Business websites sometimes make me cringe.
It looks like the same static brochure they pass around trade shows is thrown up in HTML (or worse, Flash).
As always, it’s helpful to take a step back and really figure out why you have a website. What’s the purpose? Why does it exist?
There are usually a variety of possible reasons.
But there are only two primary goals. Everything you do has to reinforce those two goals.
Otherwise you’re wasting both your time and money.
Image courtesy of Dave Pearson
The Two Goals
Business websites have two main goals:
Make Sales & Generate Leads
These two things apply whether you’re selling a product, services, or ecommerce.
Every business should be generating leads from their website. Even nonprofits are in lead generation.
So everything on your website has to reinforce one (or both) of these goals.
Let’s look at this a little more closely to really figure out what that means.
You first need to get their attention.
These are your marketing or acquisition channels. You want to track the performance of each and determine where you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
This is the top of your sales funnel. The initial stage is all about capturing eyeballs and visitors.
But as you can see, there needs to be dynamic, new content, an engaged social media presence, proper optimization and more.
That means a static, online version of your web brochure is literally killing your business. No one cares about it. They will pass right over it, because it’s not capturing and keeping their attention.
Next, you need to build trust with these visitors.
The first step is having everything in order. Great design and usability, compelling content that keeps their eyes glued to the screen and things that focus on solving their problem (not yours).
Then you want emails.
People need to be “touched” by you anywhere from 3 – 10 times before they’re ready to purchase anything.
So you need to slow the relationship down and develop trust first.
Now if you’re primarily selling something, then the same is true. You still need trust. But you can go a little further.
Try offering a free trial and money back guarantee. This is known as a risk reversal because you’re essentially taking the risk of purchase (and buyers remorse) away from them.
You can also try video demonstrations and testimonials to show both how the product actually works, and social proof from other satisfied customers.
Does your static, lifeless brochure-website do any of this? I doubt it. You need a fluid, dynamic web experience to really help users.
Now we’re ready. We’re hitting our key metrics.
Once you’ve got their attention and developed trust, you can present Calls To Action (CTA).
This is where you’re asking for the sale. You need to present your users with a solution to their problem.
Or, you need to get them to opt-in if you’re generating leads.
The best way to do this? Landing pages.
Most business owners heavily scrutinize their homepage. It’s natural, I do it too.
It’s like the window to your website and the first impression people have.
But homepages don’t convert, they usually direct. So people use the homepage to find other things, not to opt-in as a lead or buy a product.
That’s why you should have many landing pages, each with one specific purpose. You want the user to focus only on your offer.
Strip away everything else to keep their attention on the one action.
And you want to direct people with Calls To Action. Interlink from your blog posts, use large buttons on pages, etc.
Remember just like in traditional sales, you want to move people through the funnel and you need to ask for the sale.
And after you’ve captured their attention and built trust, asking for the sale isn’t a dirty, awkward or inappropriate thing. These people are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
If your website can’t handle all these elements, then it might be time for an upgrade.