How Redesigning Your Website Can Challenge Your Business Model

So you have decided to redo your website. Good idea. Today’s website is more than a corporate brochure; it’s your frontline sales team.

Ways to build your websiteYou have selected a marketing consultant to help you determine strategy and messaging. You have hired a designer who starts to build your new site and suddenly you grind to a halt.
What happens when you go to add to content?
Suddenly you realize that the way you have been describing your product or service doesn’t work on the web. Suddenly you realize:

  • There is no clarity around your offer
  • You have no differentiation in what you are selling or describing to prospects
  • You don’t have a compelling story to tell in social media

Why does developing a compelling web presence for your business suddenly challenge your business model?

Here is a real life story of one business owner and what changed when it came time to articulate their business on the web.
In December of 2011, Marketing CoPilot launched a new web presence for SPM Learning to help drive lead generation and establish a web presence to find customers and nurture existing relationships. The team at SPM Learning agreed early in the process that in the game of selling learning solutions to large corporate customers, a website and web presence needs to:

  1. Clearly state your value proposition in eight seconds or less on the home page.
  2. Be compelling enough for someone to take a next action on the site.
  3. Have content, messaging and compelling actions on the site that lead to more than a visitor passively perusing course listings.

In other words, the process of selling learning courses needed to change and so did the story.
SPM Learning was struggling with an issue that many business owners face when presenting their companies online. In an era of customers who want content that is “all about me”; are demanding relevant content online to make a buying decision; and, are well into the buying process long before you hear from them, just posting product information is no longer good enough.
Here’s a good test:

  • Go online and search for “leadership training”
  • Review the first five organic search results you get (skip the Adwords)
  • Look at what people are actually selling in the top five results

In my top five search results, I get companies selling commoditized training courses. There is no differentiation amongst them and likely they are competing on price.
For SPM Learning, they realized quickly they did not want to be in this category, yet the content they were providing for the website, and the way they were articulating their business, was putting them there.
Upon launch of the new website (, we were able to see in the first 30 days using Google Analytics, where people were landing, what they were reading and what they doing on the site.

And guess what?

They were not looking at course listings. We launched a blog strategy for SPM Learning to change the conversation and drive traffic to the site based on engagement around “learning solutions” and the complete process of leadership training for employees, not just buying courses. The click through rates that SPM Learning enjoys on their blog activity and email marketing has improved by more than 30% and they have built better engagement around the topics of learning solutions. This helped position their company as more than course listings.
Before you hire a consultant, talk to web developers or write a line of copy, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the most important action I want someone to take on my website?
  2. How will I help them take that action?
  3. How will I articulate the “offer” and what they can buy from me?
  4. How much information can I share to guide them in the process?
  5. Could my current business model and what I am selling translate on the web to let prospects “self-serve”?

You website is one the most important business tools you have today. Use it wisely for your business and it will pay back in spades.
Marie Wiese is founder of Marketing CoPilot and the author of the eBook, “Why marketing fails… and what you can do about it!” Marketing CoPilot designs and delivers optimized content marketing programs that drive lead generation for business owners.

Marketing CoPilot