Attitude,  Challenges,  Clients & Customers,  Communication,  copywriting,  Marketing

What does a priest, a website, and a vacation all have in common?

We finally took a vacation last week. And I still can’t believe our last vacation was our honeymoon when we married in June 2019!

Since my spouse is in medicine, with the pandemic, we wound up staying put for the duration. We did take some day trips here and there. And there’s nothing like taking a full seven days off and just getting out of dodge…

Since it was the first trip out, we decided to pick a place we could drive to for now. I’ve been to almost every state in the U.S. (And around the world twice – thanks to my 20 years in corporate).

Seattle was the one place I’d never been and always wanted to go to.

So we packed up the car and drove there. Wow, the pacific northwest is beautiful from the car window—nothing like the boring flat drives I’ve had growing up in Louisiana.

I reveled in the incredible scenery of the mountains and all those tall evergreen and redwood trees. Some call this area the “lungs of America” because of all the H20 these trees deliver…

Our first stop was Astoria, OR, a beautiful coastal town where the state line between OR and WA is in the middle of the Columbia River. We drove to the point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, which was breathtaking – so much beauty.

I could go on for many more paragraphs about our trip, yet, this is a marketing, mindset, and messaging email, not Shannon’s vacation blog!

We stayed in Astoria with a dear friend, the Rector, at an Episcopal church. She had just started working in the diocese and had just updated the website. We ended up brainstorming about how to build and maintain the church members.

This may seem a bit out of the ordinary – me conferring with a rector about how to help maintain and grow their parish…

Yet, what’s so fascinating and why I wanted to share this with you is that the principles to grow a parish are the same as growing your business of dream clients/customers.

Also, as a caveat, I’m not endorsing any particular religion as I’m a reformed Catholic and currently nondenominational. 🙂

My conversation with the Rector is like many I’ve had with my clients…

When it comes to your website or any messaging you put out on behalf of your business – you are NOT your client/customer.

When I worked for a web tech company several years ago, a must-read was – Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug —- I’d highly recommend it!

The biggest challenge for many entrepreneurs is creating outward-facing content like a website, newsletter, social media, etc. They create it based on how THEY think about their content, NOT what their dream clients/customers think.

For example – If you have a bricks-n-mortar business – don’t make it hard for the person to FIND YOU. Always put your address up top and bottom, and even have an embedded Google map.

Back to my friend/Rector – she made some terrific updates to the old 1990s website, bringing it into the 21st century – yet – the donate button was above the fold – which is ok – but there wasn’t much else about the church community…

Think about it like this — people get to your site – you have 5 – 7 seconds – to answer these questions for them – What is this site? Is this interesting? Can I trust this person? Is this right for me?

By my friend having a donate button above the fold, just with the church name and address – it’s like asking someone to marry them on the first date. You’ve got to warm them up.

In the case of her building her community of folks to attend and be in this church community, she also needs to answer their additional questions such as –

  • Is this community right for me?
  • Will I fit in, and do they have similar views as I do? (Will I be accepted if I’m part of the LGBTQ community? Or will my skin color affect my experience?)
  • Who’s the rector? What are his/her views on the world?
  • What’s the age range of the community?
  • Will I be able to be more myself belonging to this community?

A lot of similar questions were in my email a few weeks ago about joining a membership or mastermind community.

And these questions can simply be answered with a photograph and a little bit of text.

The goal of this exercise is to ensure all of these questions are answered on her website.

I’d encourage you to go and look at your website or the core content you use to drive people to get to know you and how you can help them.

When looking at it – ask yourself the same questions your dream client/customer would ask themselves when looking, just as I did above. And make sure you’ve answered their questions in your content.

I often use FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), which also handle much of that, especially if you’re selling a course, product, or service.

The real gold around FAQs is to make sure they address any objections people might have to invest in your course, product, or service.

I have a huge swipe file of FAQs, some from others and a lot I’ve written for my clients. If you ever need any inspiration on this, hit me up – happy to help you.

And here are a couple of photos from our vacation in Seattle. I’ve posted a bunch more on my Facebook page… 🙂

Side Note: The pic of Seattle and Mt. Rainier – I took them from my iPhone in the car!
The bottom pic of breakfast and the view is from Astoria – that’s the Columbia River – and you’re looking at Washington st. Remember, the line between OR & WA is in the middle of the Columbia River. 🙂

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