This is one of those posts that my colleagues told me not write.
“No one wants to hear about Starsky & Hutch”, they said.
They may be right and maybe you didn’t get past the subject line, but if you bear with me I’ll explain why everyone needs a Starsky sweater for their website.
The TV series Starsky and Hutch aired from 1975 to 1979, starring Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, and if you use Google images and do a search, there are not many shots of the two actors that don’t show the classic sweater.
Here’s what the Starsky sweater says to me:
- I am consistent
- I am simple
- I can be trusted (anyone brave enough to wear this in every episode was definitely not arrogant)
The Starsky sweater was iconic. It shouldn’t have been cool but it was and, it stood for something. What you see is what you get. No muss. No fuss. This is it.
When I surf around on B2B websites today, I find that many of them are all over the map with respect to content, imagery and tone. They do not instill trust because of their lack of consistency and clarity.
And I bet that if I had access to data on some of these websites, I would see that they also don’t perform.
How to apply a Starsky Sweater Strategy to your website.
- Take a look at your website and see what icons are consistently used to lead the visitor from one place to another on the site. Do you jump around with respect to:
- Calls to action
- Is there a clearly stated reason to be on your website and/or do business with you? Most B2B websites don’t mean business, they mean, passively take a look around and if you see something you like, pick up the phone and call us and we’ll take up more of your time trying to explain what we do.
- Is there a motif on the website that explains your brand and gives you a sense of what it would be like to work with your company? In other words, what imagery are you using to create a picture of what you would be like to work with?
- How hard are you making your visitor work and how is this affecting your website conversion rate? If you take three paragraphs to explain something when one sentence will do or you direct me, your visitor to pages and pages of detail about your products and services (without ever making it simple for me to understand where I am in the buying process), you are going to frustrate me. If it isn’t immediately obvious why I’m here and what you want me to do next (call to action), will likely spend less than 40 seconds on your website, leave your site not having a positive impression of your company or will forget your company as soon as I leave.
For many months we have talked about the analytical side of “web presence” strategy, but there are more subtle issues that B2B companies overlook. In their quest to “sell”, many companies forget the #1 step in the sales process “EARNING” TRUST. I have to trust you before I will do business with you and in my mind, you trust iconic imagery. You trust a Starsky sweater.
The thought of putting on that sweater when trying to solve a problem is pretty darn appealing. If your website wore the Starsky sweater, I would have the reassurance I was looking for. I would know what I was getting and there is simplicity and clarity in that.
The Starsky sweater was something David Starsky put on when he was working. If you really want your website to work – communicate how to use your website and what your visitor can expect from your company. Iconic imagery helps your visitor/prospect draw a conclusion.