The Sound Of Business Part 1
BREAKING THE LIQUID CRYSTAL BARRIER
The Web is an emotionally remote hinterland delivered to us through an impenetrable liquid crystal barrier. How then, can you as a business owner, entrepreneur, or marketing executive connect to a target audience that requires emotional reassurance in order to do business?
Willy Loman is Dead
Gone are the days when we sent out phalanxes of sales representatives pounding the pavement, beating the bushes, and generally getting in the face of prospects. Too expensive, way too expensive, have you seen the price of gas? Enough said.
Hot Shots Are Us
So you hire some hot shot Web designer who isn't as old as the shoes you're wearing. If you spent some money on your site, and you didn't fall into the trap of having your brother-in-law's cousin design the thing, you probably got a technically proficient website. Unfortunately, when they teach these 'wunderkind' the ways of the Web at the local community college, they don't teach them anything about business, especially anything about marketing.
Now if you're one of those people who think websites are IT projects then good luck, have a nice life, stop reading, because the rest of what I have to say will mean nothing to you. On the other hand, if you believe websites are about marketing, let's talk.
A Manifesto for the Web
A bunch of guys a whole lot smarter than me wrote a neat little screed called the 'The Cluetrain Manifesto' - very clever stuff. What they said was 'markets are conversations consisting of human beings, and the Internet enables these conversations.' Now here's the critical part, 'conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.' Now does that sound like the Web you know? Does your website speak with a human voice? Does your website connect in a human way to your customers? I think not.
So what does this really mean, this so called conversation? Well we are all aware of Email, Blogs, RSS, and the Instant Messenger technologies that have enabled this conversation to take place. But with these informal conversations comes a danger - sloppy thinking and misunderstood intent.
Someone sends you an email, and you quickly respond dashing off an email reply without carefully thinking about how, or what, you are saying. Even if the basic intent and content is what you wanted to say, have you really said it in a way that your conversation partner will understand, or will they misconstrue your meaning?
How many one line, short-form emails have you received in response to a complex initial correspondence, and if you're anything like me, you looked at it and thought to yourself, 'what the hell is this suppose to mean.' We've got a conversation going all right, but have we really attained communication.
The Meaning of Life or At Least Web Conversation
Now here's the interesting thing. I never actually read 'The Cluetrain Manifesto', but I did hear it. Knowing that I would be laid-up for a few days, bored to death, with nothing to do, but too comatose to really concentrate on reading a book, I purchased one of those audiocassette books at the local mall. I had no idea what I was buying, but it sounded interesting, after all the cover said 'the end of business as usual' which really appealed to my unconventional, contrary nature.
So I bought it, and it was a revelation, an epiphany. Not that I agreed with everything Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger had to say, but still their voices stayed with me, and are still locked away somewhere in my head.
Breaking the Liquid Crystal Barrier
And that my friend is the message, the sound of the human voice is powerful, and it connects to the listener on a whole different level. It speaks the truth and connects emotionally to the listener on a very human plane. It breaks through that liquid crystal barrier, and says, listen to me, I'm here, I'm human, and I have something real to talk to you about. Wow, this is good stuff. So tell me why don't you have that human connection imbedded in your website, delivering your message, your story.
Forget about all the crap you've heard and read about bandwidth and search engine optimization. When someone takes the trouble to visit your website, don't waste the opportunity. Don't screw it up. Don't be afraid to say what needs to be said, in a way that will be heard. If you do it right, your website visitors will remember what you have to say, and that liquid crystal barrier will be broken.
About the Author: Jerry Bader, is a partner in MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in creating multimedia websites with audio, video, Flash, and interactive elements. MRPwebmedia developed the Sonic Personalities© concept using custom-crafted voice-overs. Phone (905) 764-1246 and visit http://www.sonicpersonality.com and http://www.mrpwebmedia.com.