and how your prospects, clients, customers, peers and even your competition views you. Some brands are even worth more than the companies they are attached to!

How you present your message and even your message content itself has a large bearing on your brand. Before you delve into marketing yourself, you should have a solid idea of who you are, what you stand for, what makes you different and who you serve. Without a strong identity, it is difficult to gain the attention and respect of a fast-paced business and consumer world. You have to stand out, be unique and different, if you want to be noticed.

When we work with our clients, before we start developing their website, we ask them about their brand and how they want to present themselves. We ask for existing collateral and any messaging they currently have so we can determine the best way to present their message online. We need to understand what their voice sounds like, and what their brand personality is like because that will affect how we present their content and messaging on their website.

If one of our clients had a loud, fun and humorous brand, how terrible would it be if the website did not show any of that? It might look great, clean and professional, but if it lacks their personality and the key elements that they use to connect with their target demographic, then the website will fail to produce results for them. Likewise, if their brand is designed to be very corporate and straight-laced, and we design a loud and fun website, we are likely to scare away their target clients.

With a background in marketing (I owned a marketing agency for several years), I look at websites differently than most “web guys”. I look at it as an asset and an investment in marketing for a business. It should reflect the company messaging, have a purpose and create results for my client. This is why we are so focused on creating a website with clear call to actions, solid lead capture methods and accurate brand representation.

Now, the call to actions and lead capture topics are for another day (and I’ve blogged about them before)… but today I really want to chat about branding and how incredibly important it is to be true to your brand in all of your marketing, including your website.

 

Know your brand.

know-your-brandSo, let’s chat about your brand. Have you clearly identified your brand and personality? Have you defined a world view and how the brand reacts and presents itself? Have you defined a target demographic? Have you defined what sets your business apart? If not… do it! You will be doing yourself a huge favor and giving your business a more solid foundation. It is so much easier to market something that is clearly defined and organized. If you KNOW who you are, it is a piece of cake to market yourself. A well-defined brand is a marketer’s dream!

Once you know your brand, you will be able to ensure that all of your messaging, marketing and advertising has a cohesive message… and you will find the response to your marketing is much better.

If you haven’t got that part figured out and need help, find a professional that can help guide you. Look for one that has proven success with their own businesses or others and one that “gets you”. If you need a recommendation, shoot an email off to us, we know plenty of awesome branding and marketing people.

 

Be true to your brand.

Stay True to Your BrandGreat! You have your brand together and are ready to get online. Now be true to that brand! The website should look, feel and read in a way that conveys your brand, your benefits, your uniqueness. If you want people to take note, you have to prove to them that you are noteworthy. If you want people to begin to identify with you and your brand, you have to be consistent.

I’ve seen great brands with owners who are incredibly personable and fun to be around, with super boring websites that just do not do them justice.  On the other hand, I’ve seen very serious brands with websites or marketing that is loud or fun and simply does not represent them properly. If you are fun… show it! If you are serious… show it! Whatever your brand is… whatever your message is, make sure that in all of your marketing, you continue to be consistent and clear with it.

 

Don’t be afraid to scare people away.
Shout out your message!

Get Your Message OutNow here is the important part. If you take NOTHING else home with you after reading this… take this. You WILL irritate people, you WILL scare people off and you WILL rub people the wrong way if you are doing it right. Your brand and likewise, your website, should not be “all things to all people”. It should be hyper-targeted to your target demographic; to the people you want to sell to. Stop trying to make everyone happy and focus on making your ideal prospects super happy!

Would you prefer to have everyone visiting your website think your brand and website is nice and professional or would you prefer to maybe scare some away, but create fanatical buyers from the rest?! Make sense? Now, I’m not saying to be rude or crazy (unless that’s your brand, haha!). I’m just saying that you need to stand for something with your brand and you need to create something for people to identify with.

 

Here’s an example.

Rock Paper SimpleCase in point. In the past, I owned a company that was straight-laced. We were incredibly professional, clean and… well… boring (which is nothing like me: I’m loud, goofy and energetic). Our website was all about us, it talked about our services and we generally presented ourselves in a dry fashion that didn’t really speak to anyone. Now… we didn’t scare anyone away, but we didn’t create fans or people that were passionate or excited about our brand either. We didn’t talk about what was in it for our prospect and we didn’t identify to anyone.

When I founded Rock Paper Simple, on the other hand, I determined that it was going to have a very distinct brand and personality. It was going to be fun, humorous and focused on creating results for our clients. The brand is energetic and loud and and fun loving. All of our messaging reflects it. From our energetic copy and call to actions, to the scattered jokes in the copy, to the funny titles we have (my title is “head honcho”) to the way we write our blog posts… we are all about being real with people.

Now there are some people that really don’t like that and will never do business with us. That’s cool and I’m ok with that. Ya’know why? Because there are plenty of people out there who come across our website, our branding, one of my speaking engagements or even just someone I meet on a plane that LOVE our brand and LOVE the way we present ourselves. And when you get prospects and clients to identify with your brand like that, you sell more, get more referrals and have more happy clients.

 

So… be true to your brand.

Let that personality shine through and make sure your website conveys that messaging. Maybe it’s the way the headlines are presented… maybe it’s the way the call to actions are worded or maybe it is the type of images you use. It doesn’t matter the technique… just make sure that your unique message comes across.

Take a look at your website. Is it true to your brand?

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