Is Your Business Website Failing to Deliver Customers and Sales?
No matter what business you are in, if you have a website and believe that it should be a benefit and deliver prospects or sales to the business, then it’s a disappointment when it does not. It probably does not matter what platform it is on, where it is hosted, or the software used. The problems come from a lack of focus on what your prospects and customers are seeking online and how to attract them to the site and then fulfill their wishes.
Navigation that Gets Them There
Too often all marketing for a website is focused on delivering visitors to the home page. That is another item in this discussion, but for now, what will the visitor do when they get there? Too often they have arrived from a search engine and expect to find content on the arrival page (landing page) that satisfies the query in their search. When they arrive at the home page, the content they seek may be somewhere on the site, but it is not right there in front of them.
When they do not find the content they seek, too often they just click away, but some will look around at the page to see if there is anything there to direct them to what they wanted. The site navigation buttons, or links must be prominent and focus on the main products and services of the business. They should direct the visitor to their destination with no more than another couple of clicks. Any more than that and you can be certain that they are off to find another website with the information they want.
Landing Pages that Get the Job Done
When you place PPC, Pay Per Click, ads or other marketing around the Internet and on the social sites, you should not be directing everyone to the home page. They should be directed to a landing page created specifically to address a question or information point about your products and services. In other words, when they arrive from a marketing piece, post, or ad, they should arrive at a landing page created for and focused on the topic of the link that sent them there.
An example would be a Facebook post about how one of your products or services solves a specific problem of your customers. The landing page should focus only on that product or service and information about how and why it is the right solution for the site visitor. This is not only good for the visitor, who quickly finds the information they seek, but also for the search engines, because the page content is focused on one relevant topic.
Calls to Action and Premium Content or Offers
Visitors, particularly first-time visitors to a website, are more suspects than prospects, as you know nothing about them. Sure, your analytics tools may tell you something about the demographics, general location, and possibly even if they are male or female. However, you cannot try to sell them something if you do not know who they are and how to contact them. There must be some other mechanism on your website to encourage them to give you their contact information.
This is not a slam dunk, as people like their Internet anonymity. You must offer them some value in return for their contact info. “Sign my guest book” is NOT going to do it. They will rarely tell you who they are just because you ask. You want to entice them with more detailed information about their original topic of search, a special discounting offer, free consulting for services, or some other premium offer.
One example expanding on the previous mention of a product or service that solves a common problem would be to offer a case study via email. The study would present real-life examples of previous customers, their problems, and how they found your product or service of value. Another example might be local statistics that back up a need for certain services and how people’s lives or businesses are impacted by the problem. Everybody loves statistics.
Follow-up is Critical – But with Care
Unless the prospect is placing an online order at first contact, following up with them once you have their contact information is critical. Particularly with longer sales cycles of many days or weeks, too much contact too soon, or of the wrong kind can kill the relationship before the sale.
Depending on the timeline for your product or service from contact to sale, you may be doing email follow-up. Do not send too many emails too quickly, and make sure that every email you send should provide more value, rather than just a sales pitch. Provide links to other related information they may value. Offer your phone number for questions.
On the phone number subject, if you have a call to action with a form, you can have a field for their phone number as well as their email address. However, make the phone number field optional, not required. Then if they provide their number, it is a subtle hint that they are open to a phone call to get the relationship started.
Use these basic principles in your examination of your website, the content, your calls to action, and how you follow up with prospects to turn them into customers.
No sources, all my experience building sites and writing for real estate professionals on how to market online.