Differentiation doesn't just come from having unique products or services, it also comes from offering a different experience
If I could just get one-millionth of a bitcoin for each time someone promotes how they have better service, better experience, or a bigger commitment to my satisfaction - I wouldn't just be rich, I could stop caring about good service.
The problem is that until I am a customer, I can't tell what is actually true, and what is standard marketing dribble.
And while I like seeing all those testimonials and logos everywhere (everyone has them), I have to wonder if they mean anything.
Your website is the first place a buyer actually experiences what it is like to do business with you.
The first evidence of what makes you different doesn't come after they buy. It happens during the exploration process. It's happening all the time - on your website.
The website experience you deliver is the first trial run of what it would be like to do business with you.
A great buyer experience online is a powerful differentiator.
And a buyer won't get that just from really great artwork or graphics. Unless of course, that is what you sell. Then by all means.
If you sell a product or a service, then the buyer's ability to connect his needs to your offering is first tested by their website experience.
There are lots of companies proving this point every day. One example is Carvana. They sell the exact same cars that everyone else does, but the experience is completely different. In 2021, they sold their millionth car and became the fastest growing eCommerce company in U.S. history.
Three ways to stand out during the buyer experience online:
Buyers don't come to your website for the sport of it or just kicks and giggles. They are coming to address a need or achieve a goal. The first way that you help them is to give them great insights into how to achieve that mission.
1. Job one on your website is to help your buyers solve a problem.
Having a website that looks at the world from the buyers' point of view offers real value. It's the opposite of what most websites focus on.
The majority of websites are all about the company, its services, and its offerings. That isn't really solving the buyer's need to match up to their challenge with a good solution.
The experience of finding the problem you are working to overcome on a website helps a buyer to know that you are actually about them, and not just your own needs.
2. Be honest about your industry.
It's a rare thing to find an honest appraisal of the good and bad elements of an industry online. We get some of that from the rating and review sites, but it catches people off guard when you point out the good and bad of your own industry.
It's even more powerful when you are straightforward about the limitations of what you can do, and some of the good things others offer.
If a lot of people struggle with specific issues in your industry, that should be part of what you cover. If other products are a better fit for specific needs, then cover that too.
3. Use a smart website system
Buyers actually think that technology is smarter than it usually is. They have big expectations for how a website, an email, or a piece of content will be tailored to meet their needs.
They expect your website and the system that it operates on to anticipate their needs.
A brochure website sitting on a legacy platform isn't going to be able to do that. But a fully CRM-integrated, sales-enabled website can deliver smart forms that autofill, email follow-up that is personalized, and pages that adapt content to the specific user.
And what's not automatic should be optimized by data. A smart website system tracks granular interactions down to the button and page view so that the next time a person visits, the experience improves.
Want to stand out? Start with a different experience online.
How smart website systems help sales to help buyers better
That smart website system (full transparency: we use HubSpot, and you're reading this on a HubSpot CMS) will also do some other things that make the buyer experience stronger:
1) Sales will get notified when leads visit a key page
2) Inquiries will get a faster response
3) Sales will be able to seamlessly link content from the website into automated personal emails that keep the conversation fresh.
4) When it is time for a meeting, a quote, or a conversation, all of that will be managed from within the same interface - so it is a natural part of the sales workflow.