Our Client - The Oaks in Petaluma, CA.

The above is a screenshot from our new client’s website, TheOaksDementia.com, a skilled nursing facility caring for Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients in Petaluma, California. So far, we’ve revamped the website and migrated it to WordPress, provided copy editing, are hoping to add some great photos soon, and are about to begin on our Local Search Marketing work for the client to ensure that their business is listed in the right local business indexes.

While working with this great client, I’ve been reflecting on how important it is for local business owners to develop a one-on-one business relationship with their web designer/Local SEO/marketer, especially when the business is in one of the caring professions. The professionals you hire have got to understand and care about what your business does – this is a world apart from the experience your business will have if you go with one of the giant, packaged web design mega businesses.

We’ve all seen bright and brassy websites and sales landing pages where the calls to action are a mile of pixels high and screaming off the page in rocket red or neon blue, but there are projects that require a subtler touch than this because the people visiting them don’t want their attention ‘grabbed’. The websites’ visitors may be coping with a stressful situation such as a serious illness, seeking care for a loved elder, needing support for a sensitive problem or experiencing grief. I’m not going to link to anything here, but in my work on the web, I’ve visited the websites of doctors, therapists, elder care facilities and other sensitive service providers that I felt lacked an empathetic welcome.

Marketers, including Internet Marketers, live in a world of inspire, influence, persuade, sell, sell, sell! In very recent times, the conversation is changing on the web, away from sell, sell, sell, to give, give, give. Marketers and business owners alike are coming to realize that building relationships and a fine reputation are worth more in the long haul than building links. I like this trend, and the subtle empathy for human nature that underpins it. Companies that give the most receive the most back, and when you, as a business owner, are searching for experts to help you present your company on the Internet, you need to hire people who are going to understand what you’ve got to give to the world.

Maybe you have professional help to give to elders, or families, or people with back pain or vision problems or matters of faith. Your website, your marketing, needs to reach out and show what you have to give. You can do it with fireworks and giant font sizes, like a used car dealership, or you can do it with a softer voice. Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and ask one simple question:

 

What Would Help Me Most?
 

Once you’ve determined what will help the visitor most, you know exactly what needs to be on your website to reach out to him.

When I’m working with a client like The Oaks, I am mindfully aware of their typical visitor throughout the entire process of speaking with the client, developing their design, editing and optimizing their content, writing calls to action, writing their Google+ Local page business description, choosing their categories and every other step involved in the work. I think about how I would feel if I needed to find Dementia Care for someone I loved, and I work to create something that demonstrates the trustworthiness, empathy and qualified helpfulness I would be seeking.

It’s a privilege to offer web support to businesses that support other people when they need it most. A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work. You’ve got to care about your clients and their clients if you want to create a message that rings true. I really believe this.