An all-too-often overlooked aspect of a business’ sales funnel is the website. There’s so often a sense of “Well, the one we have is working, so why change it?” But quite how much the current site is working is usually, at best, questionable. At worst, a downright delusion.
What most business owners fail to see is that their website can be bringing in the same value (if not more) than a full time, well-paid, commissioned-to-the-hilt salesperson. All for a fraction of the cost.
We live in the digital age, whether this is something that you’d like to accept or not, it is a fact. 90% (probably more) of people who do business with you are going to first check you out online. Your LinkedIn profile, your company Facebook page, your Twitter account and your website.
Position your website well and it can make a massive impact. Consider your website, consider its messages, consider it from a user perspective, not just your own, and you’ll start to see it paying dividends. Some companies, (some is no small number) rely almost entirely on their websites for lead generation. Their sites perform well on Google and once the traffic reaches them, they’re full of ways to push that person into buying from them.
Your site could be doing the same.
How can this magical scenario come into being?
The first step is acceptance.
Accept the fact that if your website is about three years old or older, it’s probably looking a bit dated and a bit tired, its messages are likely out of date and it’s probably not performing as well as it should be.
The second step is, don’t assume you know best.
Yes, you know your customers, you know the kind of businesses you’d like to be getting through your doors. But you probably don’t know the best ways to make a website into a conversion tool. You cannot make the assumption that because you don’t like a particular element on some websites you’ve seen, that this means it should never be on any website anywhere – it just might work for your potential customers.
The third step, don’t be afraid to have a complete rethink.
Example; if you’ve been a Facebook user for a while, you’ll have noticed some fairly drastic changes since its conception. You’ll probably have seen the layout, newsfeed, prominent features and calls to action change monumentally since it first began – and this is the second-most used website IN THE WORLD! Their site IS working, it IS getting them customers and closing sales but they still make wholesale changes to improve it.
What are the secrets then?
Well, I wouldn’t call them secrets, per se, they are more like oft-forgotten rules.
Rule 1 – Simplicity
Now, by simplicity we aren’t talking about boring. A quote often attributed to Einstein states “Anyone can make something more complex, it takes genius to make something simple” – it’s been re-hashed a thousand times from its original wording most likely, but the core message remains the same.
Simplicity is about taking something that might be complex, lets imagine you are in aerospace engineering for example, and making it simple for someone to navigate, understand and engage with. Because often, your customers are not experts in your field, but they need your expertise in a way they can get their heads around.
Rule 2 – Engagement
Engagement is the “interest factor” the tantalisation, the intangible something that draws someone in. Now it’s not really as mythical as all that, it is more about making something interesting to look at.
You know that people are lazy on the internet, you don’t need to be told that, if you click onto a website and you’re not engaged, drawn in or piqued by anything within a maximum of 10 seconds, you’re off.
Convention tells us you have approximately 3-5 seconds to capture someone when they land on your website. Something has to happen, something has to be there in their eyeline, right away to grab them. But it’s not enough to go for something engaging just above the fold on the home page and leave it at that. The same idea needs to be followed throughout the entire site, engagement keeps people looking, keeps them reading, keeps them on your site, the longer you keep them there, the better chance you have of converting them.
Rule 3 – Calls to action
So, imagine you’ve cracked the first two. The site is simple and easy to navigate, it’s engaging and interesting and keeping people looking. So, now what?
You need to make them DO something!
Your business, no matter what it does, will have a list of ideal ways you’d like to interact with the majority of your customers. So, your website needs to push them down that sales funnel.
Do you want them to call you? Put your number and ways to find your number in plenty of prominent places. Do you want them to email you? Put forms and email links in all the right places. Want them to buy/sign up right away through your website? Then make sure it’s very clear and simple and easy for them to find their own way to that.
Your calls to action are your website’s closers. Think of it like your salesperson, those calls to action are what they do when there moving the customer into a sale. The difference is, your website can make them convert themselves! No commission to pay, no salary to worry about. Even better, because THEY made the decision, it wasn’t a skilled seller that twisted their arm, they’re already more engaged with you, your company, your message and they’re already keen to use your services or buy from you.
They’re sold, and you haven’t even had to speak to them yet!
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