As a marketing firm, the most common inbound emails that we receive on a weekly basis are from Startups who want a “website”. These emails normally tend to be one-liners that go something like this: “We are a startup, we need a website, please send quotation”.
We used to find these quite hilarious initially until we noticed that the frequency of these emails was indicative of a lack of knowledge and a set of naive best-practices that seem to have turned epidemic.
People tend to tick off a to-do list of artefacts that once produced will magically solve all their marketing woes. A logo, business cards, stationery, and a website. Now there is nothing wrong with desiring these artefacts. The inherent error lies in misunderstanding the role that they play in your Marketing Arsenal. In today’s technology-driven marketing climate, understanding the role that a “website” plays within your Marketing Arsenal is absolutely imperative.
What do you really need?
A website is essentially just a vehicle. It’s a series of instructions that tell a browser to load content in a predefined manner. The operative word in that sentence being ‘content’.
What is content? It’s your story. It’s the new gospel that you as a startup have pledged to take out to the world and incessantly evangelise. The new truth that you believe will radically make life better for anyone who partakes in it. As a startup, you need to articulate your story, you need to write the gospel according to you. That is what you need. Not a website.
Do not be mesmerised by technology and forget that at the end of the day technology is just merely making it easier and faster for us to do something that we as humans have done since the beginning of time; tell stories.
Get the purpose of your Story right.
The purpose of your story constantly changes. It is always in flux, which comes as no surprise since most companies are constantly changing. At all times you need to be absolutely clear about what the current purpose of your story is. Any ambiguity on this front will only confuse your market.
Initially, it may be an investor pitch. Then it may be biased to convincing potential early adopters about your cool service/product which doesn’t exist yet, but will really make their lives better.
At all times, define this purpose. Don’t try to muddle two of them together.
Investing in the right storytelling aids.
If you’ve read this far, you obviously are someone who does a fair bit of reading. I garner you enjoy sitting down with a good book. Unfortunately, you and I are an endangered species. You are not going to get away with telling your story with just words.
Besides the fact that reading is a dying art. There are mediums that perform a certain communication challenge far more effectively than written word.
You need to invest in a Storyteller who can help you articulate your story and piece it together through a string of ‘content artefacts’ that seamlessly fit together to tell the most articulate story.
These ‘content artefacts’ could be photographs, a new visual identity or a video or a customised calculator or even a simple comparison chart. Once you have them they will appear on your website. But you can also post them to your Facebook Page. You can also share them on a Whatsapp Group or insert them into Powerpoint presentation. You could print them in a brochure or send a video link to an investor. All of sudden you are not a marketer with a website. You now have a quiver of artefacts that arm you with the greatest weapon any marketer can wield, great content.
So the next time you feel the need to ask someone for a new website. Think it through again.