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Old 27th July 2004, 12:30 AM   #1
jeanm
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Default Product-Driven versus Customer-Centric

Barry I "met" you in the New Members Introductions last week. You had a look at my Heritage Ceilings site http://www.heritageceilings.com.au and you had some ideas on improvements. I would love to hear more from you if you have the time (and inclination).

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Old 27th July 2004, 07:48 AM   #2
BWelford
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Wow, Jean, a whole thread named after me. No one's ever done that for me before. I'm really grateful.

No, but seriously ... I'm not sure whether you want to hear more in a thread or in a Private Message. I think the thread is better since more people can jump in and more people can learn something about the topic. However perhaps Admin could somehow change the name for this thread to say, Heritage Ceilings.

I wrote what I wrote because of a knee-jerk reaction I have in looking at any website. One of my hot topics is Product-Driven versus Customer-Centric. I've written lots about that elsewhere and there's an IBM book on it which is good value ("The Customer-centered Enterprise - How IBM and other World-Class Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results by Putting Customers First"). I take it a bit farther than others since I believe it's always difficult to get into someone else's shoes and see the situation as they do. They have had different life experiences and perhaps even come from a different culture. So you will never really be able to think like one of your customers and see your company or its products as they see it.

A great many companies think that if they describe their products and their features well, then this will make the sale. However the customer is looking to purchase a product/service package that will deliver the benefits they are looking for. So you've got to present the information that the customer is looking for.

I was really bowled over by your website, Jean. I'd never thought of doing that to ceilings although I've been around all sorts of stately homes in my native England and seen some incredible work. I assumed it was plaster but that didn't matter particularly. If you tell me many of them were probably tin, well that's OK.

Now I try to think myself into the shoes of someone who has never heard any of this stuff, and happens to end up on your website. The word that really hits you is Tin, Tin, Tin. Isn't that what shanty towns are made of? It's also a cheaper way of packaging food if they don't want to spend a little more and put it in a fine glass bottle that shows off the contents.

I was hesitant to even raise the topic because as I said to quote my favourite Peter Drucker saying, Help is defined by the Recipient. The implications of what I was saying would be fairly large for your home page and for some other web pages. Up front you would just be talking about Heritage Ceilings. You should include there your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), the reason why you're better than the competition, but I don't think that would be too difficult. It would only be for those who were really hooked that you would reveal on another web page the mystery of the miraculous material that was used to create these effects. ("Ssh, don't tell anyone - it's tin")

Well you get the main idea, I had. That's only one person's opinion. What do others think?

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Old 27th July 2004, 08:52 AM   #3
Robert
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Default

Hi Barry,

Great points as usual. I've moved the thread to this forum and I've changed the title. Everyone feel free to jump in from here.

Thanks!

Robert

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Old 4th August 2004, 08:57 AM   #4
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Default Crossed Threads to Pay for Click?

Jeanm:

I agree with BWelford. If I were looking specifically for Tin ceilings I would be in heaven at your site. If I were looking for a creative way to do ceiling treatments I think I might miss some of what you are selling. Please consider his suggestions carefully.

Who will find your site? Is the audience people who are LOOKING for a Tin ceiling treatment or is it anyone looking to do a creative ceiling?

I will cross the thread barrier here and venture into something I know very little about. (Maybe Bragadocchio can chime in here.)

I think you should consider scraping the Google Ads. I found two on the main page and as many as four on other pages that would take me directly to your competitors. At least it looked like they would, and that is what counts. One click and the customer is gone. You get a nickel (USA bias) and your competitor gets the dollar (sale).

Just my 2 cents

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Old 4th August 2004, 11:56 AM   #5
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Default More Input

Quote:
Originally Posted by BossBean
I think you should consider scraping the Google Ads.
I completely agree with this. Unless the ads are creating a nice stream of revenue for you, they are a distraction from the focus of your site: to introduce a customer to the quality of your ceiling designs. Whether they go to your competitors, or just to another URL, they are all designed to lead someone AWAY from your site rather than KEEP them on it.

I have only seen Google ads used effectively on sites that have extremely high volume traffic and that contain informational content. In essence, sites that are not trying to sell a product.

On the subject of optimization, it appears that your site is fully optimized for the term "tin ceilings". So no problem there - the only thing that you might consider is creating some pages that target some other words related to home design that might draw in some more viewers (keywords like "home renovation" or "home design" for example, although more keyword research will doubtless find better ones).

Finally (stop me, I'm rambling) I have a hard time reading the copy on your site. I don't think that it's the background color (which is appealing), I think it is the arrangement of paragraphs. While the copy that you have is well-written, the important points get lost in the middle of large paragraphs of information. Highlighting some of these key points ("unique designs" "quality craftsmanship" "personalized service") and making them into their own paragraphs with headings might really help the overall legibility of the site.

Hope this all helps!

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Old 5th August 2004, 12:03 PM   #6
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Default Reaction?

jeanm:

As I wrote previously, I venture where I know little in the area of web design, but...

I was wondering, since so many of the people in this forum criticize web sites, how it felt to get such blunt, but honest, criticism?

I wonder because I don't particularly enjoy working with Bragadocchio sometimes because he is so honest in critiqueing my work on the web. Can those who give advice learn something from those who receive it?

I saw a quote here the other day: "The value of advice is determined by the receiver".

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Old 5th August 2004, 02:02 PM   #7
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I think, Bossbean, you may have picked up a quote I gave which was given 50 years ago by Peter Drucker, "Help is defined by the recipient". I heard it a long time ago and I've repeated it often.

It's tough to give advice because it can always be taken the wrong way. However I think if there is mutual respect between giver and receiver, then it becomes easier. That's because the helper really is trying to give help as they see it. Now perhaps the helpee may have heard the same advice a thousand times. However if you're gracious in thanking the person who offered the help, then others may be willing to chance giving you advice.

As a helper, I think it's important to make sure that you're not trying to show that you are better than the helpee, but merely may have a different perspective. I work as a coach with business owners. Very early on in the process, I always say something along these lines:
"I should mention that I tend to be very straightforward and direct in what I say. I try to be diplomatic and clearly it's only my opinion. However I think that is the best way I can give you good value."
Usually the other person answers, "Yes, that's exactly what I want. If you were only going to tell me what I knew, then there would be no point in having you here."
It doesn't avoid the difficult moments but at least you've signaled that they may arise.

As for Jean's business, I really liked what I saw. It looks to be a lovely family and they have a link to the Dolphin Marine Center. I felt I could relate to their situation well. Nevertheless when I hear Tin it gets me thinking in a certain direction. I thought quite a time before I wrote anything.

Since then, I keep thinking about Michaelangelo painting that Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican. I think that Jean's ceilings could be in the same league from what I see. Might that be a possible theme? Well ... help is defined by the recipient.

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Old 9th August 2004, 02:20 PM   #8
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Default Clarification

I see from my prior post that I said something I did not mean (an example of the text medium confusing the message?).

I said
Quote:
I don't particularly enjoy working with Bragadocchio sometimes
and that is not really what I meant. I meant, I have to take my lumps sometimes. He points out my failings, and that is his job. He and I have been friends for a long time and that makes it easier to hear the criticism he must provide if he is to do his job.

I was wondering how well that worked in the real world. In places where you do not know your client as a friend. What advice can you advisors give on giving advice?

BWelford was asked to provide input. I was not. So I was trying to be sensative to that fact and maybe start a discussion of what is involved in giving advice. Thanks for taking that up.

Jean, you do not know me and have no reason to take my advice. I hope you took the advice in the manner it was intended. Thats all.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

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