Your Website Is Like a Shoe Store at The Mall

If Your Website Looks Like All Your Competitors’, Customers Will Keep Looking

People Will Shop Multiple Sites (Stores) Simply Because They’re Conveniently Available You’ve GOT to Find a Way To Stand Out

Trust me; it’s not as much of a stretch as you think. Websites are a lot more like a shoe store at the mall than you realize. Hear me out.

Imagine you wanted to buy a new pair of running shoes. The mall is a good place for shoe shopping because they have several competing shoe stores, so you’ll be able to look around and find exactly the right shoe at the best possible price.

When you get to the mall, you naturally go to the store first that’s closest to where you came in. Once inside that first store, you see the usual, expected large displays of shoes on a couple of the walls, and various types of athletic apparel in the middle area. You head to the wall of shoes, look for the section you’re interested in (running, in this example), then glance around to see if any particular shoe or shoes catch your attention. If so, you’ll pick up the display, check the price and if find something you like, you might have them measure your foot and try on a pair.

What happens next is where this story gets interesting—and a lot like your company.

Even if you find a pair of shoes you like and you believe the price is fair, chances are extraordinarily high that you’ll leave the store, walk down the hall, and look somewhere else.

But why?

The second store looks very similar to the first—it too has a wall of shoes, a section dedicated to running shoes, and a nearly identical lineup of brands, colors, and styles, all priced within 5% of the first store. Then you’ll leave THAT store to go check out a third. And a fourth, if the mall has that many shoe stores.

So why didn’t you just buy from the first store? You didn’t leave the first store because you didn’t like it. You didn’t leave the first store because they had a terrible selection. And you didn’t leave the first store because you felt like their prices were too high.

You left the first store because you wanted to make sure you were getting the best shoe for you at the best price available. You wanted to see what else was out there.

So you end up buying the shoes from the 3rd store. Or the 2nd. Or maybe you go back to the first.

If you were paying attention, you realized somewhere in the middle of that story that your website is like one of the shoe stores, the mall is like Google, and your prospective customers are the shoe shoppers.

And just like shoe shoppers, your prospective customers browse around from site to site to site, just to see what’s available and what your competitors look like. Then when they find that your website—pretty as it may be—looks and smells and feels ESSENTIALLY EXACTLY like all other websites, the prospect calls whichever one they happened to look at last. Or whichever one happened to seem best.

The problem is you are not exactly like your competitors. You’re better than them. You do things differently. You work harder, pay more attention to details, have more experience, treat people better and a dozen other things you might do that make you THE BEST CHOICE.

Your website’s job is to convince people beyond any doubt that you are the best choice. It should communicate your advantages in clear, compelling, passionate language. Don’t save “the good stuff” for the presentation—it might be too late! Put it all out there on your website.

Give people enough information, enough evidence, and enough proof that you’re the best choice that the unequivocally fall in love with your company before your sales rep ever meets them.

If you don’t consciously plan this out, think about it, and fashion and articulate your arguments, you’ll end up looking exactly like all of your competitors: one of many indistinguishable pretty faces in the crowd. You might get picked—but you might not. It’s a crapshoot.

If your website doesn’t pass the “fall in love” test, then fire it immediately, regardless of how new it is, how much money you spent on it, or how much you like the person who created it. Fire your website and start over.

Too much is at stake. Too many qualified visitors will “step into your store,” look around, then click to another site and never return. Not because they didn’t like what they saw. Not because they liked somebody else better. But because your site lacked the power, precision, and passion to make them fall in love.

In the end, your site should make visitors say “I would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price.”

Does your website do that?

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