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Value is in the eye of the customer
2010-08-05: Here's an interesting bit of Eisenbergs' (yep, plural) Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results about customer value.
The basic idea is that on the web, people arrive at your website voluntarily and they make a judgment about the value you might bring to them. That judgment exists entirely in their head. They decide what 'value' means to them, and then they look to see if you can provide it. That's another way of saying your visitors want what they want and are goal focussed when browsing.
"The customer", he says "readily must be able to determine your value to them; they shouldn't have to guess".
He goes on to say that 'successful Web site designers' have a high degree of empathy for visitors and their values, and that comes out in that they:
  • sell something people want
  • entice and coax, they don't coerce
  • don't assume their visitors know things, but they don't talk down to them either
  • present information as needed
  • anticipate questions
  • emphasise benefits
  • write so the page can be found in search engines
  • use hyperlinks that contain benefits and questions/answers
The thing is, those things go into my head and kinda fizzle out. It's no-news.
It comes alive, though, as a checklist when you have a context. For instance, someone arrived at my blog about Facebook ads using the search keyphrase "examples of facebook ad copy". They bounced because it's not immediately obvious that I'm going to provide what they want (they're right, I don't). That's not an issue for me because I feel they are probably not a potential client, but a fellow practitioner.
So that's the point. We need to start with a clear idea of who we are selling to. So that's strategic marketing stuff about your position in the market, your value proposition and yes, a very clear and specific idea about who you are selling to. Then we need to think about what sorts of things they might want help with and how they might search for those things.
Once we know that we can look at what happens when someone searches on our target phrases. On which page do they land? Then, with our target person in mind and with a specific instance of a search (or hopefully a flow of searches) and a landing page to consider, we can decide whether we have satisfied that checklist above and start to look at the customer journey through our website via payment to the thank-you page and perhaps on to later journeys concerned with delivery tracking and support.
So if that checklist doesn't mean much to you either, perhaps the problem is you need to get specific.

By John Allsopp
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