Does your website come across as authentically wanting to help prospects?

As we head into wintery weather, I’m reminded of what happens when a car gets stuck in the snow. Someone passing by may come over to help the stranded driver, but once they’re behind the car, the driver really has no idea whether they are back there pushing or just standing idle in hope that the car will free itself and they’ll take the credit. That reminds me of how some vendors actually get behind their clients, while other vendors just pretend to. Sure, we say we meet our client’s needs, but is our marketing message backed up with actual proof?

There are ways that we can make our websites not only sound sincere, but actually be sincere (which I define as placing our client’s needs ahead of our own). Here are some ways as well as examples that show how genuineness can come through in our content and our messaging:

Structure your content from the prospect’s point of view. Take Webex as an example, their conferencing service moves bytes over pipes, yet they structure their how-to-use site according to people’s business activities, like ‘attend a meeting’ or ‘share your desktop.’ This illustrates that they know their technology is secondary to your objective of getting work done.

Show, don’t tell. It takes people a while to leave PowerPoint for a web-based presentation design tool, but that’s what Prezi is achieving day by day. Their website helps do this by leaving lots of white space (no screenshots of button-bars) as well as a video featuring their casually-dressed CEO, half their homepage is a showcase of what other users, just like you, have created using their tool.

If your product fixes a problem for the prospect, first show you know what pain they are going through. YouILabs makes user interface software for a variety of devices that contain display screens. This helps every device manufacturer, from printers to simple symbian phones to digital signage dazzle viewers with fast motion that shouldn’t be possible, given the low-level processor hardware they contain. YouiLabs understands that these firms have been hurt by the rampant sales of high-horsepower smartphones and tablets. While they could brag about the brilliant coding logic they used to pull off such a trick, instead they let the clients imagine how good they will look in front of THEIR clients, when their screens are using YouILabs’ software.

Use words that scratch people’s itch – after all, they have come to your site because they’re looking for something. Repeating the questions they have is a good first-step, as Titus does with the rotating images on their homepage.  I’ll also give the example of Vanessa Fox’s agency, called Nine by Blue. While her business obviously depends on landing consulting clients, she publishes a lot of intellectual property on her site for free, labeling it under sections called “Learning Center” (accented by the call-to-action) “Get Trained,” “Blog,” and “Book.”

In B2B/B2G situations, demonstrate how you benefit your client’s client. An Ottawa-based software company called PatientWay has done this. Though they sell their online appointment check-in system to hospital and clinic administrators, their site is devoted to showing the positive impact they have on patients. It’s no surprise that this succeeds, it’s the same principle I’ve been describing throughout this post, just extended one more degree beyond the prospect.  And yes, prospects dig it.

So go out there, push a car out of the ditch, and authentically show how you can help your clients.