Enough About You…

brand-v-sellingRecently, a business owner asked me to take a look at her restaurant’s website. She had invested a fair amount of time and money in developing a strong brand identity but the site wasn’t generating any buzz or converting much of its traffic into sales.

So I fired up the internet and dropped in to take a look.

I noticed that though the site is well designed and easy to navigate, it isn’t very welcoming. There is very little content beyond an explanation of the concept. No food shots, no photos of restaurant’s interior, no “peak behind the scenes” articles, no special offers, no coupons. It also has a flat graphic style that consists of colorful little shapes against a white background, making it as warm and fuzzy as a manual on Cloud Computing.

Food is an emotional issue  — it’s primal, it’s sensual, it’s fun — but there is very little here that would make a hungry person to drop what they’re doing, run on over, and grab a bite to eat.

In short, though the business owner successfully created a strong, identifiable, and attractive identity, she had neglected to appeal to the customer, that is the site is not compelling the visitor to buy anything, it wasn’t “Selling.”

To many, Branding is the Holy Grail of marketing. The terms “Branding” and “Selling” are sometimes used interchangeably but like Corned Beef and Cabbage, or Kale and…whatever,  they are best seen as complementing each other.

Branding is inward looking—it’s about what you say about yourself.
Selling is outward looking — it’s about connecting with your customers.

Branding is about your company.
Selling is about your product or service

Branding is a promise you make to your customs.
Selling is how you will fulfill that promise

I always ask my clients to put themselves into the customer’s shoes, to look at their marketing from the customer’s point of view. They searched you out because they have a specific need and are looking to see if you can meet that need. Show them how you can help them instead of trying to impress them, that you are someone they can relate to.


1. Focus on What the Visitor Wants
Give them the sense that you are interested in their needs and not just on promoting your self. Many companies miss this point, they are more interested in telling people what they want them to know, rather than take the time to understand them.

2. Content Answers Questions
Provide them with content that answers their questions and anticipates their needs —let them know you’ve thought about them. People buy, or decide to buy on the Web because they find answers, finding answers builds trust in the site and the company.

3. Speak their Language
Stay away from professional or “in-house’ jargon. Your content should speak directly to the customers in a conversational tone in words they would use to describe your product or service.

4. Make Your Case
Website content must clearly convince buyers to make a purchase on both an emotional and rational level. They will connect with the emotional part of your pitch while also considering the facts. Make sure to include a call to action — ask for the sale!

5. Make them feel like family
You’re not going to win them over by treating them like another number. Earn their “friendship”, by having multiple channels of engagement. Share relevant information that is not directly involved with selling, but that they will find useful or interesting.

6. Design for the Visitor
Since the first exposure people will have with your company is your site, build one that reflects your business and caters to the needs, and interests, of your customers. Use design elements from the interior design to create a consistent experience and make it easy for them to find what they are looking for,

7. Remove Barriers to Sales
Once they decide to buy, get out of their way. On all sites, especially on an e-commerce site, make the sales process as simple and easy as possible. In the case of restaurants, link to sites like Seamless or OpenTable to make ordering for delivery and making reservations easy.

After the sale, keep in touch — you’re all friends now!!


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