Business websites are one of the first things that a potential customer sees when they are looking to buy from a business. Often times companies don’t get a website that matches your values of their company. This can cause business to be lost because of a confusing message about the brand and what the brand stands for.
In this episode, I’m going to talk to you about how to ensure your website reflects your company’s values so that the right clients show up and take action on the website and have an amazing experience once they speak with you and your team. This involves you working with the right web designer who understands how to align a website design with the brand’s core values.
Links Mentioned In This Episode
Episodes Mentioned in the Podcast
Episode 7 – Value-Based Marketing To Increase Sales
Episode 37- Strong Brand Identity Part 1: The Customer
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What we discussed:
- Attracting the right person
- Why you shouldn’t DIY your website
- Honor your values and business ethics during the building process
Get a Website that Matches Your Values Transcript
*Not ready to give this episode a listen or watch just yet? Below is a rough transcript of today’s episode.*
Would you show up to meet a client for the first time wearing something that doesn’t correctly represent you or your business? No. No. Good business owner would yet. Many have websites that don’t accurately. represent their business. this is a huge problem since your website often is the first introduction to your business to a potential client.
They don’t always meet you first. So today I’m gonna chat with you about the importance of your website as part of your selling process, and have to design it to reflect your business and your customer’s. So a little bit of housekeeping. oftentimes I reference articles, other podcast episodes, sometimes products.
all of those links are gonna be in the show notes on the website for this particular firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a rough transcript. Many of the products that I talk about in some episodes we’re partners with, right? our links, if you use them, we get a little bit of a, sales kickback, usually a couple dollars here and there, nothing that’s gonna break the bank.
so that really helps us if you use our links. Plus we only talk about or recommend products that we actually use when we are doing marketing for our customers. . So that little bit helps us keep on creating this free content for you. So customer values, your values, the word values gets thrown around a lot when you’re talking about the core of your business, right?
Your business values. And so what does it mean? What are. In essence, it’s really your guiding principles, your fundamental beliefs, like why did you become a business owner? do you wanna serve a certain community? . It’s usually something like that. And then part of that really also needs to include, I think, how you’re perceived by your customers and your potential customers.
Like how do you wanna be seen? And that goes back to what I talked about in the beginning about what you wear. Because we all know that if you want to be perceived, A certain way when you walk into a room, like if you’re going to a networking event or to a trade show or into a customer’s home, or a customer’s coming to see you, how you look at that environment.
Is important, it has to reflect what you’re trying to achieve. Are you a high quality, high value type of company? Meaning you’re looking for people that are willing to spend more to get a specific experience. are you friendly and affordable? You can be friendly and high value too, by the way. are you looking for those that are looking for just a good quality service being treated well, but just need an affordable price?
No frills, no extra bells and whistles. maybe in your industry do you like being seen as always available? You always pick up the phone. You have a 24 by seven service. so all of that gets factored in. . So think about if you were your website. , right? how you dress, how your office looked, what car you’re driving, how you represent your business.
That’s really the way you need to think about your website, right? That website, your website needs to also reflect those values and how you want to be perceived and seen by those that go to the website. And I don’t think. Business owners think about the website that way, right? It is just like a uniform or a suit that they would put on or the car that they drive.
It all has to work in sync. If the website’s outta sync, you’re not gonna get what you want. And it’s a pretty expensive asset, for it not to be right. So many web designers don’t think this way, right? They don’t take this into account. , if a customer hires them, they ask, okay, what do you want your website to look like?
And they build them something of what they think that they want. and oftentimes they’re not even using the company’s color palettes. They look at the logo, they pick something similar, they don’t match up the fonts. , they’re really just using a template. and templates are fine, right?
I don’t have a problem with templates. They’re a great place to start to get inspiration, but they’re really not meant to be, okay, let’s use this exactly as it’s shown. because you like it, and so I know you’re gonna be happy with the site, right? oftentimes a web designer won’t even really change the layout.
They won’t change the colors, or they use a template that’s not flexible and then the site doesn’t wind up representing the businesses values. It’s really about what the template offers, and this is where this type of approach actually backfires. because that template might not be the right one for the type of customer you’re trying to attract.
I’ve heard a lot of business owners tell me that they’re getting calls and leads from people they don’t wanna work with. And oftentimes this is because the website isn’t set up to attract the type of person they do wanna work with. So what does that mean, attracting the right person, . So in essence, we as individuals, families, we have preferences based off of our personalities, our lifestyles, who our family is, how we want to be perceived in the world, right?
so you as a business owner, you wanna be perceived away. The customer also wants that perception. so let me give you an example to clarify this. I’m gonna, Two different types of groups, right? so let’s say you have a family of five with one working parent and one stay-at-home parent. they’re gonna look at things very differently or look for different types of companies than say, a 27 year old single woman who is career-based.
You know, she’s making six, seven figures at her firm. And I use the word firm so that it connotates that professionalism. . so those two, like if you’re just trying to imagine them, right? You see them very differently. and maybe the family is looking for a good deal at a reasonable rate. They could be making a lot of money too, but how they allocate their money is gonna be completely different than the 27 year old, right?
They’ve got kids to buy for school. Planning, for life, all that stuff, it gets spread a little bit thinner. And their perception is it’s okay, I wanna put the money in the right place, and not spend it on things that, And their minds are frivolous, right? So that’s why they want the best bang for their buck, it means, whether they’re shopping for a car or they need their air conditioning unit replaced, right?
They don’t wanna invest a lot of money in that, right? The family five is not gonna go out and buy a two seater Lamborghini. it doesn’t meet their needs. , whereas the 27 year old, she’s probably looking for something very different. she wanted this high-end, lifestyle. so she’s looking high-end, high value.
so more luxury, more perks, right? there are different things that are important to her, so she may spend the money on that two-seater Lamborghini. , that’s what she wants and she can afford it, and it fits her persona, the person that she wants to be seen as, and she doesn’t mind paying extra for that quality of that service.
Those are her preferences. So I talk about this in detail in the three part brand identity series. I did in the podcast. The link to those three episodes are in the show notes. Definitely. If you wanna go learn more about that and doing customer research and all that good stuff, definitely go check those out.
But what it comes down to is that if you have a strong brand and you know who your customer is, it’s gonna take you a long way in making sure that your website reflects that if you’re paying attention to that. the key is that you have to work with a web design company knows how to do that, that knows how to translate your values, your brands, your customer, into a website that’s gonna match everything.
So this is one of those things that I don’t recommend that you do yourself unless you know how to do this. If you feel very confident, then yeah, and you got the website design skills. But most business owners don’t, right? and that’s why, you hire someone, but you gotta hire the right person.
So how is this done? How do you know if, you’re hiring the right person? I’m gonna do a whole episode on what to ask a web design company so that you can actually interview them to make sure that if you want to go this route of making sure that your site is aligned and developed with your brand in mind that you can do.
but I’m gonna give you a little taste of that here I’m gonna tell you how we do it here at Inma, at that strategic level. So we start off with a discovery process, usually lasts an hour, sometimes two hours. and I ask a lot of questions and the question I never asked during discovery is, what website do you like?
I actually ask a lot more questions about their goals for the year. They could be financial, they could be location based, whatever their goals are, how they’re perceiving them. And then I also ask them a lot of questions about who their perfect customer is. Tell me about who they are. I’ll actually ask them like, if you have an existing customer that you would like, 10, more of those 10 would help you meet your goals.
Tell me about who that person is, who that customer is. What do they buy? How do they buy, how do they reach out to you? How, what do they do? What do you know about them? A lot of times they won’t have that person yet, or don’t know. And then I’ll ask ’em, who do you think it is? Give me this idea.
Paint me a picture. , I don’t actually ask them about, what are your values and what are your brand values and what do you stand for? usually I get that as part of the discussion anyway. people are very comfortable about talking about that. this is what I wanna do for a customer and this is what I do here and this is what I do there.
But if I ask about a brand, usually a lot of times well, here’s my logo and, this is what my internal team thinks. And, they just don’t know how to answer that question. So I don’t ask it. I ask about their customer. by asking about their customer. I get better insight into how the website needs to represent that business.
The other thing I take into consideration as well is the industry. Every industry has a set of customer expectations, industry norms, right? So when I say to you, , something comes in your head about what a plumber is, how you perceive they should be when they come to your home, or into your business. if I say to you, financial advisor, accountant, different pictures pop up in your head.
The accountant picture is gonna be different than the plumber picture, and that’s what I mean by expectations and norms. so that has to be taken into account When we’re looking at how we, structure and create your website. so
when we do that, those industry norms are pulled in. so it’s a bit of a blend process that we take into consideration. and all of that is discovered. Understood. And then when we, tell the client, okay, here’s how we’re gonna build your website, high level strategy,it’s gonna have this, it’s gonna do these things.
We’re gonna take this into consideration. again, we still haven’t asked what website they like. I actually don’t ask them what they like until we actually kick the project off. Give me a couple examples of sites that you like and they don’t have to be in your industry. if there’s a shoe shopping site that you like right?
Totally. Outside of what you do. I just wanna get a feel for what that. The customer likes themselves because then we kind of blend that in a little bit. We might take little features from what they like. We, pull in the industry norms. and then the details about the customer they’re trying to attract.
And we pull all that together and blend it so that the site, reflects the personality of the person and the business, as well as meets the industry norms and also the person that they’re trying to attract. So it’s a little bit of art, a little bit of science. . What’s funny is that some of my more savvy clients when I ask them that question, gimme a couple sites that you like, they’ll say to me, it doesn’t matter what I like, but only that the website gets the right people to come to my site and buy from me.
and I laugh, and they’re right. , they’re, they’re very smart in that and it’s usually because they’ve had a bad experience with a previous web designer and they don’t wanna go through the process again, but they know they have to get their business to grow. And and that’s probably what attracts them to me.
because of that experience that they had. And then they listen to me talk. They, maybe they’re listening to this episode right now, and they’re like, that’s what I want. I want someone who’s going to not listen to what I like, but what I want people to do when they come to the site.
So how do you know if your current website is doing this for you? It may look fine, right? It might look good. but is it attracting the right type of customer for you? So here’s a couple ways to try to tell, and I’m gonna give you some examples so that, maybe you can think about it a little bit.
So sometimes you just know, right? You look at it and. no, this doesn’t reflect me. Cause you might have a really good understanding of your business, right? The other pieces of it, your trucks, your clothing, your uniform, your car, your office space, your building, your product, your service, and you’re like, this does not reflect any of that.
It feels disjointed and that’s like a gut feeling if you have to apologize to people or. Not just apologize, but you have to explain your website. When they look at it like they’ve met you first and you’re like, go to my website, but ignore this, or this means this. That’s a red flag right there that your site’s not representing you correctly.
You shouldn’t have to explain it. . If anything, you should be like, oh, go to our website. Everything you need is right there. And it’s actually helping you with the selling process, not making you explain it. or if the site just feels wrong, but you don’t know exactly why. See, that’s the key. respect your feelings, right?
Because they’re probably right. Right? You know your business, you’re a subject matter expert, and if you look at something and you’re like, that’s just not quite right, but I don’t know why, what that means is it’s. , but I just don’t know how to fix it, and that’s okay. You don’t need to know how to fix it.
You need to know that you need to fix it. So let me walk you through a couple of examples that I have been through with, clients. One is a high-end, residential cleaning company. I talk to the owner. They provide really amazing service. They have multiple crews. They service a very large.
All of them are professionally dressed. Their, cars are, logoed and branded appropriately. they bring their own equipment. They have a schedule. , but their website looks like it’s a one person business. Like me, I’m a cleaning person, who comes in and asks the owner, Hey, where’s your mop and your vacuum?
and they don’t charge a lot for it, right? They use all the client stuff. They don’t wanna run around in things. They’ve got their carts not branded, they’re not wearing any type of uniform or shirts or anything. They just, whatever they’re wearing that day, they show up in, they come and they clean. and that’s okay.
If you’re looking for that bare bones value, right? The house gets cleaned, check, you want a extremely affordable price check, then that’s the company you’re looking for. If you go to that website and that’s who you think you’re talking to, and then you get on the phone with someone from the company and the price is higher, they talk about white glove service, you’re like, no, that’s not what I wanted.
You’re wasting their time and your. subsequently, if you have someone out there who wants that white glove service, that professionalism, that crew that comes in and does it because their space is too big for just one person to get it done in a reasonable amount of time, they’re gonna come to your site.
They’re not gonna feel it. They’re not gonna see it, that’s what you do. And they’re never gonna reach out, right? Because they’re be like, no, this one’s not for me. So it’s a lose lose for everybody. The first one’s wasting everybody’s time. The second one who could potentially be a great client and love you, is never gonna call you.
The next example is a, an actual,a technology company, right? That does high end IT services for Fortune 500 companies. , when they had a conversation with me, their current website had a lot of animals on it, right? I think someone went down a wrong rabbit hole when it was built and nobody course corrected them.
So it actually looked more like a tourism type of site than a, technology company. and that didn’t work for anybody because if, if you’re in Fortune 500 and you’re looking to outsource your IT department, you’re not going to pick up the phone and talk to somebody from a tourism site. Right?
and then the salespeople, if they tried direct people to the website, they had to explain away the animal pictures, which you don’t wanna have to do. Right? That that’s not part of the image you’re trying to portray. , we redid their entire website. that was more in line with the person or companies that they were trying to attract.
And then the last one I’m gonna share with you is, we worked with a financial advisory company in New York City. You know, bigger, bigger company, hundreds of financial advisors. they’d been around for quite some time. I think it was 80 or 90 years, they might have now reached the. Centennial Mark, but their brand was stuck in the 1950s, right?
Very old school financial branding, old boys club, type of feel. in the years that we had worked with them, they had internally changed who they were and who they were trying to attract. So their advisors were much younger, diverse group of highly intelligent individuals that would attract.
That up and coming generation that was just starting to build wealth or have some wealth and the website and the branding absolutely didn’t, reflect that. So again, the same problem as the technology company. If you went to the site as that up and coming generation, you weren’t gonna use this stodgy old company.
Or if you happen to meet one of the young, diverse, advisors, first they had to explain away that website. And you just don’t want that situation.
So maybe you feel like your site doesn’t look bad. Actually, two of the three of those sites didn’t look horrible, right? They looked professional. It was just the wrong profession or the wrong type of person. But how do you tell that some of these were very obvious? . So here’s some exercises you could do, you could talk to and ask a trusted customer, maybe that perfect customer that popped in your head when I said that.
Have ’em take a look at your site, see what they think. talk about the experience of how they found you and came to work with you. or if you just met a new person, you like them, you like having conversations with them, ask them what they think of. ask them, does this reflect what you know you think I do?
Or what my business does? Ask your employees. A lot of times they will have really great insight because they’re on the inside, but they’re thinking differently than you are. Another kind of red flag is if you’re getting emails and calls from people that aren’t in your target market, kind of like what I talked about with the cleaning company.
or they may say things to you like, oh, you’re too expensive. You’re not what I’m looking for. That’s all well and fine, but don’t change your business model because they don’t accurately represent all consumers. They don’t. accurately represent the consumers you’re going for. Don’t change your business model.
That’s an indicator to change your website, maybe even your brand, right? Trying to conform yourself to the people that are reaching out to you is a road that leads to misery, right? Because they’re not the people that you’re looking for. There is a market out there looking for. looking for what you offer, the way you offer it, and how, and the pricing that you offer it.
you just have to make sure you’re representing yourself correctly so that they know that before they speak to you or someone in your company, or if they do speak to someone in the company first then go see the website. It reinforces the. . So I don’t recommend any business just taking whoever shows up, that leads to burnout, that leads to businesses closing. You really wanna market to the customer that you really enjoy serving, and having in your business. That’s really the key to longevity. And your website and your other marketing materials are really important.
part of that whole process. And your website’s your biggest asset. hopefully you have a better understanding of how important your website is and how how important it is that it really reflects your business and attracts the right customers. So let’s talk about taking some action steps.
So first start off, look at your company values and your brand. , you can do this yourself. You can do this with a group. but ask, do it with your team. or if you are a solopreneur, someone that you trust, do it with at least two to three people. Don’t go big with a big group of people that you’re gonna get too many opinions.
then after you have that discussion, look at your website and see if it. The clients you want based off all the things I talked about here. If the answer is no, then you have won the most important battle, which is awareness. You can’t fix it if you don’t think it’s broken, but if you think your website is broken, if you think it’s not doing what you envisioned it to do, or maybe you didn’t even think it should be doing anything, it should, right?
It is a big piece of your marketing, right? everything goes there. If. Sending out emails or you’re doing digital advertising, or if you’re doing social media, nine times outta 10, you’re pushing people back to your website. And if that website, isn’t correct, meaning it’s not talking to the right people, you’re wasting all that advertising money.
So if you have said, yes, my website needs to change, then your next step is to find a website design company that knows how to fix it. what I’ve talked about here. That’s what we do here at Inma. This is the way we build. websites for clients. We don’t do them any other way. I won’t take a client that says, Hey, no, just gimme a template, throw some stuff in it and call it a day.
No, it is a much more involved process. It is a collaboration. It is a partnership so that we build something that’s going to work for the client. and I won’t take those clients that are just looking for something to get thrown up. I leave that to the other people. So don’t hire a designer who’s just going to you. Make you pick a template and change a few colors. If that’s not what you’re looking for, if what you’re looking for is what I’ve talked about in this episode, then don’t hire the designer that’s gonna do that. There are designers out there that know how to do this right?
We’re not the only ones I’ve talked to and I’ve seen others. but you wanna make sure they know how to do this, how to take your brand, your values, what you’re trying to achieve, and then build a website around it. . So here’s my final thought for. . I talk to a lot of business owners that have had bad experience with web designers.
almost all of my clients, unless we are the company that’s building the very first website for them, or, they DIYed it the first time, realized that they didn’t do it right, and then they came to us. but most of the time they’re like, no, I had this bad experience. I listened to the whole story.
I could probably write a book about all of them. because they were charged for something they really didn’t want, but they didn’t know how to give the right direction and the guidance to make it right. sometimes they went really cheap. They went. Lowest cost and they thought they were getting the high end, and they got what they paid for.
And then other times, which is what breaks my heart, is they try to find someone who does what I’ve talked about, pays that premium for a website, but they don’t get the website. that they expected and they don’t know how to course correct that. And that actually makes me really sad because I think if any one person or agency calls themselves a web designer or a branding specialist or a branding agency needs to know how to do this fundamentally, right?
this is the way it should be done and how to create that website that reflects the business and not just give them a really cool layout with slick cool stuff that’s, on trend for the next. cuz sometimes what’s trending is not what’s right for that business. that’s why I’m so passionate about this.
this is just the way we do it here at Inma. everything is about our customer’s customer. , right? So you, as the business owner, the people you serve, we’re looking out for them on your behalf. and oftentimes I have to have a very long conversation with the business owner about something on the site, something we’re proposing, because they’re like, I don’t like that.
And I’m like, okay, but will your customer like it? Will it resonate with them? Because again, it’s really not about you. , it’s about your customer. if we’re trying to meet an objective together to grow your business, then there’s certain things that we have to do. but that’s why they hire me, to have those conversations with them about these type of things and to help them understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.
So here at inma, we love to give back to the business community. we do this podcast, which we’ve been doing for several years now. And, if you have questions or wanna talk about this, you can schedule a 45 minute consultation with me for free. Uh, go to the website, inma.com. I n. yma.com, upper right hand corner, schedule a marketing evaluation and we can talk about whatever you want.
Websites, branding, perfect customers, search engine optimization. anything you need. if you have a quick question, if you. Want to suggest a show episode topic. at the bottom of the pages, there is a contact form you can fill out that also comes to me and we have our Marketing Masterminds blog and YouTube channel, which is a lot of how to content, product specific stuff.
And then we also have a newsletter that goes out, sign up for that newsletter for Marketing Masterminds. and I create little mini. with the newsletters where, I might show you a video and then I give you one or two of the podcast episodes that support the concepts of why that video is important.
So it’s actually pretty cool that I have all this great content now for you guys, to of put those little kits together. So hopefully you found today’s episode. useful, informative, something that you’re actually gonna look into. If so, consider sharing that with other business owners.
My guess is that if you need it, the people you know need it and,we grow and thrive by helping each other in the small business community, so help out another business. Share this podcast episode. and I thank you so much for doing that. So I hope you enjoyed the episode, thanks so much for listening and have an amazing day.