In many ways this follows on from the post of a couple of weeks ago. Remember that folder on my desktop? Things that I really ought to read and never do?
One of the main contributors to that folder is a company called Hubspot – www.hubspot.com They’re American, and they’re successful. What do they do? Do you know, I’m not sure. Something clever with the internet and… search engines, maybe? I honestly can’t remember. I did know once, but I’ve forgotten.
That’s not to say Dr Alzheimer is tapping on my shoulder. No, the reason I’ve forgotten is that Hubspot send me so much free stuff that I’ve lost sight of their underlying message. I’ve now come to see them as simply a provider of free information.
Let’s have a quick look in my folder: never mind all the word documents and links, there are 31 PDFs that, as I confessed a fortnight ago, I’d almost certainly benefit from reading. At least half of them are from Hubspot, including:
25 Website Essentials
15 Business Blogging Mistakes
Hubspot Twitter guide 2011
Hubspot Whitepaper – Get Found Online
As I say, all stuff that I really ought to read – and really don’t have the time. There isn’t a week goes past when Hubspot don’t send me at least one (and sometimes more) guide-that-I-really-ought-to-read.
So much so that their main message – whatever it might be – has been lost among the noise. ‘Another e-mail from Hubspot. Another free guide,’ is how my chain of thought goes. Are they giving me customer service which is too good? Or are they battering me with information overload which is badly misfiring?
I tend towards the latter.
Clearly Hubspot are successful. But are they as successful as they could be? And is there a lesson that we can all learn?
You need to make sure that your business has a clear message, and that you communicate that message simply and effectively. I think what the Hubspot example shows is that your message must be clear, simple, blindingly obvious and not drowned in the clutter – especially as more and more business moves online. And that sometimes, you need to stand back and say, ‘Enough’s enough. If they don’t understand what I’m selling by now, maybe they never will.’
I was chatting to a fairly blunt web design expert the other day. He said that the landing page of your website had to answer four very simple questions:
Where am I?
Why am I here?
What’s in it for me?
What do I do next?
With a few tweaks, those questions could be applied to your key business message as well.
Even if you’re presenting your message face-to-face, make sure that it’s clear and unambiguous. “I’m a fitness coach for pregnant women” works (and more or less ticks those four boxes.) Mumbling about a bit of coaching and maybe some web design and maybe doing two days a week on something else definitely doesn’t work. And never will.
Remember too that you can’t be all things to all men. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘No, I don’t do that.’ After all, if you’re a member of the Alternative Board, chances are that you know someone who does do it. And who does it well.
But let me know what you think. Which business messages – either your own (and there’s a chance for some advertising…) or somebody else’s – work really well? And to keep us entertained, which ones don’t work?
And a clear, simple, unambiguous message from me to finish with. Thanks for continuing to read the blog. Have a great weekend.