Big moves with small budgets: What brings leverage to websites and moves the needle?
Effort to results ratio is not made equal across the digital communication landscape, some efforts wipe your results clean from pointless sweat and make things feels just a little easier. What are those?
November 21, 2023
Merlin Eric Bola
Strategy & Content Direction
You gotta know where to put them
Let's say your resources are (still) limited.
Let's say you're not ready to invest into digital marketing tricks, stunts, secret tips, super secret tips, ultra tips, mindblowing tips that will change your life forever, kick-ass tips that won't leave your pants dry, or the bestest and uniquestest website tweaks.
Well, duck away, because there's a low-flying heretical take zooming in:
What if you didn't need them in the first place, and neither the feeling of never catching up?
What if there were good places to put your available resources according to first principles of digital marketing with high leverage?
Websites are pretty much taken for granted in comparison to oversold special extras in digital marketing, yet they can represent the overlooked staple. The opportunities for mission success and positive business development on the back of a psychologically aligned and digitally robust website are easily underestimated against the backdrop of flashy lights and fanfares.
Let's talk uncluttering, spending money wisely, and priority areas to pay priority attention to.
The priority 20% that move the 80%
Living in 2023, you probably ran into the Pareto Principle at least once.
It says that in most fields, there are roughly 20% of efforts that generate 80% of the required results. In other words: Find the first principles of anything and you can create outsized leverage and unfair advantages.
These priority 20% also exist in digital marketing and page building.
If your regenerative mission is meant to be communicated more impactful and result-yielding than the greenwashing crap that your unsustainable competition spills, then it makes sense to know how to make your available budget pack the hardest possible punch.
Take aim before you hit.
Billboard or opportunity magnet?
The old way of marketing and sales has an undying intrusive signature to it.
It tries to sell upon first encounter, prop up billboards that (attempt to) pep-talk people into an offer they weren’t actually that interested in … well, not before you brought it up and put lipstick on. People cold-called and pitched and product portfolio'd and worked hard to create needs – instead of serving them and simply solving present problems – to make a buck, and then some.
Look for yourself: If someone approaches you this way, an instinct is triggered to defend your autonomy and sovereignty. You'll take a step back and create more space between yourself and the intruder – especially if it’s a stranger coming in.
… especially if it can be read between the lines that it surely is about business – selling, not always giving; them, not you.
It’s anti-seductive, anti-persuasive.
Flip the script
What happened if you magnetized your message and offer instead?
What if you could make your point compellingly … and then let go and signal that it’s entirely up to people whether they find themselves actually compelled by your message and decide to call you?
And even more so: What if that could happen while you sleep?
How would that show up in your daily experience?
Roughly like this: Without you doing any active outreach, someone actively books a call and reaches out to you – already pre-qualified, pre-educated and pre-compelled by a message that you have crafted weeks or months or years ago.
Mission pursuit gets easier: Digital leverage
That’s the purpose of a well-crafted, psychologcially aligned website.
The magic of digital marketing is that you craft once and yield results without further time investment – apart from expanding your digital mission hub and building additional capacity, of course.
As we increasingly move away from people leverage (hiring people to do work for you), the digital age allows us to increasingly move toward digital leverage. This is a website or even a whole digital ecosystem working for you, full-time.
This is built once, kept online for an adequate monthly fee, providing a constant tailwind to your mission as soon as you know how to get the right people to your page.
This can be done without investing a fortune into digital bells and whistles and bending over backwards to dazzle people with fancy code artistry at the cost of your page speed – a really bad idea.
Less, as so often, actually is more.
If you’re aligned with where evolution, an awakening society and the world at large wants to move, you don’t need so much glitter and acrobatics. Getting it right for regenerative missions means sticking to first principles of psychology and digital infrastructure – and first principles are not nearly as costly as the fancy but entirely optional stuff.
Let’s see what you have to focus on for this to happen.
Everything ripples out from clear intention: Define goals
Client requests sometimes come in with baggage to sink before we can sail.
They already show great attention to detail, a long wish list of design requirements, features, functions, forms, and the glitter we already called into question. In most cases, however, the goals to be pursued with the page are not yet defined.
There’s more noise than signal.
Take a step back to consider:
What’s actually required to pursue the mission and move the needle?
Who to talk to?
To spark which action exactly?
To have which positive effect on business development?
A lever is not so fabulously useful if it moves the wrong rock.
The next list you write can look very different. It’s often less, but with a better sense of direction and a higher likelihood of actually making your website work for you just the way you intended.
The clearer your mind and intention on which results to pursue, the more this can translate into a sense of resonance for the right visitors. Burn dead wood to your page, confidently unclutter, and move people into an almost meditative state of minimalist impressions and getting the point.
Turn your website into a place of clarity and calm, with little noise to drown your signal.
Marketing is not that different from strategy: Tell the future
A website launch or relaunch is not the time to think small.
This is not an update or snapshot of the present, this is a time to anticipate the future to the best of your ability. Now, the best way to tell the future is to create it. The best way to create it is to lead with a compelling storyline – you’ll find supporters, clients, customers and funders.
Instead of sticking to what you’re doing today or even narrating the company history in fine detail, aim beyond: What’s a future story that you can envision, work to realize, and invite people to join?
I you don't, you lose pretty much the whole potential that a web presence truly poses.
The most surefire way to set yourself apart and surround yourself with a sense of uniqueness is to tell a story of the future that noone else tells exactly like this – not from this perspective, not with these nuances that can only be drawn from your expertise.
On this note, aiming at tomorrow might also fall short a bit – probably tell a story of a beautiful day after tomorrow.
Walk through the open door: Connect to minds with story
Nothing connects to the human minds like story.
Trends can be made of different fabrics – pointless, and deeply aligned with idea those time has come.
Storytelling is the latter.
It’s an echo from our past.
They are how we ensured survival, and how we conveyed wisdom as we were sitting around campfires. It’s a pattern that has been wired into us for probably millions of years, first transmitted with grunts and gestures, then increasingly finer language.
Today, storytelling is available to you to get across your mission and give context to whatever you’re up to in an automatically uncluttered way.
When told correctly, stories are what:
Identifies the hero
Identifies a villain and priority challenge
Positions you as a guide
Provides a plan and shows a path toward a solution
Identifies which catastrophe to avoid
Effortlessly bysteps pushyness as it does all of the above and cuts your narrative down to the essence
It’s all built into the basic architecture of story that seems tailor-cut for regenerative missions. They’re typically built on systems thinking capacity and a complex understanding of the world, have a lot to say, and actually have a new story of the future to tell.
Through millennia over millennia of neural pattern conditioning, we have long prepared a way out of modern crises with our storytelling habits of the past.
We passed ourselves a ball, we just have to catch it now.
PS: If you want to catch the ball and turn your mission into a story – and bring about 20-30 minutes – you can run through a free guidance survey here.
Build robustly: Pick state-of-the-art digital infrastructure
When picking what to build your platform and digital mission hub on, pick wisely.
Look toward these factors:
Intuitive Interfaces / Accessibility Do you want to be dependend on outside help – endlessly? I didn’t think so, so make sure that what is built empowers you, not binds you.
Augmentability / Modularity How easy is it to plug new things in? Ensure that you can expand and augment the seed of your digitalission hub without hassle as your contribution starts resonating and reaches more people.
Code / Page Speed Bloated code slows things down and makes people bounce. Modern page builders have reduced the code load by an order of magnitude, making the result both more robust and lighter on its feet.
Make sure that adding new features and extensions is like snapping on a new puzzle piece.
Building your website on a solid foundation relieves you of later headaches. Instead of chasing a full-fledged system from the start, begin with strong bones and only then add muscle.
Play on the right side of the law: Legal alignment
Putting the head in the sand only really works for highly skilled ostriches.
Kicking the can down the road will only catch up with you later. It’s a headache, it’s tiring and often unnecessarily bloated, and you might even have a hard time trusting that ‘legal’ means ‘right’, but whatever makes you stand up on your hind legs – get back down on your front legs and get it out of the way now.
It’s like exercise, or raw celery: Choose the pain now and be free of pain later.
PS: If our own prime source on this wasn’t a brilliant German guy, we’d link it here.
Become visible with minimal effort: Basic on-page SEO
You might not plan to run an extensive SEO-strategy that can wash organic traffic towards you for years to come, but do the Pareto 20%.
That means to do basic on-page SEO – to tweak all the readily accessible fields like meta-descriptions, slugs, alt tags and the rest to signal search engines everything they need to get what you’re doing and make you appear under some keywords.
There’s good guidance on this for free online, and we’ll publish on this soon (the legal stuff aswell). If you want to stay in the loop on these topics and digital marketing for regenerative players overall, sign up to our newsletter.
Doing only the mere minimum won’t wash you all the way to rank #1 for anything unless you’re going super niche or local, but it gives you a moderate exposure to precise search intent around your more specific keywords.
We did this (and only this) for a friend and later client as an off-hand contribution to his bright work. Without any further effort, this got him to rank #1 for two on-topic local searches and even to rank #6 for the whole umbrella category he was operating in – a huge win when measured against the effort spent.
Psychological sequencing: The nucleus of digital communication
One message, one page, one call to action.
A focused, psychologically aligned landing page can often outperform a sprawling and rambling multi-page site. Having a whole cosmos of misaligned pages doesn't necessarily mean a broader reach. Narrowing your focus on one landing page and truly getting that one right can supercharge your message's impact.
Landing pages are a prime example for the modular approach, as they can:
Stand on their own feet In fact, you can build a whole business around landing pages entirely
Be plugged into any already present website Whether it’s (1) your core offer laid out in detail, (2) a newsletter sign-up sold like you would sell a paid product, or (3) a course that you have just crafted and that adds a dimension to the rest of your online presence, yet needs individual communication
Add an element to your business?
Craft a landing page
Bring it online
Make people find it through socials posts, blog articles and newsletter content
Now, to include the psychological sequence from problem and solution all the way to guarantee and capacity limits that your page could sport (to make it actually effective) – that would explode beyond the scope of this article.
You can find an extensive journey through arrow-shape landing page sharpening here.
Awaken tribal memories: Build a relationship
While your storyline can be endlessly compelling, it can’t replace our subconscious rules around trust.
To build trust, we require repeated exposure – our tribal memories demand it: Whoever we have around us more often, we can judge better. The larger the exposure to potential slips of character, without a slip of character, shows us that we’re building a real, robust connection that we can rely on.
This is a pretty pressing pattern, because trust lightly put once wasn’t ‘losing a few thousand bucks’, but potential death. The stakes were higher back then, but our instincts and subsonscious playbooks haven’t fully adapted to modern times.
We still need repeated contacts to reduce scepticism and build trust.
Allow people to do so.
This is where we go from your website core toward a surrounding ecosystem, but it has to be added to make this article worth your time.
Give your peeps:
Next steps Like a content base to read into or a bunch of videos to watch on your offer and philosophy
Transitional calls to action Like downloading educational resources on your work before committing to a deeper relationship and binding contract
Free courses Like a short eMail sequence on a specific topic, educating people on a topics for free across a sequence of about 3-10 mails automatically sent over a week or two after sign-up – connect this to your newsletter
Newsletter content In terms of the Pareto Principle, the probably highest impact habit you can build for your business: Sending out regular, high-quality newsletter content, and having a way to consistently invite people to sign up for it
They’ll help you build a relationship and satisfy one of the deepest parts of our nature: Repeated exposure to reduce scepticism and build trust.
Now all that’s left is you actually deserving said trust – can’t skip that part.
The impact of a website is determined at the planning stage
The website concept is where the results are prepared.
If poor work is done here, or too little attention paid, this first underinvestment will ripple out into everything else. Whatever happens here is then merely translated into a deployed website – but this stage is where only about 10-20% of the time are spent.
The Pareto Principle – this is where you’ll find it.
If the journey turns out to be disappointing with your knees hurting, then that wasn’t the mountain's fault or the hike itself - it’s the shoes you bought and how you tied them. It doesn't matter if you’re planning your first or next website, do the upfront work.
This usually results in a (vastly) different page structure than you would have come up with in a first, mindless sketch. The result will be far more impactful down the road, yet won't be any harder or more expensive to implement.
Ready to roll – happy crafting.
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