Humanizing Your Website

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtainI see too many websites that are all business. No personality and not a bit of information about the people behind the company. It’s like the Wizard of Oz, we don’t know who and what is hiding behind the curtain. In my opinion, a lot of small and mid-size businesses are missing out on easy sales because their websites don’t tell the great stories about the people working behind the curtain. I feel we can all make an effort to humanize our websites, unless you have a brand and culture that is instantly recognizable like Google, IBM, or Apple.

First Impressions

When you meet a potential client the first time, you want them to like and trust you right away. You spend time in a conversation looking for  common ground and building rapport. Nowadays, that first meeting happens on your website. Do you have elements and content on your website that build rapport and make connections? If not, potential clients are clicking off your website and taking their business elsewhere.

It really doesn’t matter if you sell software from Sage, Microsoft, Intuit or any other product for that matter. When your customers need assistance with installation, technical support, training, or simply have questions, you want to them to call you, not Microsoft, Sage, or whomever. Your website is an important tool that puts a face and name on your company so that clients are comfortable calling you in a time of need.

Websites With Personality

Let’s take a look at three companies that do a good job at humanizing their business on their website.

CrutchfieldBeing a gadget guy, Crutchfield is one of my favorite websites.

They are a successful online retailer of audio and video electronics. I have never met the owner or any of their employees face-to-face, since Crutchfield does business strictly over the Internet. Yet, I feel I know them like my neighbor and I trust them. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone to call them if I had questions about wiring up my stereo system. Why is that?

Take a look at Crutchfield’s our story page

There’s a picture of the founder with employees in the background. Then there are pictures and testimonials from customers on the same page. But it’s more than just the pictures of real people that help humanize their website, the story behind their success is compelling as well. The message from founder Bill Crutchfield is warm, genuine, and personal. It’s not your typical corporate double talk that you see on a lot of other websites. Need advice, check out Crutchfield Support and you’ll see pictures and profiles of their personal advisers. When you look at other sections of the website, you’ll see photos, videos, and profiles of other front line employees that handle training, technical support, and customer service.

You see this throughout the Crutchfield website. It’s no wonder I feel like I know the folks at Crutchfield just from their website.

Spectrum Internal Medicine Associates’ Small but Effective Website

Spectrum Internal Medicine AssociatesLast year, I switched health insurance plans and had to find a doctor in a different network. We all know how that can be a hit or miss trying to pick a doctor from a directory with very limited information.

To make a long story short, I narrowed my list to four doctors and checked out their websites. One didn’t have a website so he was out of the running immediately. The doctor I chose belonged to Spectrum Internal Medicine Associates.

Their website is very simple, only about 4 pages but effective.    It has a picture and profile on each of the doctors in the practice. On each of the profiles, you learn about each doctor’s training, qualifications, and accreditation. More importantly, each doctor found a way to bring themselves down to my level and to connect with me other clients. Before I called to make my first appointment for a check up, I felt like I had already met him and knew his background both professionally and personally.

The Database Diva’s personal AND informative

Lori FeldmanThe third website belongs to Lori Feldman, The Database Diva. She’s an ACT! Consultant, trainer, speaker, marketer, and more. It’s quite obvious that Lori is the Wizard in front of the curtain. She’s not hiding behind her website and she clearly injects her personality onto her website. You’ll find content that is both business-like, yet personable.

You get a better perspective of where Lori’s coming from, NOT just a corporate entity. I’ve been receiving Lori’s email campaigns for several years and have never met her personally until last year. I was manning the Sage booth at Insights when this woman walked up. Right away I recognized Lori from her website and emails. Even though this was the first time I’ve met Lori face-to-face, it felt like I’ve know her for years.

Bottom Line

I hope these three examples spark ideas for you and show you how easy it is to humanize your website. It doesn’t matter if you are a sole proprietor or have hundreds of employees. In the new era of transparency, hiding behind your website is not the best way to start a relationship with potential clients.