March 30, 2011
Homepreneurs or small business owners often need a website to advertise; in some situations, products and services are sold via the web. Often websites are static, confusing, and difficult to navigate. As Homepreneurs, consider clients coming to your Internet location as a partial victory, much like customers finding a brick and mortar boutique. A boutiques’ front windows often display examples of trending goods or showcase products to pull in customers. Similarly, once in your virtual store, the goal is to create instant interest and “make” the client want to look around or “shop.”
In the article below, Ivana Taylor suggests 7 steps for improving an online presence and gaining additional sales from the changes.
If your website still looks like an online brochure, then you are missing out on the most effective lead generation tool that you have. These seven website design tips will make it easy for your website visitors to become your ideal customers:
1. Place an identifying tagline at the top. Tell your customer where they’ve landed. The biggest reason people leave or bounce from a website is because they don’t know if they are in the right place or if you have what they are looking for. Use this simple formula as a website positioning statement: [YOUR SITE NAME] is where [YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE] goes to [INSERT WHAT YOU OFFER].
2. Answer your customers’ questions right away. When people land on your site, they have the following questions: Where am I? What’s this site about? Is this what I’m looking for? How does this compare to what I’m using now? Make sure that you have the answers to those questions easily visible on the site so that your customers know they have landed at a place that has what they are looking for.
3. Highlight keywords and phrases. Create big headlines and subheads that use the same keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for. If you offer software support for Apple computers, say it BIG and BOLD! Don’t let your audience wonder what you’re about. That might be OK for multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercials, but it doesn’t generate sales.
4. Have at least one call-to-action on every page. A call-to-action is what you want your customer to do. For example, do you want them to register for a newsletter, download a white paper or sign up for a webinar? Make sure that you know what you want your audience to do and then make sure that it’s easy for them to take that action. If you want them to call, make sure that phone numbers are big and easy to find. If you want them to download something, make the button big and bold and have it say something like, “DOWNLOAD NOW.”
5. Reduce the number of clicks to get to the gold. Don’t make your customers work to get to the good stuff. The only thing you really need from your website visitors is a first name and an e-mail address—this is just enough to start building a relationship. Give them the good stuff to prove your value, then start building a relationship with them and educating them on your product or service.
6. Invest in good and descriptive graphics. Make sure that you have a picture of your product on the site—even if it’s a digital product. There are many tools you can use to create a picture or set of digital products. One software option is BoxShot3D.com. Photos and graphics are important, but don’t overdo it. Use graphics that show your product or the benefits of your service. Another great source of photos and graphics is iStockphoto.com.
7. Create an irresistible offer. Your customer has landed on your site because they hope that you will have a solution to their problem. Create an offer that’s focused on what’s important to them when they are buying what you’re selling. For example: “Download this FREE Report to Learn How to Generate More Leads.”
If you’re still not sure how to put these tips into place, then focus on who your audience is and what sites they usually visit. Then click around the sites and evaluate them as a customer. What do you like? What don’t you like? What should those sites do differently to get your business? Then make those ideas a part of your website design.
Before you start any website changes, be sure to check your Google Analytics and site statistics and document a baseline. Then make a change or two at a time and measure the changes you see in traffic and conversions. Make these easy changes to your website design and get more leads that turn into customers.
By Ivana Taylor
Ivana Taylor is the president of the strategic marketing firm, Third Force and the publisher DIYMarketers.com. Ivana is the Book editor and contributing marketing expert for Small Business Trends (www.smallbiztrends.com). She writes the popular blog Strategy Stew (www.strategystew.com). She is currently #21 of Fast Company’s list of most influential people on the internet.