taking iphone photoIf you have a phone with a camera, you probably find yourself taking a lot more photos than you used to.

And that makes it harder to keep up with organizing them, much less editing them.

In fact, you may need to scroll through hundreds and hundreds of images (including some junk) to find the one you’re looking for.

And when you finally get to it, it’s not as great as you remember!

Lumific is getting ready to change that.

In this post, you’ll see how the copy on Lumific’s website could be tweaked — so that potential users understand what Lumific is and how it can make their lives easier.

Frequently with a startup, busy founders don’t have the bandwidth to redesign their entire site or even a page. So what you’ll see here is an example of how you can make big changes — without jumping into a redesign.

The crucial above-the-fold message

When users reach the Lumific website, what’s the first thing they see?

Right now, it’s this:

Lumific home copy - original

There are a few places where a newcomer could get stuck:

  • What, exactly, is a smart photo assistant?
  • Who is doing the organizing and enhancing?
  • “Sign me up” — what am I committing to?

Here is an updated version of the copy above the fold that addresses (or removes) those issues:

Lumific home copy - new

Now we have a tantalizing prospect in the headline, immediately followed by a reassuring tagline: “Let Lumific do the work for you.”

In other words, you can have what you want — and you won’t have to lift a finger.

The perceived commitment has also been reduced. Now, you only have to be mildly intrigued to enter an email address. After all, you’re not “signing up” for anything. You’re just making sure you get an update.

Making it easier to be organized

Feeling overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of photos is pretty common these days. So this selling point — the organizational capability — could be compelling.

This description has some untapped potential:
 
Lumific organizing copy - original
This is a classic opportunity to shift from a feature to a benefit.

“Clever organization” describes a feature of Lumific, and it’s often harder to viscerally connect with a feature.

“We” is also a word to use with great care on a site like this (some copywriters would suggest not using it at all). It excludes the visitor. It’s vague. It pulls attention away from the main point.

Here’s what the new version looks like, with a deliberate shift from “we” to “you”:
 
Lumific organizing copy - new
Now you have an immediate sense of the real magic here — your photos will be organized for you. And you can focus on that message without being distracted by anything else in the copy.

Explaining automatic editing

The automatic editing that Lumific will do for your pictures is very cool, especially for users who take a lot of photos or don’t like to go through and edit each image.

Check out the current description:
 
Lumific editing copy - original
The message here is a little murky (although the phrase “sharper and brighter” is terrific). In this instance, the passive voice feels like a missed opportunity to shift the burden of the editing work to the app.

“Always” is also tricky here, with its suggestion of timelessness — it doesn’t send a visceral signal that the user’s current situation could be improved.

This copy should be as crisp and clear as a photo automatically enhanced by Lumific:
 
Lumific editing copy - new
The combination of “sharper” and “brighter” carry over from the first version — a great combo that should be kept around.

The major selling points here are that your photos will look great — and that the various modifications that can be made to a photo are no longer something you have to worry about, or even think about.

For that reason, a list of four (“sharpens, brightens, straightens and crops”) is fun and effective. Yes, it’s a little too long — and that’s the point. That pile of tasks? Lumific’s problem now. Not yours.

Summary

Now, is there potential to do a visual redesign as well? Yep. There is.

Even more, there is an opportunity for incredibly compelling before-and-after images (check out a relatively simple one here).

But in this situation — and others like it — honing the copy is an ideal place to start. The examples here show how you can update copy so it taps into the emotional needs of your users, emphasizes benefits, reduces distractions, and streamlines your message.

And you can stay up to date on Lumific by following them on Twitter or signing up (remember, you’re really just asking them to notify you) on their website.

Photo by m01229, modified and used under a Creative Commons license.

Updating an Ecommerce Website: SmartBarn Case Study

by Diana Ecker on September 23, 2014

alpacasIt’s the little things that can really drive you nuts.

The chapped hands that just won’t heal. The handle breaking off of yet another bucket.

The expensive medication that gets all over the place because your alpacas just can’t stand the taste.

But farmers and animal owners can rejoice! Thanks to inventor Mary Parker of SmartBarn, these problems can be a distant memory.

Based in Burton, Ohio, Mary developed GreenSalve, TubTugs, and SmartGel —“innovative solutions to barnyard dilemmas.”

As a relatively new company, SmartBarn has focused on product development and building a presence organically on Facebook, with over 900 likes. Since launching, they’ve shipped products to customers in nearly every state — and they’re now ready to step back and start to look at their ecommerce website.

When Mary agreed to take part in this website review, I immediately started thinking: What changes are most strategic for a new and growing company to make to its website?

Here they are, from suggestions that can be implemented today at no cost to bigger-picture investments that are well worth considering.

1. Emphasize benefits on the home page

SmartBarn products actually solve real problems. That’s not something to take for granted! Here are three potential ways to play this up on the home page:

  • A headline that emphasizes benefits
  • Testimonials that lend lots of credibility
  • Simplifying other elements that distract from a powerful headline and testimonials

For each product, and for the company overall, there is a story to tell that is authentic and likely to resonate with the target audience. And all of those stories can start on the home page.

Lead with a Benefits-Oriented Headline

Right now, the headline is “Welcome to SmartBarn! Innovative Solutions for Barnyard Dilemmas.”

If the goal is to emphasize SmartBarn as a company, a version of the tagline could work well as a headline (examples: Finally — Innovative Solutions for Barnyard Dilemmas! Or Easily Solve Your Barnyard Dilemmas with SmartBarn’s Innovative Solutions).

smartbarn-homepageIf the goal is to promote one specific product, the headline could be about that product: Now Your Horse Will Actually Enjoy Taking Medicine.

Enhance the Testimonials

The opportunity to use testimonials here is very exciting. As a young company, SmartBarn does not yet have the brand recognition of a larger organization.

So testimonials contribute to a visitor feeling that they have indeed discovered a diamond in the rough.

It’s great that there’s already a testimonial right on the home page. What we can do now is make it even stronger.

Here’s what the original testimonial looks like:
 
“After having tried everything to disguise medication,
SmartGel was the easy, quick solution with no mess!”

— Kimberley B., Solon, Ohio
 
That is a fine testimonial. But it can get even stronger!

SmartBarn can contact Kimberley B. and ask for her photo. And why stop there? Ask her for some background information (does she know about animals?) and for details on the problem she was trying to solve (how bad was it, and what happened?).

Here’s what the result could look like:
 
The Easy, Quick Solution With No Mess
“We have six horses and two of them need regular medication. They really hated taking it, and the medicine would get everywhere. After having tried everything to disguise medication, SmartGel was the easy, quick solution with no mess!” — Kimberley B., Solon, Ohio

Now on multiple levels, the testimonial can be more impactful — convincing more visitors on the home page that SmartGel will solve their problem too.

Reduce Distractions

Once the major emphasis for the home page has been identified, a benefits-oriented headline is in place, and testimonials have been enhanced, the key is to cut down on anything that distracts a visitor away from these powerful elements.

smartbarn-imagesFor instance, instead of several images plus a logo near the headline, SmartBarn can select just one powerful image. For a headline with a company focus, a great choice of image here might be a picture of Mary herself on the farm. For a headline highlighting the benefits of a specific product, one solution-oriented image may do the trick nicely.

Interestingly, it may not even be necessary to include product images on the home page just yet. First SmartBarn needs to convince visitors that (a) it has solutions to their problems and (b) it is a credible, reliable company. The products themselves come after that.

Another way to reduce distractions is to simplify elements that attract extra attention. This could be done by replacing current display fonts that have multiple colors with versions that have only one color. Removing the current logo from the top-left of the page would also help bring the focus to the new headline.

It’s excellent to have a how-to video available for visitors. However, this particular video is extremely specific, as it includes a detailed demonstration of how to use a product. It may be better suited for another page for a visitor to view farther along in the process.

Add Key Elements for Credibility and Direction

Now that distractions are reduced, before we leave the home page there are two important elements that can be added to it. The first is contact information. Yes, there is a Contact Us section.

But adding the phone number at the top right of the page (or even a 1-800 number) with a friendly phrase (Questions? Call us at…) will contribute to a visitor’s sense that the business is credible — even if they don’t call it, it feels reassuring to know they could.

Similarly, adding the mailing address to the bottom of the page will have a similar grounding effect.

look-rightThe other key element that belongs on the home page is a call to action. What is the number-one action that visitors should take? Right now they don’t know.

A button following the headline that clearly states what visitors should do next will help direct them to the right place.

For a company headline, that button might say something like Browse our products, which could link to a new page with all three products, or even Read our story, which could lead to a new page that tells the story of how Mary came to invent each product, along with links to each one.

For a product-specific headline, the button would play off the headline — See how it works or Find out more — and could lead to that product page.

The most important thing about a call to action is that it takes the visitor on a specific journey — it’s the difference between arriving at a dinner party and just walking in through the front door, versus arriving and being greeted by someone who says, “Let me take your coat — now head into the living room and help yourself to a drink.”

2. On the blog, pretend you’re selling swimming pools

“What?” you might say. “Swimming pools? What does that have to do with farm products?”

swimming-poolWell, nothing, really. Except that one of the leading experts on content marketing, Marcus Sheridan, famously got his start in content marketing by writing blog post after blog post for his swimming pool company.

And his approach was outrageously successful.

The key was using customer questions as blog post topics. Any question that a customer might conceivably search for, he’d have an informative post ready and waiting. This taps into the tremendous opportunities presented by long-tail search — when someone searches for “How to get alpaca to take medicine,” SmartBarn is ready with a blog post.

The strategy is simple, but it actually requires a phenomenal amount of discipline: it means writing over and over about things that feel like small details. Many of us have a habit of trying to consolidate ideas together to be efficient. This strategy requires you to unpack each small idea one by one.

Content marketing takes time to be effective, so this is a long-term strategy. The key is to start thinking in these terms as soon as possible. Marcus Sheridan has an article — “How to Come Up With 100 Articles for Your Business in 10 Minutes or Less” — that is a great place to start.

There are also tools that can help with figuring out what to write about. One example is HitTail, which will capture keywords that people are searching to get to a website and recommend blog post topics.

(The SmartBarn website is on the Weebly platform, so the first step to trying out HitTail is to get set up with Google Webmaster Tools: Weebly provides directions for that here.)

Also keep in mind that Weebly currently does not offer a way to write a separate meta-description for a blog post — meaning that when someone finds a blog post in Google or posts a link to it on Facebook, the description will come from the beginning of the post.

For that reason, as long as SmartBarn is using the Weebly platform (more on that later), it’s especially important to make the first sentence or two extremely relevant, clear, and connected to the headline.

3. Consider investing in visuals

It’s essential that a young company be strategic about its resources. Rushing out to spend thousands on marketing without a well-thought-out plan has been the undoing of many.

But if SmartBarn is seeing traction, it may actually be strategic to invest in visuals. Here, we’ll look at three: Product photography, logo and packaging, and site photography.

Product Photography

Product photography is terrifically important. Ultimately, people are going to be buying a solution, not just a product. But professional-looking product photography conveys trustworthiness and credibility to a visitor.

toy-truckA big part of it is lighting — professional lighting of a product can dramatically increase its appeal visually.

Right now, the product photography on the website has the potential to harness the added appeal that comes from professional photos — OR photos that just look like they were taken by a professional.

If a friend with an excellent camera and photo-editing software is on hand, a lightbox can be made at home or purchased from Amazon starting at around $30.

It may, however, be simpler — and less stress in the long run — to ship the products off to a professional photography studio that specializes in shooting products for ecommerce websites. Examples include ProductPhotography.com and ProductImage.com. On both sites, a handful of individual product photos will run about $40 to $45 each.

But wait — before committing time or money to product photography, it may also be worth considering questions of logo and packaging.

Logo and Packaging

Again, it simply may not make sense to go all-out on investing in marketing at an early stage for a company. This is a perfect time to figure out where style and functionality meet affordability.

KudzuMonsterWhile a full-on logo redesign product can easily run thousands of dollars, often well worth it, there are a range of solutions available across the spectrum. 99designs has a “logo store,” where pre-designed logos may be purchased for $99. Similarly, there are logos available for purchase on Etsy as well.

Package design may also be something to consider at this stage. Again, while custom package design can run quite high, there are options across the spectrum here as well — some quite delightful, like this example by designer/illustrator Tiffany Everett (you can see her Etsy listing for it here.).

Site Photography

The final significant visual element to consider revisiting at this stage is non-product photography. Again, a crisp and professionally edited portrait or a beautiful image of a farm can be worth a lot.

One common objection here is that customers of a certain product don’t care about details like this — and true, some don’t. But the main reason to invest (strategically and thoughtfully) in elements like product photography, logo and packaging, and site photography is that it inspires credibility and opens doors to new opportunities.

Beautiful product photography may help get a product featured in a product round-up on another blog. A delightful portrait can be featured next to a guest post. Many people underestimate the value of visual elements. But like so many aspects of a website, they may carry unexpected power.

4. Look into switching ecommerce platforms

Astute readers may notice that we haven’t jumped in to site architecture, product pages, or the checkout process here. That’s because it may actually be the best idea to switch ecommerce platforms altogether.

There are many, many options and it’s incredibly difficult to find objective reviews online. So in this case I turned to a developer who had already done his own research and picked a favorite.

zak-avatar-mediumFor insight on this topic, I went to Zak Hardage of the fabulous design and development team Hardage & Hardage. Zak is an expert in Shopify, a popular ecommerce platform — and he’s also an actual Shopify Expert.

“Most of our clients are either migrating from another ecommerce platform or starting their first shop,” Zak says. “The intuitive back end, good support, and thorough documentation make it relatively easy for our clients to learn the system quickly.”

Speed, Security, and Tools

“Shopify is great for growing businesses,” says Zak. “One thing I love is their content delivery network (CDN). It’s super fast and robust. You’ll never have to worry about traffic spikes or crowded servers. And the security is top of the line, so you don’t have to worry about hacking or maintaining SSL certificates. There’s tons of tools for marketing and reporting, as well as shipping and inventory control. And there’s a large community of shop owners and designers and developers — so you’ve got answers to questions at every stage of your business.”

Blogging Platform: Pros and Cons

“The blogging features in Shopify are solid, but there are limitations. You can’t export your blog content — not yet, anyway — which should be a big concern for a business that relies on their blog.” There are also features, Zak adds, that WordPress offers bloggers that are not available on Shopify.

On the plus side, however, it has the benefit of not being too complicated: “The best feature of the Shopify blog is that it’s straightforward and easy to use — you’ll be up right away with your first post. Your blog is also on that same CDN, which means you don’t have to worry about visitors slowing down your site or warning emails from your hosting provider. Shopify blogs are simple and elegant and fast, if not feature-rich.”

Getting Started

“If you’re new to ecommerce,” says Zak, “you can be selling the same day. They have solid themes and apps. Support is smart and polite and 24/7, including chat. Shopify makes it relatively easy to have a truly professional ecommerce site up quickly. It is a lot easier if you have help, and for that you can hire a setup expert to walk you through every aspect of your store. Their mobile sales (selling from your iPad/iPhone) is also super easy to use and looks great. I know I sound like a commercial for these folks, but I’ve seen a lot of clients use this platform to build very successful businesses.”

The Chicken and the Egg

The question of when to undertake big moves and investments — like shifting to a new platform, revisiting a logo, or getting professional photography — is ultimately a strategic one. On one hand, how much traction should a company like SmartBarn have already before considering big decisions?

And on the other hand, how do these kinds of moves increase the likelihood of gaining traction? For instance, does switching to a platform with built-in inventory tracking free up time and energy to focus more on writing blog posts? How much of a difference would it make in customer spending to have a “free shipping on purchases over $X” feature built in?

The most important thing is to have a map of all of these possibilities, from changes that can be made today — like emailing testimonial authors to ask if they’d send a photo — to ones that require more consideration, like shifting platforms entirely.

And in the meantime, if you’re a farmer or an animal owner, or know someone who is — now you know exactly where to go to make life just a little bit easier.

 
Alpaca photo by Arbutus Photography; swimming pool photo by Jarrett Campbell; all modified and used under a Creative Commons license. Logo image by Tiffany Everett, used here with permission; original here. Toy truck photo by digital4047, used under a Creative Commons NDW license. Arrow image by Mark Hillary, used under a Creative Commons license.

Creating Harmony for a Feng Shui Expert’s Website

by Diana Ecker on September 18, 2014

manziHave you ever been curious about feng shui? I sure have!

Salvatore Manzi is a feng shui consultant and life coach based in San Francisco. He helps people look differently at the spaces where they live and work.

Salvatore sees how the objects in those spaces — and the way those objects are arranged — are affecting the people who inhabit those spaces.

I’m glad to say that I’m one of Salvatore’s many happy clients. He pointed out subtle things I had always taken for granted, and helped me see things that I had overlooked.

I wondered: Could I do the same for him when it came to his website — and share the answers here on the blog?

I was delighted when he said (in true Salvatore form) that the answer was “a big YES.” Thanks, Salvatore!

The four strategies that follow will work for this site — or for any professional services website.

State the obvious (even when it feels, well, obvious)

One of the most common challenges experienced professionals face is what’s often referred to as “the curse of knowledge” — they know so much that they forget what it’s like to be a beginner.

However, that’s an oversimplification. In fact, many experts who work with people one-on-one are able to empathize with beginners when they encounter them as clients. They can stay patient and explain things clearly.

On a website, though, somehow it’s easy to lose track of those beginners. Faced with an opportunity to create a public-facing side, the professional also starts to think about it as an opportunity to express him- or herself and demonstrate higher-level thinking.

So what often needs to happen is a very deliberate return to the beginner audience. Salvatore supplied some background information about his client base:

Who they are: Single women, newly married couples, founders of new business ventures

What they’re searching for: Success with money, love, and career, in that order

What they say: “I’ve never tried Feng Shui — and I’m curious what it can do for me.”

This is a key point in the process. There’s a temptation here for a creative, empathic, deeply knowledgeable person to say, “Yes, yes, but what about…”

And the way to be successful at this turning point is to resist that temptation. This information — and its constraints — will provide an excellent foundation for rewriting website copy and even planning for the blog.

For example, there are three boxes under the headline text on the home page. Right now they have these titles: Featured Articles, Life Alignment Program, and Salvatore:
 
salvatore-screenshot
Instead, these could be renamed by audience — Singles, Couples, Business Owners — or by primary goal: Achieving Wealth, Finding Love, Career Success.

Either way, the result is the same: potential clients are more likely to recognize themselves right on the home page and get a message of “Yes, I belong here.”

The same idea can inform blog post strategy. What is one change that singles seeking love can make in their home today? How about three ways a business owner with a new venture can optimize their workspace?

It’s not about dumbing the message down — it’s about taking topics that are of great interest to the primary audiences and breaking them down into smaller, more immediately relevant pieces in language that is accessible to a beginner.

For instance, there’s a sidebar with a newsletter signup on some of the other site pages. The call to action to enter your email address is “Join to keep your chi moving.” For the majority of visitors — who, as you’ll recall, haven’t tried feng shui — this sentence will just be confusing.
salvatore-wordcloud
So what words will potential customers respond to? One source for ideas is the testimonials of happy customers. For example, this word cloud is made up of the most frequently used words in testimonials.

One of the most important places to have an exciting, easy-to-understand headline is right at the top of the home page. The current home page headline — Feng Shui Life Mapping: Redesign Your Space, Redesign Your Life — requires visitors to process some bigger-picture ideas. Life mapping? Redesign?

These are going to be exciting concepts to introduce clients to once they’re on board. But at this stage, they’re still at the front door.

What would work better in that space? That’s going to be answered later on in this post. But we can’t go any further without addressing the design challenges first.

Make subtle fixes to remove design distractions

Just as small details in a room can cause it to feel harmonious or uncomfortable, so can small details on a website do the same.

One of my favorite feng shui principles involves having your back to a door — on some level, you’re always going to feel a bit uncomfortable, because you can’t see who might be entering the room.

In the same way, there are subtle design challenges on the site — even if you’re not consciously aware of them (and quite likely they don’t notice), resolving those challenges will increase your feeling of calmness and security.

The first step is to freeze the carousel. As conversion expert Peep Laja has argued persuasively, automated carousels reduce website conversions. In addition, they can increase the anxiety level of a visitor.

The second priority on this tune-up list is to revisit the logo. It seems to have been saved in a format that does not allow it to be displayed crisply and clearly on the site — blurring is visible around the edges. Fixing this is something that the original designer should be happy to take care of.

The third step would be to ensure that images are not being distorted, even subtly. For example, the image of the plant on the home page banner is slightly stretched out. This will create tension for a visitor.

salvatore-designThe fourth and final priority is to resolve issues of spacing, alignment, and readability. On the home page and throughout the site, spacing is not harmonious and elements are not aligned.

Fonts (including the body font) are difficult to read. In some cases they are too small or placed against backgrounds that do not offer sufficient contrast.

While these changes might seem minor, together they will contribute to a significantly more peaceful feeling for visitors to the site — allowing them to focus their full attention on the value of working with Salvatore.

Testimonials: huge untapped potential

Salvatore has amazing testimonials! I can personally attest to his compassion, insight, and remarkable presence — some people were just born to be healers of one kind or another, and he’s the real deal.

His other clients are very happy as well:

Salvatore is the BEST!
Before making a single recommendation to my fiancé and me about what to do with our apartment, Salvatore intently listened as we shared with him about who we are, our story, and our most cherished values, intentions, and goals, both individually and as a couple.

Out of that, we systematically looked together at every part of our house, and he gave us a very comprehensive assessment and recommendations, in a way that was completely manageable and empowering! Salvatore is the BEST! Warm, inspiring, professional, joyous, deeply perceptive, empowering, systematic, and thorough. — Zo T.
 
 
He Created a Home Where I Feel Amazing and Hopeful
In one afternoon, less than 4 hours to be exact, Salvatore went through every inch of my house and changed my life. Working with what I already had, he literally created a home where I feel amazing and hopeful. Things I have complained about for ten years — gone in minutes.

Salvatore is EXCEPTIONAL at what he does. I cannot recommend him highly enough. Do yourself the greatest favor by contacting him now! — Dana F.
 
 
The Office Looked and Felt Transformed
We have an alternative health care clinic for chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and yoga. On the phone Salvatore immediately got the atmosphere we want to create. He scheduled me within the same week.

Within two hours we moved things around, made a list of things I needed to buy or change, and found websites where I could look for those things.

The office looked and felt transformed. Salvatore is easy to talk to, passionate and knowledgeable about what he does. I most definitely recommend him. — Amelia M.
 
 
If you visit the website, though, you’re going to have to look hard to find these testimonials.

In navigating the site, you won’t even know that there’s a testimonials page unless you hover over “About.”

salvatore-testimonials-menu For a service-based professional, testimonials are incredibly important. Hiding them in a drop-down menu is taking a big risk.

When you do reach the Testimonials page, you’re faced with a challenge.

In order to view each testimonial in full, you have to click on the “Read more…” prompt — each time you want to view a testimonial.

That means that to read all of the testimonials on the page, you would need to click “Read more…” and then “back” 24 times each.

That’s 48 clicks.
salvatore-testimonials
The testimonials themselves aren’t yet sorted into categories, so there’s no way for you to know which ones are worth the clicks.

Some are also quite long, while others are only a single sentence — meaning that you’re going to be frustrated each time you’ve made the effort to click to view a testimonial, only to learn that it’s too brief to be useful or simply not relevant.

Finally, the testimonials don’t appear to have been edited. That’s better than editing them beyond recognition or removing the natural voice of each writer! But…it’s not as good as editing them effectively.

Each of the testimonials above is actually an edited version of a testimonial from the site. These edited versions retain the original voice, but eliminate unhelpful generalizations and distractions. Just as important, they’ve been internally re-ordered to each tell a story in a sequence that feels organic.

If you’re concerned about changing the words of a client, it’s an excellent idea to run the final edited version by them for approval. If you stick to the guidelines here, the response you get to the new versions should be enthusiastic.

There’s also the issue of quantity. More isn’t always better. My recommendation is to remove the one-liners, choose 6 to 8 excellent testimonials, and feature them all on a single scrollable page.

At the bottom of the page, add a button in a contrasting color inviting visitors to move along to the next step in the process — for example, contacting Salvatore to schedule their first session.

Of course, this is not to say that the Testimonials page is the only place testimonials can appear. For instance, the large banner on the home page could feature a high-quality photograph of an actual client and a brief excerpt from a testimonial, then link to a blog post about that client’s situation (or back to the Testimonials page).

And finally — the untapped power of Salvatore himself!

In person, Salvatore has a radiant energy and an extraordinary presence. So how can the power of that presence be channeled into the website?

Step one: Get that portrait right on the home page! Not in a small box, as it is now, but at the scale that it is on the About page (that photo is at the top of this post). I’d crop out the bottom half, as it illustrates closed-off body language and people in search of a sympathetic solution are looking for a provider that telegraphs openness.

Step two: This is a big one! Consider investing in a high-quality custom video. It could be short, even under a minute. But that would be a way to convey what Salvatore is like in person.

(Alternatively, there are excellent resources for creating your own videos — the extraordinary Learning Center at Wistia is an ideal place to start.)

Step three: Even better than testimonials from your own site? Testimonials from a 3rd party site! At the time of this writing, Salvatore has one 4-star review…and seventeen 5-star reviews on Yelp. That’s fantastic!

In this case, adding a Yelp review badge — 17 5-star reviews — would be an ideal example of social proof for the home page. (The first step to obtaining a badge like this starts with signing up for a business account on Yelp.)

In summary…

On this website, or just about any professional services website:

    1. State the obvious and speak directly to your audience, using their language
    2. Bring in a pro to tighten up design if needed — the little details matter
    3. Make the most of your testimonials, and make sure they’re easy to find and read
    4. Convey who you are in the most powerful and immediate way possible

The ultimate goal is a website where visitors arrive and intuitively know they’re in the right place — and about to hire the right person. (And if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and looking for a feng shui consultant, you can hire Salvatore right here!).
 
Portrait of Salvatore Manzi by Siddiqi Ray
 

salvatore-manziUPDATE FROM SALVATORE: “What can I say… wow! I can’t wait to get to work on this!!! I’m looking forward to making the changes and creating a site that does not create anxiety or stress to visit, and that highlights my experience and speaks directly to the motivation of so many of my clients. Thank you thank you!”
 

3 Tasty Tests This Global Snacks Company Can Try Out

September 16, 2014

This is the first installment of the Testing 1-2-3 series, where we walk through three website elements that a company could test to see their impact on sales. Are you a fan of snacks from all over the world, from Pocky to Goo Goo Clusters? MunchPak is a snack box subscription service ready to bring […]

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High-Anxiety Home Pages: 2 Breathless Examples

September 4, 2014

Generating anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. But on your website, you want to carefully calibrate how it’s affecting potential customers. Are they energized? Or are you just making them jittery? At the 2014 Authority Intensive in Denver, Joanna Wiebe gave the best talk of the conference. Its title: “Unmistakable Proof That Your Calls to […]

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CRM Website Review: PipelineDeals

September 2, 2014

This post is the first of the Keepers + Sleepers series, where you can see two aspects of a company’s website up close: Keepers (innovative, inspiring, or just plain great) — and Sleepers (untapped potential waiting to be awakened). PipelineDeals is a beautifully designed CRM (customer relationship management system). I’ve tried it out, and it’s […]

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5 Tips For Getting What You Need From A Consultant

August 25, 2014

Thinking about working with a consultant? Even when everyone is excited to work together, there are assumptions and emotions that can get in the way. The key is to identify and deal with them — before the process even begins! These 5 tips can help you do just that. 1. First, make sure: Is now […]

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