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design your home page with your clients in mindToo many business owners websites are designed as a showcase for their business. Their mistaken idea is that if they look good people will be impressed and want to work with them. But, not so. People visiting your website only care about their task at hand.  They need to know right away if they are in the right place and can this company solve their problems.

To be effective in attracting and converting visitors into clients, the website’s owner needs to look at things from their customer’s point of view and provide the look, feel and information that the customer wants to see so they make a connection. Boasting about your business and tooting your own horn does not work to form a connection. And talking all about yourself is a sure losing proposition.  Be honest, when you visit a website, have you ever been dying to read a company’s mission statement on their home page? I thought not.

This flaw in this thinking is illustrated in a story shared by my friend, Alice Franklin, about entertaining a seabird.  You may be thinking “What does entertaining a seabird have to do with your homepage?” Read on to find out:

In ancient China, a disciple was talking with his teacher.

“Master,” said the disciple, “It is said that all you really need to know in dealing with people is to simply always treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. What do you think?”

“Let me tell you about how the Marquis of Lu entertained the seabird,” the Master responded.

“One day a rare and beautiful seabird was blown far off course by a storm. It came to earth in the capital of Lu. The Marquis of Lu was delighted, and made the seabird his special guest. He had performers sing and dance for it day and night, and he presented it with fine roast meats and excellent wine. But the bird was terrified and confused, and it ate and drank nothing. After three days it died.”

“The Marquis of Lu entertained the seabird the way he liked to be entertained, not the way a seabird likes to be entertained.”

We don’t want our website visitors terrified and confused or bored and unimpressed.  The fact is, website visitors choose to work with the company that best communicates about their product or services presenting them in a way that the visitor understands and connects with.

Your potential customers come to your site because they have a specific need or goal, such as finding:

  • a solution to a problem they have
  • specific information quickly
  • contact information such as a phone number or directions
  • a way to complete a specific task and move on
  • a product to buy, a reservation to make or a consultation to sign up for

Just as the Marquis of Lu didn’t consider how the seabird wanted to be entertained, you are being very short-sighted if you make your website all about what you want people to see on your site. The better you know your target customers, the better you will select the design, visuals, and copy for your website so that it will tell your story in a way that connects with your ideal customers, creates trust, inspires action. Anything else gets in the way, and it just may kill the seabird.

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