July 16, 2008
The Web has gradually transformed itself from a haven for socially dysfunctional misanthropes and programming savants into a grand social and business networking environment. The popularity of MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin and all their various clones serves as evidence that people want to connect to other people. The fact that the Web is a cold, remote, isolated world oddly enhances, and actually encourages the building of relationships.
For those businesses that really don’t know how to effectively use the Web, or those that are interested in actually using their websites for more than a digital brochure, the answer is clear: your website’s most important marketing objective is to connect with a relevant audience and build a productive relationship.
Just Because It’s Trendy, Doesn’t Make It Productive
I recognize the marketing trend ‘du jour’ is visitor generated content, but to my way of thinking this is audience participation gone mad, and it serves little long-term business purpose.
Audience generated content may attract prurient interest and publicity which is fine as far as it goes, but does it really establish a beneficial business relationship? Call me a control freak, but does anyone in business really have time to deal with a slew of user generated nonsense from crazies with some axe to grind, or even well-intentioned material that doesn’t serve your purpose or enhance your image. The user-generated participation you should be looking for is email and phone inquiries from qualified potential customers looking to benefit from your products and services.
There are those who trumpet customer-democratization, but there is a difference between understanding your audience’s needs and responding to the whims and whining of a vocal few. As the owner or manager of a business, you are supposed to know what you’re doing and why potential clients should care, if you don’t, you probably have no business being in business. Just remind yourself what faulty customer feedback and participation did for Ford and Coca Cola; it brought you the Edsel and New Coke.
You have a conundrum. How can you use this incredible business connection tool and networking opportunity on your website in a way that actually benefits your business?
Connecting With A Web-Host
In a Web-based business environment it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking all problems and their solutions are technology-based when in fact almost every critical business decision is a people-problem and requires a people solution.
Website marketing is not about analytics, algorithms, or any other technical analysis or solution, it’s about connecting to an audience in some memorable manner with a relevant message that resonates with that audience’s real or imagined needs and desires.
If you want to sell more stuff, you are going to have to do it with people, which is why you need to have a website host who can engage, inform, and persuade your Web-audience to connect with you – that’s how you build an effective and profitable online relationship.
How A Web-Host Builds Client Relationships
When we talk about a real person we are not talking about you or one of your employees fronting your Web-video presentations. Reality is a funny thing, it only really exists in your mind; reality is perception and your perception of yourself is rarely the same as those that come in contact with you.
You need a professional spokesperson, actor, or announcer who knows how to deliver your message using all the verbal and non-verbal techniques that turn words into meaning and presentation into memorable experience.
There are reasons why actors look better, sound more impressive, and act more effectively than the rest of us: they are trained in the art of persuasion and perception.
The right professional actor hosting your Web-video presentation…
- Makes an instant connection with your audience and holds their attention. Perhaps you’re the exception, but most websites loose large percentages of their traffic in very short order. Half the battle in converting traffic to clients is getting visitors to stay on your site long enough to get your core, marketing message. Nothing grabs their attention more than someone who starts talking to them as soon as they enter your site.
- Establishes an immediate image based on verbal and non-verbal actions, appearance, environment, style, and ambient enhancements. So many websites are not just boring, they’re deadly boring; instantly forgettable text-based platitudes that say nothing and mean nothing. If you pick the right Web-host and give him or her the right words to say, you have a much better chance of being remembered than thousands of words of SEO-friendly text nobody will read.
- Delivers your core message quickly and with memorable impact. Even if your visitors leave without any further information you have at least accomplished your major goal of delivering your core, marketing message and establishing your brand image and identity.
- Begins the process of negotiating a relationship with your audience. Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor and leading cognitive language specialist explains how all language is a negotiation of relationships. The simple request to ‘pass the potatoes’ is a negotiation contingent on the way it is delivered. A professional actor delivering a well-crafted script excites, persuades, and motivates action, the first step in creating a lasting business relationship.
- Entertains while educating for it is the entertaining aspect of a presentation that makes it memorable. Information no matter how interesting, important or relevant dissipates in time without some memorable context to hang it on.
- Focuses attention by bringing words to life through presentation performance, using verbal and non-verbal cues, as well as visual and auditory enhancements.
- Inspires, cajoles, illustrates, explains, convinces, excites, promotes and befriends. Your website is about generating action on the part of your audience. You need to get them to email, write, phone, or contact you, so you can close the deal, and nothing motivates action better than a real human being.
- Qualifies your audience by quickly establishing what you do and why they should care. Every website gets visitors that aren’t potential clients. By explaining exactly what you do and for what kind of clients, you save yourself a lot of time quoting inquirers that aren’t real leads.
- Expresses style and substance, attitude and opinion, image and information, personality and persuasion, experience and memorability, stimulation and desire, all calculated to establish a beneficial business relationship.
And In The End
In the final analysis business is all about relationships and perception. Branding, positioning, advertising, and marketing ‘et al’ are about the creation of these relationships through the artful and creative presentation and manipulation of perception. And the best Web-tool you have to accomplish that objective is a Web-video host.
Seeing Is Believing: The Case of Cache Closed
For an example of exactly how powerful, informative and memorable a Web-host can be, visit http://www.CacheClosed.com. Not everyone needs or wants a character as extreme as this example, but my guess is, whether you love him or hate him, you will remember him. And that is what Web-marketing is all about.
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit http://www.mrpwebmedia.com/ads