If you have an interest in business development, entrepreneurship, and/or marketing, chances are, you’ve tuned into ABC’s Shark Tank at some point in the last decade.
For years Shark Tank has captivated viewers as they showcase entrepreneurs vying for an opportunity to grow their business with the help of an investing “Shark.” Entering as small start-ups with some early success, businesses share their heartwarming stories of humble beginnings, noble causes, false starts, grit, determination and perseverance to get to the point that they’re at when they walk through the boardroom doors.
All for one goal: to get an offer that will advance them toward the next stage of their business, or better yet, become a thriving success. And it’s understandable why so many businesses bring their big ideas and big dreams to Shark Tank—the show has kickstarted plenty of fan favorite, innovative products, small and large. I mean, we’ve got Shark Tank to thank for the Scrub Daddy, Squatty Potty and Comfy, but far more frequently, participants walk away empty-handed, following the Sharks’ dreaded catch phrase:
“And for that reason, I’m out.”
You might be wondering by now, why are we waxing poetic on a marketing blog about Shark Tank?
Here’s why: the same marketing principles and presentation tactics that the Sharks are looking for on the show also apply to digital marketers working to engage their target audiences online.
And, in fact, turn the pressure cooker up another dial, because where the hopeful entrepreneurs on Shark Tank have a matter of minutes to make a winning case for their product, studies show an organization’s website or marketing channel only has mere seconds to compel visitors and convince them to bite.
When a potential sale, new lead, or new client is on the line, it’s important that you have a website and digital marketing strategy that works seamlessly and captures user attention by showing them what they want to see.
Below, we’re breaking down how you can take pointers from what Shark Tank's investors look for to make sure your marketing efforts stand out and, most importantly, CONVERT.
Energetic presence, visually appealing design.
We’ve all heard the cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover.” However, with the 15-second rule of how long someone is likely to stay on your site, you’ve got to be sure you’re showing your best.
Think of the appearance of your website, social channels, and marketing materials as your first impression. If you have a website that wows, someone is more likely to stick around.
Inversely, an ill-designed website could be the biggest thing keeping you from new customers or clients. Think of the times the Shark Tank investors appreciated the idea of an invention but bowed out because they found the product’s presentation unattractive. When someone discovers your website, it’s the first impression you’re presenting of your product or service, and a representation of your business. The look and feel of your site should reflect the energy, tone, and nature of your brand.
TL;DR? Don’t skimp on homepage design and visuals that match your mission and message. It’s the first important step in increasing your audience engagement and, subsequently, your business. Be sure your site’s outward appearance is as impressive as we know your organization is.
Prepare your presentation with strategic language and content flow.
Just as you wouldn’t show up to present your idea to the Sharks on national television unprepared, be sure each page and part of your website and overall marketing strategy is prepared to meet potential consumers where they discover you.
Your Sharks—potential buyers, that is—will have questions; be sure you have content to clearly answer those questions.
Consider the learning curve and decision making process for a user that is exploring your content. Try to find a sweet spot that combines a logical approach from their perspective and the priority points you want to be sure they take away from the getgo—is it your mission, your goal, how your product will answer their prayers?. Use the movement of your website, strategic calls to action, and map out a solid user journey to guide potential visitors to the pages on your site that you want them to find.
Basically, tell your story in a way that makes them want to be part of it.
Employ smooth function across various screen sizes and browsers.
Functionality is key on Shark Tank, and the same applies to your digital presence. Is your website designed in a way that makes it easy to view and use from any device, any browser, anywhere? This is an increasingly vital step in creating a digital presence people will respond positively to. More and more people are accessing websites from mobile devices rather than desktop screens, so if all your organization has to offer isn't able to be experienced on-the-go, it's time to make the switch to a mobile-first, responsive design.
Sometimes participants on Shark Tank have samples to share with the Sharks. Whether it’s a tool to use, clothing to wear, or food to taste, it’s really important that it lives up to expectations. If the Shark doesn’t like the flavor or finds the tool to be too complicated or not useful, it doesn’t matter what the numbers suggest – they’re not going to invest in it.
The proof is in the pudding. (Or it’s not!)
On your website and related digital channels, it’s vital that the user experience is smooth and doesn’t make a poor impression. Even if your site works 99% of the time, if they run into hurdles making a donation, it could leave a bad taste in their mouth that may associate to your brand as a whole. You risk not only losing that one-time donation, but the lifetime value of the donor.
On the flip side, tools that add convenience and enhance their experience will make a positive impression, and over time, their cumulative experiences will make them a fan of your brand and loyal supporter.
Interactive web features and partnership.
With a well-designed website that offers interaction from visitors, you’ve got on your hands a win-win situation.
Get potential customers involved with your pitch or product by prompting them to engage with your site in more ways than just taking in the copy and imagery. Offer them downloads that let them experience your expertise or offerings for themselves, forms to fill out, mailing lists to join, videos to watch, and other exciting modes of interaction. Then, track that interaction to see exactly where users on your site are clicking.
Emotional appeal and cause promotion.
Why does what you do matter? How are you making people’s lives better? What’s your story behind your “stuff”? We’ve seen it time and time again on Shark Tank, and any reality TV competition for that matter. Your product is good, your presentation is good, but what’s the why?
In 2022, potential consumers value more than ever your organization’s story, and what it’s doing to make the world a better place. Your marketing plan and website should clearly showcase your mission, so consumers know what they’re investing in.
Distinguish yourself from your competitors with help from a top-notch marketing agency.
When you only have 15 seconds to make someone say, “I’m in!”, be sure your website and marketing efforts are designed and created to convert. Want expert advice?