Personal – it isn’t about you
Many businesses won’t have people working directly with the CEO. If this is the case – if you’re a personal trainer working 1 on 1 with clients, then go ahead and make your site very personal. But if you’re a physiotherapy clinic director and clients never actually work with you then you can’t personalize it around you. Personalize it around your mission- why your business exists.
Really internalize the latin root of ‘corporation’- ‘corp’. It means body. Your corporation is an independent body, and it has it’s own mission and purpose. When you’re starting out, perhaps you’re at the center of it, but think about the long-term. This business should, in the future, be able to survive without you (if you want to build a real business and not just be a freelancer).
The paradox is to be personal means making it all about the customer. It isn’t about you, it is about the customer and solving their problem. You and your business are simply the vessel by which that is done. Let that message shine through and personality will be felt.
Embrace your quirks
Embrace the things that make you unique – the single biggest mistake small businesses make when it comes to not being unique is not that they don’t have anything that makes them different, it’s that they’re scared to show it. Look at Chick-Fil-A and how they’re closed on Sundays to glorify God – does it turn people away? Certainly, a bunch of people are turned off by the religiosity. But they’re not their target audience. They’ve grown a massive empire of chicken sandwiches by being unapologetically themselves.
In today’s age, where everyone is afraid to tell the truth because of the threat of being cancelled, I can’t tell you exactly how much you should push the envelope. What I can tell you with certainty though, is that if not one person is turned off by what you’re doing, no one will love it either. If you don’t stand for anything, no one will stand with you.
Give directions & guidance, not a weak opinion. Present your business with confidence. Your website is the one spot where you can act as an authority; you can put whatever you want on it (just don’t lie). You have the freedom to portray yourself as an expert. Why not? Because you haven’t reached some arbitrary point? If you’ve created some awesome results for someone, shout it from the rooftops and tell people how you did it- people came on your site for you (your business) – they want to cheer for you so give them a reason to.
I always bring this back to Rolex because I think they’re an awesome case study. Their site is full of articles on famous and wealthy people that do amazing things while wearing Rolexes. Rolex is literally (implicitly, it’s subtle but not too subtle) connecting the amazing things done to wearing a watch. And people love it!
If you don’t position yourself as an authority or an expert no one will for you. People will always see you less than you see yourself- because they won’t assume you’re good but they ill
assume you’re bad. They won’t assume all the good points in your favor- “they have only 4 Google reviews but I’m sure they have hundreds of happy clients” but they will assume the bad points- “they have three 1-star reviews, that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg of disgruntled customers”. The potential risk of something bad is stronger than the potential benefit if something bad. Our brains are just trying to protect us with these assumptions. You have to get ahead of that and use your website to dispel that negativity.
What exactly can you do?
- Write out your mission/values/purpose. You don’t have to get super advanced. But this is something you should know from day 0. There’s a reason you’re doing this – build off that. You might have to polish it, but find that core truth and start there.
- Include ‘how we’re different’ section. When incorporating something like this, don’t just put it on one page. Keep it constant through your ecosystem – in a proposal, in a brochure, in scripts I hope you’re using, etc.
- Professional suit photo or speaking to group of people.
- “outrageous” case study and explain how you caused those outrageous results. When bragging you don’t have to be obnoxious, see how Rolex does it. Very subtle, but the connection is there, and the sheer volume of them (looks like dozens if not more) doesn’t leave any doubt in someone’s mind.