Most web sites fail to convey the “big idea” of a company. Instead, they delve into details, processes, features, pseudo-benefits, and all sorts of “supporting cast” rather than have a big star of a concept.
Your job, if you have a web site, is to focus the first-time visitor on the HOT – the Honking Obvious Thing that clearly and instantly signals why they should pay attention to you.
Here’s an example that I’m about to gush over: my web hosting provider, LiquidWeb.com.
First, their home page:
Now, this page can certainly be improved – most notable, the headline “Step Inside” and the blah blah description, “LW is a leading provider or Fully Managed Web Hosting.” I mean, have you ever heard someone describe their business as a “trailing provider”?
The HOT: Heroic Support
What gets my attention is the cartoon superhero with a toll-free number on his shirt. And the tag line “Heroic Support.”
The claim is supported by a Heroic Support button below, touting “24x7x365 access to level 3 engineers within seconds. And by the Excellent Service button, laying out the guarantee of 100% uptime and 30 minute response time.
I immediately get the HOT here: Heroic Support. We will respond to you within 30 minutes, no matter when you contact us. And you can call us toll-free.
Everything about the company orients around Heroic Support. The wholly owned data centers with Liquid Web engineers on-site. The way employees view themselves and how they act.
The HOT in action: Not just about marketing
Heroic Support is what Dan and Chip Heath call a “generative metaphor.” By casting their support staff as superheros, they’re generating a set of guidelines for the staff to follow. In any situation, a support technician or engineer can figure out what to do by asking, “Am I providing Heroic Support?”
So this morning, I screwed up my entire site while trying to create a simple redirect to my Facebook Fan page. askHowie.com went away completely, replaced by a nasty 500 Internal Server Error.
Since it was 5am EDT (I just returned from Germany and I’m still jetlagged), I couldn’t exactly get Steve Goyette on the line and beg him to fix what I’d broken.
So I opened a support ticket at 5:23am. By 5:36am the site was back up, and I had received a detailed description of the problem and how it had been solved:
Here’s a company that walks their talk!
I don’t know anything about the management and internal structure of Liquid Web, but observing from the outside as a thrilled and amazed customer, I see the power of their HOT. Not only to get me to become a customer in the first place. But also to guide their own culture of service, so the words don’t just become an empty marketing slogan. And to make me, their customer, appreciate the value of their service even when nothing goes wrong.
So the next thing I did was sign up for Liquid Web’s affiliate program, and then write this post.
If you aren’t thrilled with the support and responsiveness you get from your web host, and your business will suffer if your site is down for hours at a time, then I heartily recommend you give a shout to Liquid Web.
If you want to send a few affiliate bucks my way, use this link: http://askhowie.com/liquidweb.
And if not: www.liquidweb.com.
Here’s the most important thing you can do for your own business: ask a few acquaintances who aren’t familiar with your site to look at it and find the HOT – the Honking Obvious Thing that explains what you do, how you’re different, and why prospects should care.