We look at a lot of web sites of quantum tech companies and notice several common problems we see in many of them. Many times we go to a web site and cannot figure out what this company is working on and what their overall strategy for success is. Your web site is your most important marketing vehicle. So in this vein, we are offering some points of advice to consider to make it as effective as possible.
Think About Who You Want to Reach with Your Message
When you create your web site, you need to think about what audiences you want to connect with and craft your message to reach them effectively. Many web sites should probably have as their prime targets 1) Potential customers, 2) Potential employees, and 3) Potential funders. We don’t recommend you target your web site for the 13 year old kid who is taking a break from a Nintendo game.
Skip the Hype
We see a lot of web site with message that say something like “Quantum computing will change the world and we will be at the forefront of making this happen”. The site might go on to talk about what applications might solved with quantum computing. It may even go on to start explaining the basics of what quantum superposition and quantum entanglement are and how quantum computers will gain advantage in the future over classical computers.
We believe that messages like these are wasted screen space. Although it may be personally satisfying to say that you are on a grand crusade to create something wonderful, from a business standpoint these type of statements have minimal impact. If you are indeed going after the prime targets of customers, employees, and funders that we mentioned above, they already know this stuff. You really want to impact your prime targets as quickly as possible and if they have to scroll down through all this basic material, you may lose them before they get to the interesting part.
State Clearly What Areas You are Focusing On
It is amazing, but I sometimes go to a new startups web site and cannot tell what quantum areas they are working in. They may have text that talks about quantum computing, quantum communications, and also quantum startups that hints they are working in all these areas. Sometimes, I look through a web site and can’t even tell if the company is a hardware or a software company! Saying that you are involved in all areas of quantum technology is a red flag to potential investors or customers because few believe that an unfocussed company will be successful. Companies working in too many areas will spread their resources too thin and never gain leadership in any one area.
State What Your Differential Advantage Will Be
The quantum tech area is becoming increasingly competitive with hundreds of companies participating in many different areas. It is likely that there will be other companies doing something that may look similar to yours. You need to clearly define why you will do it better than the other guys. In many cases, it will be some form of technical advantage. But in other cases, you may have other an advantage due to the backgrounds of your founders, industry partnerships, a distribution strategy or something else that the other guys don’t have. It is important to state this because it will support the argument that you will be a successful company and that people should work with you.
Provide Good Contact Information
Remember the purpose of a good web site is to have people from your prime targets get in touch with you to start a relationship. They can’t do this if they don’t know who to reach you. Our recommendation is to provide separate email address for different activities; e.g. Investors@xyz.com or Careers@xyz.com or Sales@xyz.com, etc.
Use Transport Layer Security (TLS) on Your Web Site
Most web site these days use TLS security which means that the communications between the user and the web site are encrypted. You can see this when the web address starts with HTTPS and there is a lock symbol on the browser’s address bar. The original internet did not use encryption and these web site addresses start with HTTP. Some web sites still do not use encryption, but Google and others recommend that all web site move to this newer standard. In fact, Google penalizes the search engine ranking of a web site if it does not use TLS encryption.
Given the security concerns associated with quantum computing, we think it is important for quantum web sites to demonstrate a certain level of technical sophistication and use the TLS encryption. We still see a few quantum web sites that don’t do this and this also can raise a red flag for a potential partner.
Consider Stealth Mode
If you have just joined an early startup and they haven’t finalized their roadmap or business plan and haven’t yet fully formed their strategy for success, you may want to hold off on putting too much on your web site prematurely. Waiting until you have a solid message to provide is much better than displaying a poor one earlier. They say that first impressions can last a long time and if a potential partner gets turned off by a poor web site it may take a longer time to convince them to relook at you later on. Even worse, if someone does check your web site periodically and sees fundamental changes in strategy or positioning every time they visit your site, it creates another red flag. You are much better off putting in a short message until you have solidified your plans that indicates you are in stealth mode and the viewer should check back later. However, even for stealth mode companies, we still recommend you put in good contact information because you never know who may want to reach you for a beneficial contact.
So these are some tips that we have to provide. We know that not everyone may agree with all the concepts stated above, but we think everyone would agree that what you show on your web site is important. Some companies do a very good job on their web site, but not all do. It is well worth your while to put significant effort into it and make it an effective vehicle to help you reach your business goals.
May 30, 2020