The Importance of Leading with What You Do

Tell your audience what you do up front before getting warm and fuzzy.

By Tom Conlon, Founder + CEO

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Do you know how much time you have to deliver your message when a prospective customer or new hire hits your website?

15 seconds.

That’s the average time a website visitor spends on a new website before they bounce away (or leave the site.) This is thusly called the BOUNCE RATE and underscores the importance that:

You must deliver your business message quickly and effectively.

The job of your website (or brochure or deck) is to clearly communicate what your business is and does. It must quickly help your audience understand exactly what you do, exactly how you can help them, and hopefully, how you can do it better than anyone else. In today’s landscape of microscopic attention spans and endless competition, this is no easy task. But, if the time is taken to craft a message that truly resonates with those who view it (or read it, or hear it depending on the delivery medium) it absolutely can be done.

The first step is to identify what kind of message you want to deliver. All too often, organizations confuse the types of messaging their collateral should be delivering and rather than striking a bullseye with a well-crafted description that leaves the reader screaming “YES, this is who I need to work with!”, they instead include something that is more likely to leave that person scratching their head and moving on. In other words, they’re using a mission statement where an elevator pitch would be better suited.

A mission statement is a high-level description of what a company strives for in terms of goals, morals, commitment to service, etc. It’s often an internal rallying cry or higher purpose rather than marketing copy. An example of a company mission statement might be something like:

“ABC Investments is committed to building success one client at a time.”

Ok, so that sounds pretty warm and fuzzy and the type of company you might want to work with…if only you knew what they do! Is ABC a wealth manager, or a hedge fund, or maybe a real estate investment firm? If an individual or company is searching for a specific solution, this statement is no help at all. It can certainly be something that appears somewhere in ABC’s website and collateral, but it is much more vital for ABC to lead with something that truly speaks to their target market, explains what they do, and how and why they can do it better than anyone else. That’s an elevator pitch.

Imagine you’re in an elevator with someone and you have to interest them in your company or organization before they get off on the next floor. You need to choose your words wisely. An elevator pitch clearly defines what you do for a living so that the other person understands your occupation. But, more importantly, it tells them who you serve and why you’re qualified to serve them.

Here’s an example of an elevator pitch for our imaginary ABC Investments:

“At ABC Investments, we work with families just like yours to aid in the purchase of a first home, to get rid of unwanted debt, and to plan for a fantastic retirement no matter what level of income you may have.”

This message is specific, includes some information about what type of market they serve, and a little bit of info about the types of products and services they offer. If a new couple with a baby on the way landed on a website that delivered this message, you can imagine their heads nodding yes as they read along. This type of statement is much more compelling and likely to convert than a lofty—albeit noble—mission statement. Wouldn’t you agree?

So now it’s time to look at your own website and collateral. Do they actually say what it is you do and with whom you’re looking to do business? Or is it leaving your audience a little dumbfounded? If it’s the latter, you’ve probably already lost them.

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