How to Cure Your Website’s Stepford Wife Syndrome (Part I)

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In my last post, we discovered your website may indeed be a…

Stepford Wife robot!

In other words, your website’s content sounds exactly like every other business in your industry.
And we learned this is big problema!

Chiefly because generic messaging…

== > Fails to attract your ideal clients’ attention…

== > Destroys your competitive edge…

== > And commodifies your business, which dooms you to compete solely on price.

I also lured you in with a big fat tease: The promise of a remedy to this terrible syndrome.

And that brings up to the present!

So now that we’re up to speed, let’s dive into the solution to this all too common affliction!

How Do You Make Your Website Stand Out From the Crowd? (Or how do you slay the Stepford Wife Robot that’s assumed control of your website?)

In short, you need to create content that uniquely represents your business, and engages and resonates with your ideal clients.

Ok, sounds great, right? Sure! But HOW???

There are two components to this solution:

1. Story (of your business)

2. Voice (the personality in your content)

For the purposes of this post, however, we’re going to focus solely on the “Story” piece of this solution. (But never fear! We’ll get to the voice component in my next post.)

Story (of Your Biz)

This probably seems pretty straightforward, right? Sure, it’s the story of how your business came to be.

Well, not exactly… Actually, it’s the story of why your business came to be. Told from the perspective of why your business should matter to your ideal client (because as we all know, prospects ONLY care about “What’s in it for MEEEEEEEEEEEE?”)

Confused? Understandable, it’s confusing.

For a little help, let’s turn to MarketingProfs founder, Ann Handley, and her AMAZING book (about writing for marketing), Everybody Writes.

Here is 10 question exercise lifted from Everybody Writes designed to help you pull together the building blocks of your business’s story:

1. What’s unique about your business?

2. What is interesting about how your business was founded + what’s unique about the founder?

3. What problem is your business trying to solve?

4. What inspired your business?

5. What “A-ah!” moments has your business had?

6. How has your business evolved?

7. How do you feel about you’re your business, customers and yourself, personally?

8. What’s an unobvious way to tell your story? Can we look to analogy instead of examples?

9. What do you think is normal + boring (about your biz) that others would think is cool?

10. And most important: relay your vision – How will your business change the world?

Now, these are some pretty meaty questions! And hopefully, they’ve already got your creative juices flowing.

But I understand trying to tackle this kind of exercise without guidance can be daunting.

So how about I answer these questions for my biz? That’ll give you an idea of what the finished product looks like.

Well friends, here goes NUTHIN’!

1. What’s unique about my business?

With nearly 20 years in professional services marketing, I understand professional services inside-and-out… The organizational structure, the goals, trials and struggles, and the triumphs. And as a seasoned copywriter, I know how to write content for professional service businesses that attracts and engages ideal clients, and wins their business!

Also, I’m dyslexic. And without delving into an involved explanation of dyslexia, suffice it to say as a dyslexic “writer,” I’ve spent my entire career engineering solutions to overcome my limitations. Similarly, small businesses face limitations… Budget, time, human resources, the list goes on… In turn, I exercise my unique problem-solving skills to help my clients overcome their limitations.

2. What’s unique about how my business was founded?

A one-time employer (now a client) praised my promotional writing skills. In that moment, I realized “I’ve been doing this kind of writing for nearly 10 years!” and it has a name, it’s called “copywriting.” From there I discovered a whole lotta people were making a great living as freelance copywriters (i.e. being their own boss). So why not me?

3. What problem am I trying to solve?

Professional service providers don’t necessarily know anything about marketing. They’re also busy running their businesses, and, you know, providing professional services. But they need clients to sustain and grow their biz. And that’s where I come in! I write marketing content that attracts and engages their ideal clients, and win those clients’ business!

4. What inspired my business?

The notion that my words could persuade people to… grasp a concept, embrace an idea, follow a cause or purchase products and services.

5. What A-ha moments has my business had?

When I realized my prospects and clients don’t really care about my writing (not the mechanics or strategy, anyway). Rather, they care about what my writing can do for them – The result! And in turn, I realized my clients’ prospects feel their same way about them.

People only care about one thing: What’s In It For me – WIIFM.

6. How has my business evolved?

In the beginning, I promoted graphic design services in addition to writing. And I marketing my services to ANY small business that would have me.

But over time, I narrowed my service offerings and shifted my target market. Now I focus almost exclusively on copywriting. And promote my services strictly to professional service providers.

7. How do I feel about my business, customers and myself?

My business is here to serve my clients, and I’m always striving to do the best job possible.

My clients are busy working, often with far too many tasks already heaped up on their plates. They don’t have the time or necessarily the expertise to market their services. And that’s why I’m here to help!

I am never satisfied with my skill level or work-product. As such, I’m always learning, sharpening my skills and endeavoring to improve the quality of my services.

8. What’s an obvious way to tell my story? (Reach for an analogy, rather than an example.)

You could do your own taxes… But would you do the best job possible? Would you leave money on the table in unclaimed deductions? Or even worse, make errors that could open the door to an audit?

To avoid those pitfalls, you hire a CPA.

I’m like a CPA for business growth. I’ll make sure you don’t leave qualified prospects on the table. Or make mistakes that drive potential clients away.

9. What do I consider boring that others think is cool?

For me, writing 1,000 words of meaningful marketing content is like a morning run or an early workout at LA Fitness… It requires dedication, discipline, and effort. But the more I do it, the easier it is, and the better it feels going down! (Just like exercise ;—)

10. How can my biz change the world?

Big businesses are shrinking, downsizing, outsourcing, and laying off employees at an alarming rate. And this trend shows no sign of tapering off. If anything, signs indicated it’s only going to ramp up further.

As such, the ONLY job security in this day and age is self-employment. And I help small business owners not only realize their dream of financial independence, but more importantly, ensure they NEVER have to worry about being fired again.

Phew, I MADE IT!

I realize this list above is a LOT to take in! But it should give you a clear picture of how this exercise works.

Now For Some Home Work

Answer these 10 questions for yourself. And then drop by my Google+ page and share any interesting insights you conjure up as a result. Looking forward to your pearls of wisdom!