We all know by now that having an effective website is SO important to the success of your business, but did you know that your competition may already be a few steps ahead of you and is talking to the customers that YOU should be talking to?
It can take awhile to get all your systems in place so that everything works like a well-oiled machine, and it’s part of my mission to give you as much information as I can to help you get there, as quickly as possible, so that you can keep doing what you love and making money!
To that end, I’m about to reveal to you 3 things that your competition already knows, that you probably don’t know, so success is still eluding you. If you DO know these things and haven’t implemented any of them yet, what you waiting for? It’s time to get to work!
Your competition is quite clear on exactly who they are selling to. They know the gender, lifestyle, habits, income bracket, occupations, hobbies, and probably a lot more about who they want to sell to. To appeal to that audience, their website is designed and set up so that they get it. Not only are the aesthetics of the site geared towards that person, but the information they provide on the site is specifically created to solve whatever problem the potential customer may have, that the seller can solve for them.
If you’re not quite sure yet how this can help in your business, ask yourself a few key questions:
- What are the traits of your ideal customer (as in the example above)?
- What problem(s) do they have (that your product or service can help them with)?
- How is your website/product/service going to help them solve their problem?
- What style of website would most appeal to them; i.e. contemporary, grunge, industrial, rustic?
In a nutshell, when a potential client lands on your website, they should know within just a few seconds who you are, what you do and how you can help them. If they can’t figure that out within 3-5 seconds, they’re off and running trying to find someone who does get it. Make sure it’s you!
Once your potential client has landed on your site, what’s the next step? Your competition has figured out how to compel their website visitor to click further and actually DO something. This can be very simple, it’s just a step towards making a connection with the user, so that communication can continue and you can begin to build a relationship and establish yourself as the expert that they WANT to do business with.
There are several ways in which your website can begin to “funnel” visitors in and get them acquainted with your products and services:
- An email opt-in form is a MUST. Sign up with one of the many email marketing providers that are available (MailChimp is my fave!), put a sign up list on your website, and offer people something for free in exchange for their email address. An article put in the form of a report, an ebook that you’ve written, a handy video that will help them begin to achieve a goal, a tutorial, or some other goodie related to your business. Whatever it is, let it clearly show them that you know what you’re talking about and you can help them.
- Graphic content. Use graphics wisely to direct people to other areas of your site. For example, create three equal size content boxes on your home page, with interesting background graphics, and limited text, to direct people to the products, services or other area of your site that you want them to know about first. Perhaps one of these boxes is your email opt in form! Another option might be a full width image front and center, with just a small amount of text, and a clear directive to CLICK HERE. People do need clear direction about what they need to do once on your site. If you wait for them to figure out what’s what, it might be too late. Make it easy for them to do business with you!
- Call to Action buttons. Large colorful Call to Action buttons or graphics are very important and will help people find the information they’re looking for. Choose contrasting colors, large text and make them obvious. People obviously read from left to right, but they will also scan your pages from left to right and in a “Z” formation. Let text and images flow in this pattern to some extent and place your Call to Action button towards the end of your “Z”.
- Keep the text on your home page to a minimum. This is somewhat debated, but my preference is to keep text on the home page of my sites to a minimum, allowing for more visually appealing content to draw visitors further into the site. People don’t have time to read a novel; they want information quickly. You can put more detailed information on your secondary pages.
Content will vary site to site of course, but there are several components that make for a more effective website.
- Profile or About Us page. Especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur, or an individual who deals personally with your clients, they WANT that personal connection. They want to know who they’re doing business with and if they think you’re the type of person they can connect with. Include a photo or two and a few more personal details about your and your life, don’t just limit it to your business or professional experience. Here’s your chance to let your personality shine through!
- Services page & product information. Here is where you can go into more detail about the products and services that you offer. You can talk about the features of what you’re selling, but more importantly, focus on the benefits to your potential customer. How will your product make their life easier? Will it free up more time, save them money, make them money, make a simple task easier….whatever it is, focus on the benefits.
- Contact information. Depending on your industry, your contact information should be front and center. A phone number at the top of your site, in a bright contrasting color, will help people connect with you easily and give them the confidence to buy from you. They want to know that you are easily obtainable should they need you. On your contact page, include a form they can fill out as well as direct telephone, email & mailing address information.
- Blogging. Blogging is a great way to give people information they may be looking for and will go a long way toward establishing you as an expert in your field. Provide quality information that will help your reader, but remember to not give away the farm. Your blog posts and articles should always leave them wanting more, so as to encourage them to contact you. Your blog posts can be shared on all your social media networks, and for those that are already on your email list, you can deliver them right to their inbox with an RSS Campaign through your email marketing provider (one of the reasons I use MailChimp).
If your website is lacking in these areas, take the time to work on improving them using my suggestions above, so that you leave your competition in the dust, get more clients and make more money!