We all know that having a website for your business or organisation is important, the simplest and quickest method of communication with your buyers in this internet age. Your website is your 24/7 storefront available to promote, sell or serve your clients even when you are asleep.
Having a website is not the only method of communication on the internet but the most cost-effective tool to funnel your leads, nurture them, and capture potential buyer information. A website is and should be an essential piece of your online marketing strategy.
Whether you are looking to build, design, or hire a professional to create a website for you, consider how you want your website to perform or better yet how your website should perform for you to get the results you need.
Today the web is social and interactive, tomorrow it will be collaborative, or who knows, but static websites do not bring in the results it once did. To get the results you want, you need to consider integrating search, social media, content, blogging and more with your websites. This is mainly due to the shift of power from seller side to buyer side. Today a buyer consults the internet before even talking to any supplier. The buyer chooses what and when to consume without the involvement of a sales person. Seth Godin very well explains this shift with the terms “permission marketing” and “interruption marketing”.
Creating a website alone is not enough; you need your website to play the role of home base. Traffic generated from blogs, social media or search engines need to end up somewhere and most importantly convert that traffic to eventual sales. This is why creating a website alone does not get you the results you want.
An online marketing plan and an effective website are crucial in driving more traffic, leads and sales.
How to get better results from your website?
Having a marketing plan and an effective website will drive you more traffic, leads and sales.
It is easier said then done.
First your website needs visitors.
You can develop the best-looking website with the potential to be very effective but it is not worth anything unless you have visitors. Being found online is necessary for any website whether you are starting a new website, redesigning or improving the one you have. Getting found requires a lot of work, consistency and a long term strategy. You must absolutely have a Search engine optimization plan in place to benefit from the organic (free) search rankings. Every website owner wants to reach the first page of search engines but the top position is competitive to reach.
- Create quality content. Your goal should be to create content others will like and link to.
- Submit your website to online directories.
- Write posts on other blogs.
- There is many ways to build links. Make sure you are careful where you add your link.
- On page optimization consists of having specific keywords placed within the actual content of the web page. (see bringing people to your website topic).
- Choose strategically the right title, Meta tags, and headings on your page. Your goal is to be perfectly clear as to what the page is about to the visitor (human or robot).
- Sitemaps are important because they guide search engines when crawling your website.
- Avoid your visitors from “404 messages” or “page not found” issues. Setting up permanent redirects informs search engines to remove that URL form their database.
Your personality on the web
The first impression is very important; your website represents who you are and what you have to offer.
The first time a visitor lands on you page they ask themselves:
- Is your company credible?
- Can they trust you?
- Are you going to be around?
- Will you make them feel welcomed?
- Are you what they are looking for?
Your website should answer these important questions during the design and development phase. While the look is very important, you should not spend too much time and effort on that factor alone to the detriment of the functionality and great content. After all visitors, want to see what value you provide them. Experienced web consultants can you help find the right balance.
Any experienced web consultant should tell you to keep representation of your content consistent throughout the pages. This is important if you want your visitors to stay on your website long enough for you to convert them to a lead.
One of the most important factors of getting your visitors to stay is having your visitors find what they are looking for easily. The navigation system and a consistent layout of your website design contribute greatly to this factor.
Important factors in website navigation system:
- Keep a simple navigation menu system
- Place your menu near the top of the page
- Use breadcrumbs whenever possible
- Incorporate search boxes for your content
- Make it easy for your visitors to reach their destination (i.e. not more than 3 clicks away from the home page)
- Give clear title to your links.
Accessibility of your website is another factor that many companies tend to ignore. With the rise of mobile devices, it is important for your website to look and behave the way you intend too on different browsers or devices.
Content is king!
Your content is what will drive traffic to your website and turn the visitor into a lead and eventually a sale. Search engines love them and they reward you with visitors because of your content.
Develop your content strategy by answering these simple (not always) questions.
- What do I want to say on this page?
- Is my message clear?
- Will people know where they are and what it is about?
- Do they know what is next?
- Why from me and not someone else?
If your visitors are able to answer these questions as you intended to be than you have done a good job. If not, you just need to refine your message until you get it right.
What is in it for me? The question every visitor asks when they visit your site. Your message should answer that question on every page. Determine what is of value to your potential clients and provide content that offers that value differentiating you from your competitor.
- Know your audience
- Offer unique content
- Write for people not search engines
- Value, Value, Value
- Update your content regularly
- Make your content easily sharable
- Develop rich content to increase user experience
- Easily create testimonials from your clients
What is next?
You worked hard in creating a website for your business to get traffic. Last thing you want is for these visitors to leave your website without you capturing their information or else you will not have the opportunity to nurture them until they are ready to buy from you.
How to convert your visitor to a lead and eventually to a sale?
An effective call to action will capture visitor information when done right.
- Make your call to action stick out on your page
- Consider using colour differentiation
- Provide valuable call to actions
- Keep it simple
- And test your call to actions
As stated earlier the internet has shifted power from seller to buyer. Buyers are not willing to listen to your cold-calls anymore. They decide when and what they want to consume. Moreover, a static website does not get you the results it once did. A professional website is necessary to play the role of the home base and while you concentrate on generating traffic, converting the traffic to leads and nurturing those leads until they are ready to buy.