2 Big Ways to Make Your Website Stand Out from the Crowd
Have you ever noticed that websites tend to be very similar within any given industry? Think about it, or better yet, start Googling! Look up dentists in your area or primary care doctors. Look up CPA's or tax professionals. Try to find a particular type of software. Imagine you're actually trying to determine who to give your business to and read a couple of the websites.
Can you even tell how they are different from each other? Do any of them really stand out? Frequently, the answer is a resounding NO.
At a glance, design can certainly draw us to one site over another. But if you're really trying to find a CPA, you're going to get beyond design and into content pretty quickly, right? Ultimately, you want to find a reason why you should pick one CPA over another. If you're a CPA (or dentist or whatever) that wants more business, you need to make sure your website content stands out from the crowd.
Here are a couple suggestions (beyond a nice-looking site - don't skip that part)!
1. Get personal & honest. Real talk: when I ask the questions "What makes you different from the competition?" and "Why should someone choose you over a competitor?" I usually don't get a great answer on the first try.
The truth is, most businesses aren't operating in a "blue ocean" with no competitors. Few are offering products or services that people can't find elsewhere. While proprietary processes and approaches or desirable features can certainly help products and services stand out, often the truly unique thing about a business is the people that work there.
At the very least, every company has a founder or owner who is there for a reason and has a story to tell. Many companies have a culture and collective personality, too. Yet, very few websites highlight these true differentiators. It's very powerful when someone reads your story and can relate to it, empathize with it, or clearly understand the passion behind it.
Authenticity is attractive! Why not showcase some of that on your website? After all, no one else in the world has the exact same story as you do.
2. Check up on the competition. Remember our little Google exercise from earlier? Do it again. This time, compare what your competitors are saying on their sites to what you're saying on yours. Is your message readily distinguishable from the competition? Or are you all "providing a comfortable and caring environment", "putting clients first", or "have X number of years experience"?
None of these are bad sentiments, or things your prospects DON'T want. But they fall flat on on their own, especially if the website next door says almost the exact same thing.
If you aren't hungry for more clients and truly don't care what your competitors are saying - I see you. But for most businesses, it's worth a look.
I'll never stop pushing clients to really think through the "big question" of why prospects should choose them over a competitor. Don't just go to your services or processes as you're considering this question. First, think about the reason the business exists, why it's important to you, who you are and how you got where you are today.
Telling that story well, along with a clear description of what you provide and who you help will set you apart in a way no one else can duplicate.