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Your Website: Get personal or get ignored

I am looking for a product or service like the one you sell. I have talked to a couple of my LinkedIn buddies, and I have a short list.

You're on it.

I come to your website. I already know pretty much what you sell, and I know what my buddies think of you.

Before I dig deeper, I want to know who you are.

What do you care about? Why did you start your company? What are your dreams? What is the problem you're determined to solve? Is it the same problem I'm trying to solve? Do you think of this problem the way I think of this problem? How successful have you been solving this problem?

The first thing I see on your home page is a big, rotating billboard with Stock Photo People. My instantaneous, knee-jerk reflex is to look elsewhere on the screen for something that might answer one of my questions.

I click on About. I scroll. No pictures of who's running the show. &*^%. This is going to make it more difficult.

I quickly scan what you say in the About section. &*^% again. It's the same generic boilerplate Mission Statement that companies put up just because they have to have one. No answers there.

I've been on your site more than a minute now and I still don't have a single question answered.

I sigh.

Just because my buddy said you were good, I spend a little time on your product page, and I may even bookmark your site. But my mind has already moved on. You haven't told me, much less sold me, on who you are.

What do I want?

What would answer my questions about who you are - and what you can do for me? Something very personal and very specific.

I want a home page that relates to ME. I don't want to see stock photos. I'd much rather see photos of real people, your employees and/or your customers. Better yet, your real employees with real customers. And detailed pictures of your products.

I want you to talk about the problems you're solving for people like me, preferably categorized by industry, type of application, or my job function. I want to be able to read very short case study-ettes, that I can drill down on, if I am interested in a particular one.

I want to see YOU on the About page. I want to see the top execs at your company, with a short bio, and maybe even a group shot of the whole team. Knowing who you are, and what you've done previously, will help me decide if you have can help me solve my problem. Looking at the people will tell me what kind of team you've built. Are they professional? Confident? Happy?

I want to see some videos, not only of you talking, but of some of your employees talking.

Please, talk to me directly. Don't talk to some persona you made up in your head. I'm a real person, looking to buy from someone who can provide what I need. Show me how you're going to do that. Show me who you are, what you care about, and how you're going to help me.


Note: Here are two good examples of more personal, relevant websites: Bazaarvoice and MassRelevance.


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