Getting Your Website To Work
Even in the desert ...
Posted on: 11/03/2013 By: Ali Burden-Blake
So you finally got round to setting up a website! Go you! Or maybe you had one built for you way back when you realised that every business was going to need an Internet presence and you've been happy with it ever since ...
is your website targeting the camels or the people?
But here's the thing; just having a web presence these days is not good enough. Your website needs to do some heavy lifting if you're going to capture and hold anyone's attention long enough to start a business relationship and nurture that relationship into a sale eventually.
Your website is going to be, or has been, a substantial investment; whether in time or in money (or in some cases both!), so in my eyes it needs to work fairly hard to bring you a decent return on that investment. Gone are the days of your website just being a pretty brochure for your business, it HAS to be part of your marketing strategy.
Your home page alone needs to have some fundamental things on it to help make the most of your outlay and to bring in new clients:
Contact Details - Your contact details, minimum your phone number, needs to be up front, up top and glaringly obvious. Don't hide it in the 'contact us' page, people don't want to have to work hard to find out how to call you. Make sure your telephone number is above the fold (before anyone has to scroll down), and that it's on every page after the home page too.
Newsletter - a 'sign-up for our newsletter box', to collect email addresses from customers and potential customers. If you're serious about growing your database of potential customers and putting YOU back in charge of getting in touch then you might want to consider giving something away in return for their email address - like an eBook, a voucher or other small freebie. People tend to be quite precious about giving out their email address these days so make it an attractive prospect.
Testimonials - try and get one or two onto your home page, these days your potential customers operate very much on a social proof basis. If you have testimonials from happy customers right up front they will mean a whole heap more to prospective customers than what you say about yourself. To go the whole nine yards you'll want to have a photo of the client and a full name attached to them too.
Video - people do business with people and they most certainly make emotional decisions rather than entirely rational ones. Give them the opportunity to see who you are and what you're about. I'm not talking about some stiff, voice-over driven video, I'm talking about real human, real story type of video. Why do you do what you do? What makes you different? What goes on behind the scenes? Make it warm, make it human and make it different to everyone else's!
A Call-To-Action - tell prospective customers what you want them to do next. Tell them to pick up the phone and make an appointment, or tell them to pop over to your online shop and buy!
Social Media - make sure that if you're on Facebook and/or Twitter, that you're letting people know by having it up front on your home page. It's another way that people can find out more about you and if you're putting time and effort into social media then surely you want as many people to know about it as possible?
These six things will really help to differentiate your website from your competition. On a final note though, try to make sure that you're not being overly verbose on your home page! People are inherently lazy when surfing the web these days and they don't want to read your carefully crafted mission statement, they want to cut to the chase and get to the good stuff. Save that stuff for another page, use more images than text and let people explore a little. If they like your home page they will stick around long enough to find out more about you.
Your website is no longer just your show piece - it's part of your marketing mix, so make sure it's bringing in leads and being effective; oh and there's nothing wrong with tweaking it every now and then to see if you can influence the conversions you're getting. Google loves a change in content, so adding a blog and making changes to your content regularly is no bad thing.
When writing your content, it's always worth thinking about what words people will be typing into Google to look for your business too. In the website business they're called 'keywords' and by using those words (and phrases) within your website copy you are helping Google to recognize your website as one that is essentially of interest to the people typing them into their search box.
By using keywords within your website you are starting to think about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and although what is actually written on your website is only one part of a much larger picture where SEO is concerned, it's certainly a part worth considering.
There's not much point in putting up a billboard in a desert, is there? The phrase "if you build it they will come" is simply not true. You will have to work hard to drive traffic to your site, but with all of the online advertising options around nowadays, it's not a difficult thing to do. Just make sure that your adverts are targeted!
The camels don't care much for your new robe shop, but the people will. Make sure the right people are seeing your ad or you are wasting money. But make sure you are doing something.
The biggest failing with a website is often not the content, it's the fact that no one has seen it!
Until next time ...
Ali Burden-Blake. Wife to Andrew. Mum to Erin. Feeder of Rogan the Huskycat. Passionate about teaching veterinarians about social media and marketing stuff at the Veterinary Marketing School, producing effective websites through InkSpot Creative and keeping hubby in line at InkSpot Media Video Production!