I was on the road earlier than usual one morning and stopped by Wawa for gas. For those of you outside of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Wawa is a popular convenience store. A wonderful place with killer coffee, made-to-order sandwiches and, in this case, a massive gas station.
It was pretty much me and the trades at this hour – electricians, plumbers, painters, heating and cooling, etc. getting ready to start their day. I suspect this was the case because the Wawa lot was filled with nothing but white commercial vans.
The funny thing, or unfortunate thing, was that only one of these vans had any kind of signage. None of the others even had a magnetic sign with the company name.
If all of these white vans were parked next to each other, kind of like a police lineup, there would be no way to distinguish one from another. Frankly, I’m surprised that none of the van owners, after going inside to get their coffee and breakfast, mistakenly climbed into the wrong van when they returned to the lot.
When I got back to the office that day, a prospect inquired about website content. The company was completely overhauling its website and wanted the content rewritten.
I said that we would need to discuss the message page by page. To come up with a message that motivates people to act and converts visitors into solid business leads, I would have to ask a lot of questions.
The exchange went something like this.
Prospect: Can’t you just look at other websites for companies that do what I do? There’s plenty of information out there.
Me: But your content will end up sounding just like everyone else’s.
Prospect: So? We all do the same thing.
Me: That makes it even more important to explain how your company is different.
Prospect: But we’re really not.
Me: Then why should someone hire you?
In this person’s defense, what they were asking is exactly what many website companies do, especially those that claim to specialize in a particular area, like legal, financial and even photography. I’ve seen it firsthand.
They use templates and pretty much just swap out the company name, logo and contact information. Same site structure, same content, same design, same colors and fonts.
If you’ve ever wondered how a “specialist” can be so inexpensive, now you know.
Truth be told, I could have gone to the websites of similar companies to gather information. I could have searched for companies in different parts of the country to avoid what would amount to stealing from direct competitors. I could have written this person’s website content based on that information.
I could easily collect a check and the client would probably be satisfied.
But if this content was published, it would’ve been invisible in a sea of white vans, with no distinguishable characteristics whatsoever. The website would have been just another stop on a person’s journey to find that exceptional company that could deliver the desired outcome.
To Stand Out, Look Inward
To be honest, if you’re asked why someone should hire you and that question leaves you speechless, you have more than a website content problem. You have a business problem.
That doesn’t mean you’re screwed. And it doesn’t mean there’s no good answer to the question. It just means you haven’t given it enough thought to come up with a meaningful answer.
Just don’t look for the answer on a competitor’s website. That’s not the place to find out what makes you special.
Saying the same thing as everyone else won’t cut it. Saying the same thing in a different way won’t work either.
If your website content doesn’t convey your unique value proposition, you’re destined to be invisible in sea of white vans. The only way to be different will be to lower your prices, and unless you’re Walmart or Amazon, that’s a one-way ticket out of business.
For many companies, there’s something fairly obvious about their product, customer service, process, experience or location that’s uniquely valuable. This point of “uniqueness” can serve as the cornerstone of their website content.
If you’re in a highly competitive field, you may need to look inward and do some soul-searching. Dig deeper into your company values, why you got into this business in the first place, what motivates you and your team each day, and what you want to achieve for your clients.
This process for identifying your unique value proposition may take a bit longer. But the deeper you dig, the more likely you are to uncover a hidden treasure.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have an outsider assist with this process. Someone who is completely detached from your company and capable of objectively honing in on what your clients will perceive as valuable and worthy of their investment. If you’re struggling to come up with a website content message that’s uniquely yours, let’s talk.
I’m a copywriter, marketing consultant, lifelong New Jersey resident, husband to a beautiful wife and father to two beautiful girls. I love playing with my daughters, a day at the boardwalk, sarcasm, craft beer and grilling. I despise beating around the bush, synchronized swimming, Toddlers & Tiaras and onions. Most people don’t know I used to be a radio DJ and once wrote, produced and voiced a commercial for the TV show 24. Two places I want to visit before I die are Ireland and Norway, the homes of my ancestors. One place I never want to revisit is my first apartment because my creepy landlord, Monty, freaked me out. That just about covers it.