If you are wondering why your website is not your best marketing tool, then chances are, your website design needs some work.
Most people have heard other business owners say that a website is the best form of marketing, however few understand how or why this actually works.
Many businesses that currently experience a large volume of inbound enquiries from their website assume that their website is already as effective as it can be because it is performing.
This is not the case and I have seen numerous times, where by upgrading a website, we are able to yield 300% or even 400% more enquiries simply from an improved customer interaction and ease of use perspective.
Probably, the most important part to a website design is reducing the number of clicks that a client must take to understand what your business does and engage with you.
This does not mean that you want your website to be thin or content weak but it does mean that you need to get to the point quickly as website visitors prefer to get to their decided information as quickly as possible.
Treat your homepage as if it was your elevator pitch.
You want to described what it is your business does in as few words as possible to allow people to get an instant idea of what it is you do and how you work without reading pages and pages of content.
Then, you can support the homepage with an in depth set of information on each of the areas you mentioned.
Your homepage should also be designed to attract an interaction from the visitor. This can be done through a number of mechanisms but most successful is with a "free download" or a reason to contact. Simply having a “contact us” button is considered very weak and will only yield a very small amount of enquiries when compared to a legitimate reason that the customer can understand.
For example, a kitchen company might offer a price-list download or a "kitchen design checklist" download. This gives customers a soft way of interacting with you without committing to using your company or making formal contact.
By providing this entry level way for visitors to engage with your brand, you are obtaining some minimal information which usually includes email address, phone number and name, which can be used by your sales team to make contact with the client that you would have otherwise missed out on.
Simply waiting for clients to contact you is an expensive and slow way of securing leads and will generally only yield a very small result from people that are already interested in using you.
Most of the people that visit your website will not already know they want to use you. Therefore, the homepage should be designed to educate them on the benefits of using you with comparison to other providers in your field.
As simple checklist showing where you perform with comparison to competitors will provide a fast visual representation of your benefits that your visitors can quickly understand without too much reading.
Try to word your checklist in the shortest possible way so that people can quickly absorb the information rather than reading long sentences.
Another way of providing visitors with a feeling of security and assurance is by using a series of industry marks or logos that provide a quality appearance. For example, a "best price guarantee" or a "best quality guarantee" or a "money back guarantee" or even industry logos that the client may be familiar with will all add a sense of familiarity to the visitor.
Another feature of your homepage depending on the industry you are in is testimonials or case studies. However, it is best to avoid lengthy text in these areas; rather opt for a five-star system that clearly shows visitors how clients felt about you without necessarily having to read long-winded testimonials.
It is also good to give these testimonials the feeling of being real as many visitors assume that some testimonials could be fabricated. To do this, it is recommended that you use real photos of people or at least first names and suburbs to make the information appear genuine.
Another great way of making people feel comfortable with your business quickly is by providing short bursts of information using headings. Headings are a fantastic method of separating the homepage into core areas that the costumer can get their head around piece by piece rather than grouping large concepts together in traditional "about us" type structures.
It is also important that you follow some basic layout standards with respect to your website. Having a "contact us" button in the top right-hand corner is recommended as that has been the best-practice format for laying out a website for several decades.
Probably the most powerful method of attracting enquiry on your site is to give the customer an understanding of the process they are about to take and ensuring that process sounds simple and easy to understand. A company that can described the process that customers are about to take is perceived by customers as being organised and in control and therefore trustworthy and reliable.
Try using a diagram to show the simple flow your customers will take once they contact you. Use step 1, step 2, step 3 style of approach so the customers can visualise the working relationship they are about to engaged in.
Another great method for attracting an enquiry on your website is to use the marketing concept of comparative reasoning. This can be done by positioning several of your products and their prices so that one or multiple of the products seem like very good value. This could be done by using a special on a homepage or something that will make the client feel as though the deal is "too good not to enquire about".
Here, you can have a "download information sheet" or "download discount card", which will again promote the customer to engage with your business.
Another successful method of obtaining enquiries through your website is to offer a series of buttons laid out in the same order throughout the entire website. These three buttons could be, for example, enquire now, book a free consultation and download info kit. By laying these three buttons out in exactly the same order, multiple times on a page, it tells the client continuously that they have three options of engaging with you and subconsciously, it provides the client with the decision making process which they cannot help but engage with.
Ultimately, they will select the decision that provides them with the least amount of commitment while also feeling as though they are doing their due-diligence on your business as an informed buyer or customer. Therefore, most of the people who visit your website will select the "download brochure" button or a similar button of your choosing.
You want to try to separate your customers into three groups,
- 1: Ready to buy now
- 2: Ready to buy later
- 3: Never going to buy
By separating customers into these groups, you can provide information that suits each of these customers.
Those that were "never going to buy" are still a valuable source of referral and still worth your time to educate on your product for a long-term branding purpose sufficient to allow them to share your message or your business’ purpose with others if they ask.
Those that are "ready to buy now" are looking for the queues to purchase which include price, a phone number, your physical location, a discount or fast assurance that if they make a decision to proceed with you, this could be undone later or a guarantee for them against their losses.
For those that are "looking to purchase in the near future" but are not ready to purchase now, these people are either unsure on the process and therefore believe it to be harder that it is OR being driven by fear and require a thorough explanation of the process to ensure that they do not make a mistake. These people are also perfectly suited to receive ongoing communication from your business and therefore, it is important to have an in depth knowledge centre on your website to point these people back to with questions that they might have and to also lead from your marketing, your newsletters or your automated email correspondence links back to the website about different topics of interest to put these people at rest and ensure that one day, they convert into a sale.
There are number of other things that your website requires to ensure that it gains traffic and continues to convert adequately.
These things include:
- Searching optimisation
- PDF documents that clients can download
- Forms for clients to fill out
- Pricelists, catalogues, and other sales tools
- Webinars that clients can watch in their own time
- Photo galleries that allow clients to peruse your work
- Videos that allow clients to get educated
- Animations that clearly describe the process of engaging with you or your benefits
- A blog which can provide detailed information on specific parts of your business
- Case studies or testimonials that can provide clients with assurance
All of these things and more can be provided on your website to allow those researching your product to access the information they are looking for quickly. It is important though not to provide too much access to this information without securing the potential customers' email address and phone number.
One technique that many websites used is to "gate" or protect the information with a contact form or enquiry form. One strategy is to incorporate all such information as a download or where it is simply a page on the website, position it as if it is a download to allow people to put in their details prior to accessing it.
This will give you a higher conversion rate in terms of traffic-to-lead ratio and will ensure that you create a strong marketing engine to generate massive enquiries rather than simply a large amount of traffic.
While it is probably obvious, it is critical that your website looks and feels consistent and well designed to match your branding. Although the average person is not a branding expert, they are still naturally trained in what is an acceptable format for your business to be presented as. They have seen other businesses in your field before and they could be in the process of comparing you against others. Therefore, it is critical that your business presents in a way that they expect to see it.
Some industries require industry leaders to look cheaper or more affordable than competitors whereas in other industries, businesses perform better if they are represented as being superior or a higher quality.
Take a moment to sit down and decide how your customers want to perceive you.
Are your customers looking for the best in the business or the best deal in business?
Are your customers looking for fast or are they looking for done at the right speed to ensure they get the quality they desire?
Are your customers looking for big, bright and colourful or sleek, black and white?
Think about where your business sits in your industry and think about where your customers would prefer it to sit.
Go looking around the internet at your competitors' businesses and see which websites you feel would communicate best with you target market. Remember, do not design a website that you like; design a website that matches your customers' wants and needs and ensure that you offer enough engagement to allow your customers to quickly understand what is your business does and engage in a way that offers least commitment to the customer while allowing them to feel as though they are doing the correct amount of due-diligence on your product to ensure that they proceed as a paying customer.
Good luck with your website. Let me know if you want an intro to a Web Design Company that does all of this and more.
LMNT provides on-the-money resources to those people most passionate about success in every aspect of their life.