An excerpt from an excellent book, The Business of Expertise by David C. Baker:
Say that you’re an undifferentiated firm in San Antonio, TX. You’re buying these arguments and want to try your hand at focusing your expertise and then reaping all the rewards we’ve been talking about, including more money and impact.
As you look at your client base, the most obvious area of focus is a vertical in healthcare. Maybe even regional healthcare centers, which by definition market to a specific geographic center since healthcare is delivered geographically to real people.
You aren’t ready to go all-in yet, though, and so you leave your website as is. Meanwhile, you do some smart lead generation to CMOs at several hundred regional medical centers. There are some e-books, a few speaking opportunities, a well-read blog, etc.
A possible victim for your services bites and is intrigued. They go to your website and their excitement wanes. While they thought of you as an expert in what they do, it seems to them like more of a bait and switch. It’s obvious from your website that you do work (that you’re proud of) for all sorts of marketers who have nothing to do with regional healthcare centers.
You might have switched gears but does your website show it?
I’m guilty of this as the next person.
My Positioning Transformation
In 2010, I presented myself as a direct response copywriter. I actually wrote more B2B copy than B2C—let alone copy for mail order products—but I hung out my shingle as a direct response copywriter.
In 2019, I added ghostwriting, specifically for lead-generation books. I started to work more with clients who needed guidance for writing and publishing their book. I still offered copywriting and marketing services.
However, I realized my website didn’t reflect my new positioning. So, I finally re-designed my website’s home page to showcase my book writing services.
I needed to collect testimonials that specifically mentioned my ghostwriting projects. I also needed to include thumbnail images of my own book with links to Amazon and my book’s website.
And finally, I needed to write more blog posts about ghostwriting, writing a lead-generation book, and how to market your own book. I did add all of that, but a website is always a “work in progress.”
My next step is to tweak my website copy even more to highlight my niche audience, which are financial advisors.
‘We Serve Anyone’ Doesn’t Cut It, Anymore
Years ago, I attended a tech networking event. I entered the vendor booth area and chatted with a few of the company representatives. One was a cyber-security startup.
I’ll never forget the conversation. While talking with a sales rep, I asked which verticals his company was targeting. Healthcare? Manufacturing? Financial services?
“Oh,” he nonchalantly replied. “We don’t have any verticals we’re going after. We can truly help any business!”
I couldn’t help but reply. “You know, it’s really hard to market to ‘anyone.’”
Which is true. Think about the above excerpt from The Business of Expertise. If you were a healthcare provider, would you be more interested in a company that specializes in working with healthcare systems or a company that works with everyone?
Of course, you’d be drawn to the specialist. Because you’d assume they had experience with your particular set of challenges and solved them. Especially if you saw a collection of case studies from other healthcare systems who experienced outstanding results after working with them.
You’re Not a Big Box Store
A copywriting coach I know said, “You’re not Walmart.”
Which means if you’re a small business or solopreneur, you need to realize that you can’t be all things to all people.
Walmart has an incredible system in place that allows them to track what sells, what doesn’t, and which vendors to use for the best deals. It entails a lot of personnel and a huge operations team.
You likely don’t have a huge salesforce that can qualify prospective clients for you.
Which means you need to do it with your marketing strategy.
It means that you need to dig deep to discover how you can help a specific type of client. It means you need to understand that client’s most pressing issues that prevent them from reaching their goals. And it means you will be able to create customized solutions that seamlessly fit that client’s needs.
Okay, You Have a Niche. Here’s What Your Website Needs…
If you’ve decided on a niche industry or profession, you need to feature certain items on your website. I’m giving you my marketing copywriter’s perspective.
Over the years I’ve helped businesses improve their website copy, the Home Page is THE most important page on your website. It’s usually the first page your visitor will see. You need to make the best “first impression” as possible in a short amount of time.
The Home Page should:
- Load fast (within 3-10 seconds)
- Identify your brand (logo in the upper left corner, tagline)
- Feature a navigational menu either on the top of the page or on the left side
- Clearly identify the business you’re in and the results you offer
- Showcase your credentials
- Have a clear path for the visitor to take the next step and get the information they need
- Include quick scanning, which means short paragraphs, headlines, sub-headlines, bullet points, photos, captions, charts, etc. Again, all to quickly capture attention and encourage the visitor to explore your site
- Include sales message copy
- Showcase copy that offers a buyer-benefit headline (a “Big Promise”) at the top of the page and the rest of your copy supports your promise
- Feature testimonials and social proof
- Feature thumbnail images of your book(s) if you have one
- Feature media logos for when you either appeared on a show or were mentioned in their TV show, radio show, podcast, or printed media
Amateurs Focus On Vague Claims
In his book, The 6-Figure Speaker: The Ultimate Blueprint to Build a Business as a Highly-Paid Professional Speaker, Brian Tracy says, “Amateurs focus on getting booked. 6-Figure Speakers focus on building credibility.”
My version: Amateur businesses focus on vague claims, successful businesses focus on specific proof.
This truth applies to your website, which includes your positioning. Your job is to communicate your business’ credibility as quickly as possible.
If you change your area of focus, support it by matching your web copy to your chosen audience.
Because when your perfect prospect lands on your site, you want them to feel like they’re in the right place.