Website is an Ad

Most companies begin their branding materials with their website. However, most don't realize it

is another form of an elevator pitch-it's just the beginning of a conversation.

The reality is that people are too busy to go through a website to figure out what your company

does. Just like an elevator pitch, you have seconds to grab someone's attention—or lose them

completely. Those great flash intros that you had made to dazzle visitors to your site are often

bypassed or ignored by visitors.

In an age of information overload, people want to get right to the point. Marketing materials and

sales pitches with too much jargon can leave potential prospects confused and overwhelmed. Is

this the brand impression you really want to make?

Is it easy to understand what your company does from your site, without drilling down several

pages? Senior-level execs want the short version---a quick fact sheet. It should be right at the

top level, ready to be accessed by even the most casual visitor.

Consider how many junior folks and interns are tasked with searching online for the type of

service your company may provide. If the people doing the preliminary research can't

understand what it is you do, they certainly won't take the effort to mention you to the higher

ups that you need to reach.

Keep it simple. Leave out the jargon and complicated language. If they want more information,

they'll ask. That's where your marketing materials, sell sheets, and white papers come in!

One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to get better results from marketing efforts is to

treat a web site home page as an ad, which leads us to one of the toughest challenges in

advertising: writing concise and compelling copy.

Take Google ads for instance; it's tough to write an ad using 8-12 words. It's a great exercise.

What 10 words describe your company's services? Now, think about the person who is

developing your key word ads. Is it a tech person? Is your marketing agency involved? Online

advertising is a primary source of leads for many companies. It's a super cluttered, competitive

environment. Yet you'd be surprised how far-removed the marketing and brand stewards are

from the process.

The funny thing, it's just the opposite when it comes to traditional outdoor advertising. Outdoor

billboards are one of the greatest tests of advertising. If you find just the right words and

imagery that enables your audience to "get it" in seconds, then you've found the magic you're

looking for.

I've suffered over countless agency/client meetings where it could take days, weeks and even

months to get one simple line of copy for a billboard approved. Of course you need to consider

that people would be driving at 60 MPH and would need to see and process the ad in a split


Given that the challenges are similar online and even in person, it's a shame that the same level

of attention is not always given to all sales and marketing elements. Wherever you connect,

whether it's in-person, online, on a highway or an event, if it's not clear what your company

does in seconds, your prospects will whiz by quickly.


Seasoned marketing and business development expert, Michele Harris leverages 20 years experience developing revenue-rich marketing and business development programs for Fortune 500 companies and premier advertising agencies. As CEO and Chief Matchmaker of Smarti Solutions

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