I like speaking in plain language and avoiding technical blah blah. So please follow along with an analogy.
Imagine that you own a jewelry store. And, let’s imagine that you have a salesman named Jeff. Jeff stands outside your door with foul body odor, ripped clothes and tells potential customers that you sell tacos.
Is there something wrong with this picture? Does it sound somewhat crazy?
Of course it does.
But, believe it or not, the example I just gave parallels the level of professionalism and effectiveness of most websites on the internet today. Your website is a 24-hour salesman, representing your organization day in and day out. He’s either getting you sales, or he is sending potential customers away and ruining your reputation.
So I took it upon myself to provide some tips to help you review your website, which is one your key marketing tools.
Before I go on, keep the following in mind from the Hubbard Administrative Technology.
“Marketing is simply the techniques by which one creates want, enables it to be satisfied, or satisfies it, and collects recompense for it. This is my definition.”1—L. Ron Hubbard
As your website is one of your key marketing assets, I’m going give you three key areas to focus on. And by focusing on them, you’ll be able to collect recompense for your online marketing efforts.
All too often, I see people negating the value of the design of websites. They think “If I build it, they will come.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
The focus of the design is to help people understand a) that you have a credible business and b) know that you are THE company they want to do business with.
There is an attraction to strong design and it’s a critical part of any website.
Mediocre doesn’t cut it today. If it ever did.
Step back and look at your website from the standpoint of a potential prospect. Really look at it through their eyes and see if the design is strong enough that they think “I want to do business with this company”.
Now look at the websites for the top competitors in your field and compare your website to theirs. There are usually some pretty good ones in each industry, people who are really playing the game. This can give you some ideas of areas to improve on yours. You’re obviously not trying to simply copy them, but you can learn a lot from doing this in terms of specific changes to make.
Take the time to get these changes done, or a full website makeover if that is required, so that your design truly stands out. You want someone coming to your website and thinking “I want to do business with this company”.
Content is the text and supporting imagery on a website. When reviewing your websites content, again you must put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer.
Sometimes people provide too little content, but it is actually much more common that someone has far too much content. Sometimes it’s a matter of the way the content is organized (or not organized). People shouldn’t feel like they are reading an encyclopedia.
The visitors to your site are going to need certain information in order to make an actual buying decision.
Again this goes back to them deciding:
a. You have the right product to solve their problem and
b. You are the right provider of that product or service.
When I talk to companies about their successful sales pitches, the ones that work for them to get sales over and over again, typically they aren’t very long. There are certain things they go over and certain buttons that really get someone interested.
On the home page of your site you want to focus on just enough information that people know they have arrived to the right site and are interested in knowing more.
It’s like if you meet someone at a networking event and they start with “Hi, my name is ______” and then quickly jump into their entire life history. It’s too much to know right up front.
Get someone interested and committed just enough to want to know more.
On the next pages you link to from your home page, provide just enough information on the pages that they know you are the company to do business with. Build credibility so they feel confident in you as a provider.
You can link to further detailed information for the people that want to dive into great detail, but don’t put everyone through the same pitch, allow it to be tailored with the content you provide.
No direction = no flow for a visitor. Too often you will see sites that are just a bunch of pages. There wasn’t any thought put into how someone is going to flow from one part of your site to another.
A website, just like any other form of communication, flows. It’s going to go in some direction.
Think of it like an airport.
If you get off a plane in an airport and there is no logical path to follow, how long is it going to take you to figure out where to go? How frustrated will you be at the end?
Now imagine an airport that tells you exactly where baggage claim is or another terminal. It has very clear signage with great direction.
You have to have a logical flow on the information you want to provide and know the objective at each point.
When you can get that worked out and then direct people to the most important information or actions you want them to take, you will have a far more effective website.
Your website should be a source of consistent sales and PR for your business. Properly marketed, it can be one of the pillars of your sales and delivery.
And if it isn’t, then review it against the above. Like a good salesman, is it inviting customers in and giving them the confidence they need to give you their money?
Or maybe its like Jeff (who’s spilling coffee on his shirt as you read this) sending potential customers out the door in search of a business with the professionalism to fill their needs.
1 Quote from an article of 5 July, 1979 (published on 16 December, 2000) entitled “Notes on a Marketing Text.”