Do You Really Need a Website for Success?

Do You Really Need a Website for Success?

Bought a hammer online the other day.

I had a great woodworking idea, so the first thing I did was buy an expensive, top-rated tool. It was hammer technology at its finest . . . so the ad said.

The features included:

  • Durable steel construction for strength,
  • A patented anti-vibration handle to minimize shock and increase comfort;
  • Perfect balance at a full 28 ounces, and
  • Torsion control stabilizers to minimize that dreaded arm-twisting fatigue!

Cool. Very, very cool.

But, wait . . . here’s the best part.

It had a 75 percent larger strike face for improved striking accuracy!

The message is hammered homeThe blood curdling screams as that 75 percent larger face struck my (now 75 percent larger) thumb could be heard clear across town.

It throbbed for almost a month.

Haven’t seen the hammer in a while. It’s somewhere in the field across the street.

Owning an expensive, hi-tech hammer doesn’t automatically make you a successful carpenter.

The same goes for websites

My neighbor, Bob, bought a website package online the other day.

He had a great business idea, so the first thing he did was buy an expensive, top-rated webhosting package. It was Internet business technology at its finest . . . so the ad said.

The features included:

  • A tough-as-steel anti-hacking technology to give the website security and strength,
  • Hundreds of unique templates from which to choose,
  • Built-in navigation options to steer your prospect toward the checkout, and
  • An interface that would literally write your copy to eliminate that dreaded writer’s fatigue!

Cool. Very, very cool.

But, wait . . . here’s the best part.

It had a 75 percent faster server response capability for load times approaching the speed of light!

Bob didn't have a website messageThe blood curdling screams as that 75 percent faster site drained Bob’s (now 75 percent smaller) bank account could be heard clear across the Internet.

Creditors pounded on his door for almost a month.

Haven’t seen Bob in a while. Last time I spotted him, he was wandering aimlessly in the field across the street.

Maybe he’ll find my hammer . . .

Sure, you’ll want a website. But more importantly,

You need a message. And you need it first.

If you’re just starting out as a small to medium business or even a one-man-band, your website’s message is crucial to your success.

You’ve got to have a clearly defined, easily understood and persuasive message so that your reader gets you. If you don’t have one, then don’t waste your time and money on a website.

The field across the street is only so big, you know.

What your message is not

Mission statements are important things to have. According to Entreprener.com, a mission statement is:

A sentence describing a company’s function, markets and competitive advantages; a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies.

They go on to explain that,

A mission statement defines what an organization is, why it exists, and its reason for being. At a minimum, your mission statement should define who your primary customers are, identify the products and services you produce, and describe the geographical location in which you operate.

So, is your mission statement your message? No.

It’s more important to communicate the mission statement to employees than to customers. Your mission statement doesn’t have to be clever or catchy – just accurate.

So your mission statement is not your message. Your message is directed outward, toward your prospect or client. The mission statement is internal. You do need a mission statement because it’s vital when defining your external message.

Don’t make the mistake of using bland truisms or flowery waffling, according to Richard Branson, the founder of Vision Group. Show some imagination and direction, but be honest.

Similar to a mission statement, the vision statement takes it a step further. The website, Mindtools.com, outlines 3 steps to create a vision statement:

  1. First identify your organization’s mission. Then uncover the real, human value in that mission.
  2. Next, identify what you, your customers and other stakeholders will value most  about how your organization will achieve this mission. Distill these into the values that your organization has or should have.
  3. Combine your mission and values, and polish the words until you have a vision statement inspiring enough to energize and motivate people inside and outside your organization.

The vision statement is a step closer to your message as it defines your company’s purpose according to your values and beliefs, not bottom line measurements. It can be both internal and external at the same time.

It’s still not your website’s message. The one your prospect needs to read.

Your message is for your prospect’s eyes only

Now we’re finally down to your message.

Take your mission statement and your vision statement and combine them into a message that talks directly to your prospect’s needs.

Your message is a one-on-one conversation. It’s a dialog, not a monolog. You let your reader know that:

  • You understand her challenges.
  • You can provide solutions for those challenges.
  • You understand what she wants, needs and desires for her business.
  • And, you are approachable, someone she can confide in – not some know-it-all, distant guru.

Keep your message plain and simple. Be human, be real. You don’t have to use big words and show off your intellect to prove your wisdom. Simple, easy to understand language is more effective for that task.

Leonardo Da Vinci put it this way: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

If you’ve read through my site, you discovered a recurring theme:
Your message and all of your writing should transform you into someone your prospect can come to know, like and trust.

A likeable expert.

Your consistent, well-defined message will do that when you keep it easy to understand and believe. (If you already have a site, hammer out your message before you go any further.)

Once you’ve figured out your message, you’re ready to build your website and open up shop.

I don’t want to see you wandering around aimlessly in the field across the street with Bob!

I don’t need the hammer that bad . . .

To your success,

Steve Maurer – steve@maurer-copywriting.com
(479) 304-1086

Comments

  1. says

    Great stuff Steve. Could not agree more. Now…if I can just get my industrial marketing friends to buy into the brand message idea?

    Thanks for the insights and entertainment.

    Tom

  2. says

    Steve, that was a great post. I am going through Nick Usborne’s Marketing Confidence right now and he mentions the same thing. It really is about the message. People can connect with a message better than a vision statement. Thank you for your messages to us. Dede

    • says

      Dede,
      Thank you very much.
      Nick’s course is fantastic. In fact, I’ve take a couple of his courses. The man really know his stuff. It was through the very course that you’re taking that I was able to nail down my message.

      Thanks for the comment and the best of success to you!
      Steve

  3. says

    Steve, I love this message. It’s clarity in its very essence. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Much appreciated. I know now that I am on the right track in delivering this very message to my own would-be clients. I’ve seen so many websites (mostly not-for-profits) that use their mission statement on their About Me page. I don’t know if it’s laziness, lack of knowledgeable staff, or not being savvy about how to build a website. It sure makes for an ineffective web site though.

    • says

      Shelly,
      Thanks so much for the comment. Much appreciated.

      Keep on delivering the message about messages! The non-profits you are referring to may not know about having a message on the site, not just the mission statement.
      Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to help them understand the importance of their message and how it will help their bottom line.

      Here’s to your success,
      Steve

  4. Lee says

    Hi Steve,

    I love reading your posts and articles…besides being uber informative they are always, without fail, entertaining.

    This sagely insight is timely for me as well….so without further ado, before another step in the website creation adventure I’m in, I’ll dig deep in the darkest recesses of my….frontal cortex(?) Until I come up with my “message”.

    Thanks again!

    Lee

    • says

      Hi, Lee.
      Thanks for stopping by! So glad you like my articles and posts.

      Not sure which cranial cortex it takes, but put it to work! Find that message!

      Steve