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Topic: Website Critique

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Family Counseling Website Needs Feedback PRO Member

Posted by SRyan ;] on 2500 Points
Hi, guys!

I'm posting this on behalf of my friend Mark. His website is http://strongfamilies.us/ .

In a nutshell, Mark asked for my advice about improving his marketing results with webinars. He'd like to shift his focus from doing local, in-person seminars to doing live and/or on-demand webinars for parents and educators who deal with kids who are difficult to handle.

I think Mark could benefit from your objective feedback about his website. I'm posting this request for him because I've got oodles of KHE points available to share! Go for it, folks, and give Mark the best advice you can muster. Keep in mind that he's a sole proprietor with a limited budget.

Thanks for your help!

Shelley
Killer Webinars

  • Posted by michael on Accepted
    Shelley,
    Looks like a great concept and very needed. Quickly...I would get the site map off the top of the list. If he's promoting webinars...that should be tops. Games, also a great idea and should be up near the top.

    "Sudden compliance" doesn't resonate with me, but it may for parents struggling with strong willed children.

    Pictures: He seems to have represented blended and single-parent families. Is this based on the types of clients he has?

    I like to see the link for "home" in the logo top left. Right now it's just a sign for the seminars. That's only an opinion.

    Michael
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    My first reaction is that it's missing the WIIFM and a compelling call to action. As I look at the home page, I don't know (a) if I'm in the target audience or not, (b) what benefit I might expect if I sign up for the newsletter, or (c) what else, if anything, you want me to do -- and why I might want to do it.

    The site seems to be more about what the organization does, where and how Mark grew up and was educated, etc., than about what important benefit it can provide for me.

    My suggestion would be to review the copy with an eye toward pointing everything to the consumer benefit -- WIIFM -- and take out all the ego stuff. (When the first real copy at the top of the home page is about YOUR mission, you know the site is inward focused. And what do Mark's home town and alma mater have to do with the benefit?)

    How about some testimonials, a video clip on the home page that demonstrates what Mark is all about (i.e., a free sample to get people excited), short benefit-oriented captions near the pictures, perhaps a very brief case study that showcases the benefit, etc.?

    Less boring/irrelevant copy, more excitement and a clear benefit promise.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    Since his goal is creating webinars, then a video on the home page makes good sense (either videos of snippets of previous seminars or a message from him to the website visitor).

    There's a lot of text to wade through - I'd prefer to see some basic bullet-points to let me skim the copy.

    How about adding a basic "test" to see if your child has a problem that this program can help with. These questions would be similar to some of the questions at: http://strongfamilies.us/seminars.php, but simpler. For example: Has your child's teacher complained about your child's behavior? Do you feel like you're spending too much time dealing with problems (and not enough time playing)?

    What age range is the project geared? Can Mark offer slightly different programs for different niches (preschool, elementary school, etc.)? Different ages have different needs, different styles of communication, etc.

    What's the benefit to signing up for the newsletter? What's the frequency? Are there tips or simply a sales piece?
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Author
    Much appreciated, Michael, Michael, Karen and Jay!

    Mark does have short videos throughout his site. One example is here:

    http://strongfamilies.us/seminars.php

    I'd love to get everyone's feedback on that as well.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    The problem with the video on that page is that it's a video designed to sell DVDs, not Mark. What I want to see is Mark speaking to get an idea of his style of presentation. While his topic may be of interest, it's the personal trust that will sell his work.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Jay's comment on the video is right on, except he didn't tell the whole story.

    The video is a 3+ minute commercial, and we still never get to see Mark in action, or get any sense of his personality or any sense of how he delivers his magic.

    The soft music makes me think this is going to be a meditation session, not a high-energy, information-rich, how-to program that will make my life (and my kid) better immediately. I shudder to think that the program itself might be more of the same ... for hours on end.

    I'd suggest a shorter video (45-60 seconds?) with Mark talking directly into the camera, as though he were having a one-on-one conversation with the parent ... perhaps giving a tip on how to improve communication (or whatever). If he has video testimonials from satisfied clients, 10-15 seconds of those would be good too.

    But I find the video that's already on the site (that you linked to) a turn-off ... and may be doing more harm than good ... if anyone ever watches more than the first 30 seconds ... which are a real downer. They visualize the problem, not the solution! What do you think people will remember?

    Yes I watched all 3:44 -- twice ... and it never gets much better. I even remember seeing visualization of money for about 20 seconds solid ... as in, "This is going to cost you a bundle!" And listening to a voice-over reading the TOC.

    Mark: Lose this video. It should have been scrapped at the storyboard stage.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Would you buy into a diet program that showed only the "before" pictures, and no "after" pictures?

    Would you be enticed by someone reading you the recipes and nutrition information for suggested meals ... and never even showing the meals?

    Would you be likely to buy if 10% of the message was about how much it would cost you to get the claimed benefits, showing the money only ... and not the results?

    Would you believe it works if the music were slow and hypnotic/lethargic?

    You get the idea.
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Author
    Hey, Karen, do you do this for a living, or what? ;]

    What exactly does it mean to be in the top 8.03% of all websites?
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    It probably means that if his target audience is search engine bots, he's gonna make them very happy. :)
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Author
    You're probably right, Michael. My own website is in the "top 11.74% of all websites," which is questionable since it's so new and hasn't had time to generate much traffic!

    Mark said he's getting fewer than 10 site visitors per day. (I'm hoping he'll chime in here soon and correct me if I'm wrong.) This is one reason I take Hubspot's "Website Grader" reports with a hefty grain of salt.
  • Posted by Levon on Member
    The menu system over on the left is very web 1.0. Move it to the top center. Also there is so much text throughout and the messaging is everywhere. You need a better messaging srategy that tells a story. Why is your mission statement on the home page? You need to refine your messaging and work on writing and rewriting it so anyone can understand what it is you do.
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Author
    Hi, everyone. I'm going to leave this question open just a bit longer and see if I can get Mark to respond to your suggestions. Thanks for all the time and brain power so far!

    Shelley

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