BEC Story #1: The Haunted Page From 2013

This month, we’ve decided to go through and tell a series of stories related to Breaking Even Communications. The theme this month is ‘brand story’ and nothing helps you make a cohesive interesting story like telling several smaller ones and looking for a pattern.

Running a business is not just providing customers with a product or service. It’s how we work with each other (the employees) and how we see the bigger vision for the company. So it’s important to look at problems/solutions/values from not just our customers’ perspective but from an internal perspective.

We tell a lot of these stories in our ‘case studies’ section of our website and also in the occasional blog entry.

There are a couple reasons I don’t obsessively talk about our customers:

  1. I never want people to feel like we’ll only like them and learn from them if they are our customers.
  2. A lot of our work demands we be somewhat invisible. It’s about the business succeeding, not us doing the work.

Today’s story is a client story.

Legal pad with pen on wood background

Problem: Client needed help improving his website. It was his first six figure year and he came back to us for more suggestions for improvement.

Solution: We looked at his website from the user point of view. We saw a few things (some non-obvious purchase links that could be made into buttons, some text that could be moved onto a different page, etc.) We even crawled all the links on the website (which took almost 24 hours with our internet connection and all the links the website had!) to find any dead links leading nowhere. Nothing seemed like a big deal.

I think most companies would have stopped there, thinking finding a few things was as good as finding one big thing… but I had a feeling something else was up.

I found it, buried in the ‘User Flow’ in Google Analytics. 30% of traffic to the website was going to a defunct page that hadn’t been touched in three years that had old, no longer true information on it. How many of those thousands of people could be redirected to buy something, or even to more useful information?

Values demonstrated: Going on our gut, hard work, thorough work, multifaceted approach.

How could this story be improved? I will be the first to say, this story is not interesting. But often, you start with the skeleton of something that isn’t interesting.



Add details. What kind of business is this? Who owns it and what sort of awesome, self improvement-centric person hires a company to look at his site every year to see what he could do better? I should probably get his permission and really dig in. In reading this story, you should be able to say to yourself, “I know this person and this business and I really relate to Mr. X’s amazing drive to self improvement and hitting that big six figure goal he had for his business” (which he does part time by the way while doing a full time other job – how many can relate to that?) The more details, the more relatable.

Following up. Wouldn’t it be awesome if, say, at the end of this story, he was even more successful than he was before? If we found out people clicked on those sweet fat buttons that were now so much easier to see and make purchases from? If 25% of the people who hit that three year old page were redirected and made a purchase? Here’s the thing, this only happened a couple months ago. This will be a much better story when we know Part 2.

Adding something memorable. Gut and Google may be a good title for this. It may not only make people click (if that was a link of course) but it may help people remember that it’s one thing to use a tool like Google Analytics and it’s another to work with someone who has (and goes on) their gut feelings. A title is not the only thing that can be memorable in a story but thinking of a couple of details to make a story memorable is never a wasted effort.

Next round: an internal problem. A lot of businesses opt for silence when it comes to sharing internal problems (which we can’t say we argue with necessarily), but it’s a part of the story, too. Stay tuned for next week’s story!

 

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

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