It's the question we hear all the time, right? Doesn't matter what event you're at. Doesn't matter who you're meeting. It's one of the first questions we answer and it gives us an immediate chance to shape the discussion.
Your website hears the same question!
Within a few seconds of arriving at your site, people are left wondering the same question – “what do you do?”
Another way of thinking about this is that people arrive at your site hoping it can do a job for them, and within the first interaction, determine if your site can actually do it.
Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt would tell his classes, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”
And the question is, if clients show up to your web site – what job are they hoping it will do?
Hiring for jobs
When Clay Christensen talks about the work his team did with a fast food company to help them increase their milkshake volume, he doesn't talk about the normal client segmentation that we think about.
He didn't ask them to pull together purchasing data by day of the week, projected revenue of the customer, or size of the shake ordered. Instead, his researcher sat inside one of the locations and watched. Who bought? When? Did they drink it on site?
And soon they discovered 40% were ordering them early in the morning and walking out the door. That's when they realized people were “hiring the milkshake” to do a job. They needed something that was easy to consume, with one hand, without a mess, and took some time – all while they drove their commute.
Is your website working?
I was reminded of this dynamic – that people are coming to my site with a job in mind – this past week as I continued my branding refresh with Chris Ford.
Every few years I hire some external help to evaluate my brand messages. It's an easy way to see if what's in my head is matching my overall presentations, writing, and more. This year I've been doing it with Chris – who really knows her stuff.
And immediately, it was clear that if people were coming to my site to hire a speaker, or get help with team productivity or new product development, or to buy my eBooks, that my site wasn't doing it's job.
If the things you want people to do match the things people want to hire you to do – make that transaction easy.
The Good News
Here's the great news. When people used to ask me what I did for a living, I used to spend a lot of time explaining the nuances of the work I did. But over time I realized that was useless. Not even my wife understands my day job.
So I started working on my response so that it was short, easily understandable, and expressed enough benefit that people would know whether to keep the conversation going or walk away.
My site hasn't been doing that – but I'm not worried. Because here's the good news. Just like you can refine your answer to the question, you can refine your web site to do its job better.
Are you looking for a refresh? I know a great set of developers and designers. Comment below and I'll hook you up!