You never know where you are going to pick up tips about Internet marketing. Sometimes the soundest advice for running your web site comes not from an Internet marketing guru, but from something that has nothing to do with the Internet.

Bryan McCrae is a psychologist who spoke at the National Coaching Psychology Conference. And you would never have thought a conference for psychologists involved in coaching would lead to Internet marketing advice – but it did.

Bryan’s session was based on his Cognitive Sales “healthcheck” which he runs through with companies trying to improve their sales and marketing. His talk is summarised in the latest edition of The Coaching Psychologist and makes excellent reading for anyone marketing their business – online or offline.

Bryan’s “healthcheck” is based on psychological research into sales and marketing and his article in The Coaching Psychologist asks 16 questions which will help you market your business more easily. But there are three particular questions he asks of you which most web sites fail to answer.

Question 1 – The pitch
The first question that you need to answer is “what do you sell?”. Many web sites fail to reveal to their readers what they are about. My web site, for instance, does not sell anything in the normal sense – but it has an obvious “sales pitch” which is best summarised as “read this lot”. Google has a sales pitch which is obvious “search now”; Amazon too – “buy some books”. But how many web sites are focused on the “what do you sell” aspect? Too few. Does your web site make it obvious, right from the outset, what you are “selling”?

Question 2 – The benefits
Bryan’s next question for improving sales and marketing is “what benefits do your clients derive from your services?”. Most web sites appear to be promoting the features in what they offer, rather than the benefits. What does your web site mean to your readers? Too few web sites focus on the benefits to the visitors and spend their time, trapped in the mind of the web site owner, looking at the features.

Question 3 – The audience
The next important question Bryan asks is “what is your market?”. Does your web site indicate who it is for? Do people who visit your web site know it is for them? Or is it aimed at some other kind of customer? Few web sites appear to distinguish between audiences, making it difficult for visitors to know whether or not the site is aimed at them.

Now Bryan asks lots of other questions – all of them important in marketing terms – but I’ve picked out these three because most web sites I have ever visited fail to answer them. If you want your web site to stand out you need to demonstrate to your visitors

  1. What you are selling
  2. What the benefits are
  3. Who it is aimed at

Do those three things and you will connect with your visitors – and then you’ll make some more money online.

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