The question,” Is your site a library or a bookstore?” has been haunting me for weeks.
I suspect that it is one of those things that just popped into Amy Africa’s head and she tweeted it on impulse. The transfer from her thought to my mind has been keeping me awake at night.
I wondered if Amy would consider my website a library, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted it to be perceived as a bookstore. After all, I was a professional consultant, well trained in the “clients come from referrals, not advertising” mindset. To shift from “I’ll post a few links to my playbooks” to a full court press was a huge jump that I wasn’t ready to take.
Our website originally looked like this:
The first changes were painful baby steps. The newsletter subscription request was expanded and a promotion (ouch, am I really saying that?) for a customer retention checkup was added. We created a button to schedule a free initial consultation and added links to our recent blog posts.
Our subscriptions went up, blog traffic increased, and there was immediate interest in the checkup. It turned out that some of my current clients didn’t know that we offered that service. Who knew?
Even with the changes, library vs. bookstore kept creeping into my thoughts.
I looked at Amy’s website and had immediate withdrawal symptoms. It seemed too promotional for a conservative consultant like me. I went back to my site said, “job well done” and ignored those haunting thoughts.
I have a deep seated respect for Amy because she validates every thing she recommends. I also consider her a friend. I spent the week before #blogchat requesting (insisting?) that my followers and clients participate because I knew the value of Amy’s information.
The conversation continued long after the session ended. Then the unimaginable happened. Amy called my website a library. She was blatant about it.
My haunting became a full fledged nightmare.
It was the call to the action I had been resisting. We help our clients move forward in this fast paced technology based business environment. We show them how to blend channels, departments, and divisions into a seamless shopping experience. Some come willingly. Others resist the process. I completely understand the latter group now.
After considerable thought, I asked, “What should our website do?” The answer – Introduce us to prospects, provide resources for our clients, and generate revenue from our playbooks. We’re not there, but we moved closer yesterday.
If our website isn’t serving its purpose, why would we continue to invest the resources required in maintaining it?
The changes were simple. We updated and multiplied our newsletter subscription requests per Amy’s recommendation. We also presented the customer retention checkup in two formats and added our telephone number at the top. I have always advocated having contact information on every web page. Amy recommends it in multiple locations.
Will the new look make a difference? It’s too early to tell. We’ll be monitoring it carefully and provide an update later. We’ll also be adding new features and revising the content. We tweaked our blog, too. It is also a work in progress. I’m grateful to Mack for having Amy on #blogchat and Amy for sharing her knowledge.
If you have comments about our changes, please let us know. If you don’t want them public, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve experienced a makeover or in the process, please share with us. We’d love to hear your story.
And, if you need to convert your website from a library to a bookstore, give Amy a call.