I’m sure your company has a website.
If not, you need to make sure that you get one as soon as possible. Websites are not an optional marketing tool anymore. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to gain customers and build your company.
Many sites are used just to host information and host contact info. While these things are good and helpful, what is your site really for? Ever wonder why you spend so much money on developing and keeping your site up to date?
All businesses have an opportunity to utilize their website to grow their business. Many under-utilize the potential it has.
So, how do you make a site that really accomplishes your business goals?
Here are a few key things to think about.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE... LIKE, REALLY KNOW THEM
Seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Well, not really.
Many businesses could tell me what their customers are like. For a Surface Prep dealer, they would tell me all about the different types of customers they have, what equipment and brands they like and what is important to them. But when I start to ask, what are their business challenges, how are they searching for the services you offer online, and other questions, the confusion starts.
You see, we need to know our customers inside and out. If you don’t go through a process of creating buyer persona’s and getting a really in-depth understanding of your market, your site will lack direction and won't be very relevant.
And when it comes to SEO your keywords won’t reflect the true market you are trying to attract to our site. This an result in wasted time and money on things like Paid Search.
When we first started digging into our SEO about 2 years ago, I discovered that some of the main keywords we were ranking for had nothing to do with the customers we actually wanted to reach. This resulted in almost 80% of our ads, being irrelevant. Once we dug down to discover who our true prospects were and how they were searching for the types of products we offer, we had much more success.
Once you know your audience, your site will have a direction for keywords, as well as type of language, images and benefits to utilize.
Another reason to study who your prospects are, is to make sure your site pushes the same type of communication that your sales team is using. If you are a Surface Prep company who is bidding on jobs, you want people coming to your site to have the same “sales pitch” reiterated so there is consistency in the communication.
If you can get your marketing and sales language working together, your website will make your sales team come across as trustworthy and build that customer relationship that much easier. There is nothing worse than having a sales person say one thing, to get contradicted by a marketing message.
HAVE AN EXCEPTIONAL DESIGN
If there is one thing that is so often overlooked on many small business sites, it’s UX (User Experience). Design has so much to do with how people view your company and navigate around your site. If you don’t spend the time and money on a site that looks the way you want to be seen in the market, the information you have will get passed over and become ineffective, no matter how good it is.
So, what does it mean to have a good website design?
One of the main elements goes back to knowing your market. Different types of design will appeal to different markets. If you’re working with a web designer, make sure you ask and listen to their opinion on what would be best for your prospects. Put aside your preferences, Remember you’re building a site to engage the customer, not yourself. Don’t let your opinion get in the way of giving the market what they are looking for.
KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. One of my favorite sayings.
Simple doesn’t mean not enough. People feel the need to stick as much information in one area, without many images or headlines. Many businesses want to communicate way too much information in a small period of time. The reality is, very few people read copy text. Only the ones who are extremely interested. Using big, bold headlines and images is the most effective way to get important info across.
Another reason design is so important is because it has so much to do with trust. When a new prospect lands on your site and they see and out of date page, that is very confusing to navigate, do you think that leaves a positive impression?
I don’t. When you have a site that looks very professional, your brand gains so much trust right off the bat. Trust translates to opportunities.
This week analyze how you engage with websites. Ask yourself a few questions as you do:
- How do I feel about this company based on their website?
- What are the main things I am reading?
- How long am I staying on each page?
- Would I want to do business with these people based on their site?
I think you will realize very quickly that good design is not just about having things look good, but it is about gaining trust with your market.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO PUT valuable INFO out THERE
Actions that come from a place of fear are rarely the right ones. When many companies begin to build websites and publish case studies, and blogs to drive traffic and engagement, they are often afraid of what they may be giving away to their competition or even their customer.
The reality is, the information you are so dearly protecting is probably already out there.
Take control of the information your prospects are seeing, and help to engage them in a new way that actually invests in them and their business in new ways. This will gain your brand trust and authority when it comes to SEO, as well as when your customers are making buying decisions.
Make sure you are writing information that is relevant and valuable to your customers. So often we want to write content that fits us, not our prospects.
Think about the things that your market is looking for or the help they may need.