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Interior designer website issues

Passionate about sales? Then don’t put your passion into sales. 

We returned a call regarding search engine problems with an existing website.  We quickly established the technical problem to be Flash as the entire site was built with it.
Generally speaking, flash websites can be effective if you don’t rely on the free visitors search engines provide. This appeared to be an easy fix from the first 2-hour conversation. We only needed to transfer the flash site to a content management HTML website and then train the potential client about Internet business which is part of the package we offer.  We were soon to learn that technical issues were the smallest of hurdles and that accepting change was the problem.
The existing website home page opens with “for those who appreciate the finer things in life” and a picture of a room where everything within it was white except a plant. So this website is about high-end colour free furniture that would give you panic attacks if the nephews and nieces came round with chocolate ice cream? No.
Page 2 starts with “the business owner is an unusual combination of artist, architect and engineer” so the website is promoting someone who can build you a great looking house? No.
Further reading on page 2 mentions “…there is nothing more beautiful that the female form, yet their soft subcutaneous tissue is forever being bruised by sharp aggressive and unyielding every day objects”. So this website is about someone who notices female accidents for a living? No. There were many other emotive statements written from a personal perspective with no clear explanation of what was being promoted.
The confusionometer was reading off the scale so a meeting was arranged to clarify. Without exaggeration, that meeting lasted over 5 hours. During this time passionate declarations of “high quality”, “I stand by my work” and many other generalist statements were made with little clarification of what was being sold or represented. Eventually, very high end custom built bathroom, kitchen, staircase and furniture designer was our understanding. Elsewhere in the website, £250,000 glass pavilions (we are still not sure what one of those is) were to be featured in the website.
The potential client was clearly very motivated and passionate about his work and conveyed this very readily at every opportunity. In person, this enthusiasm can be infectious and improve your chance of a sale but with the web it can work against you. You don’t have a lot of attention span to work with when visitors come to your site and this is usually measured in seconds. This limited time is better-spent grabbing attention. Passion should be separated from your sales copy and given only when requested e.g. the customer guarantee, testimonials etc and not on every page.
As a business decision maker you need to remember that the only person interested in your company is you, every one else is interested in what your company can do for them. So when writing content for your website remember to write about benefits for the visitor and not how you feel about your products and services.
We suggested that when writing content for the website that it should contain C.A.P.P.S, which stands for comfort, appeal, prestige profit and safety, the only 5 reasons someone buys something at anytime, and not what he felt about his services e.g. to describe a bespoke kitchen as the only one in the country (prestige) and not “spiritually uplifting and awaken our inner sensuality”
The reply was “It would seem that I am too pig-headed, too full of my own self importance and too set in my ways for us to be able to agree and thus work together”, so we took that to be business we didn’t win.

There are several lessons here, these being:

  • What you know outside of the web will not always work within it.
  • In unfamiliar territory, better to listen more than you talk.
  • Better to act on what you think than what you feel.