Websites are like the new Yellow Pages. Research shows that middle and upper class shoppers are more and more favoring online shopping as well as the verification of a business’s work and credentials by visiting the company’s website. Social issues, such as recent economic conditions, have pushed the average consumer towards the direction of making more informed decisions about their purchases. The important datum to grasp here is that the consumer is attempting to be more savvy, or financially responsible, by checking a company out on social media or websites to be more informed about who they will be giving their money to.
The reason this is important to you as a business owner is this: your business must have a website and it must make a good impression or you could be losing prospects without your knowledge.
On the positive side, a good company website can push the consumer into making the decision to trust the company and “make the buy” when the company has a well-established site that makes the consumer confident and confirms that he was indeed savvy and fiscally responsible for finding a business that was so respectable and well-established.Recently we did a makeover for one of our clients, a decking contractor. The contractor was selling an average of $10,000 to $12,000 decks. Then he decided to have RESPONSE! makeover his site. He went on to make the largest single deck sale ($60,000!) in his company history which he directly attributes to his website makeover.
Here is why this happened: when we redid his website we paid special attention to integrating standard web marketing and PR tools—that is because we know that merely having “a pretty website” is not enough and this is why we don’t merely have web designers on our staff. Rather, we have web marketing professionals who know what it really takes to convert a visitor into a sale. We deliberately and with malice aforethought elevated the contractor’s image, through the website design and presentation of his company, to that of a high-end outfit resulting in a contract five times anything he had previously sold. The site was designed to boost consumer confidence in the contractor’s company and make them feel comfortable committing money to a business they did not know.
But this is not a newsletter on how awesome we are (although I am very proud of my web division and their marketing skills) but a newsletter on how you can get more sales from your website.
And the 6 Common Web-Marketing Errors Are…
I rounded up six of the most common issues we uncover in evaluating websites for marketing performance.
- No Website or The Website Nobody Can Find
The first error you can make is to either not have a website or to have website that no one can find. A website can be missing certain necessary content or information to be “findable”. In other words, a potential customer could google your company name and, horror of horrors, not even find you or your website.
TASK: The simplest method to check this point is to google your company name. If your website does not appear in the top ten search results you have a problem that needs remedying right away. Would you trust a company that does not even exist on the internet under it’s own name? In this day and age no company website, or one that cannot be found, literally translates into a perception that the company itself does not exist.
- An Ugly or Dodgy-Looking Website
There are truly some ugly websites out there. I don’t know about you but I don’t spend anytime on websites that are really ugly or look dodgy or “scammy”. We have all heard the horror stories about online scams and Nigerian princes, so why even go there?
Whatever you and your company do, you probably do it with pride. You are proud of your past achievements, the big projects you have pulled off, the customers you have helped. Why ruin this with a website that says you don’t care about your presentation?
Let’s look at a scenario to put this in perspective. You want to hire a contractor to put in a $25,000 deck for your home. You will probably want a contractor who does skilled work when you are spending this much money, an outfit who pays attention to detail. You may have concerns about how long they will take and how much mess they will create at your home. Before you write a check for the down payment you decide to check out their website and references. You visit the website and you find the following: blurry images and logos, loud and obnoxious colors, no gallery where you can scroll though images of decks they have done in the past, the images you find are discolored. How positive would you be regarding their professionalism and efficiency at this point?
TASK: To decide if your website looks established and presentable, look at it with a critical eye and compare it to some of the leading or large companies in your industry. Ensure you measure up in presentation and general appearance from the viewpoint of a potential customer. Are you a contender?
- No Call-To-Action or Visitor-To-Lead Conversion Strategy
The most frequent error we find is websites that don’t convert visitors into sales because they simply don’t ask the visitor to do anything. Or the call-to-action is weak or only available on one page in the website. You will get more leads from your website if you ask visitors to become leads. This is done by repeatedly encouraging visitors to take action and contact your organization and making it extremely easy for them to do so.
My company website has about nine different actions a visitor can take (depending on which part of the website they are exploring) and immediately gives them a phone number or form they submit right away. We receive regular requests for information using the forms we provide.
A missing call-to-action is a fatal error that many websites have. Fatal because you spend money and time creating interest and you could be losing potential customers through failure to employ conversion strategies.
TASK: To check if your website has adequate call-to-actions, browse through it and see how far you have to search, once you have hypothetically made a decision that you are interested in one of the services, to respond and ask for more information. How easy is it to respond? Do you have to phone? What if it’s the middle of the night—is there still some way to reach out and get information?
- No Content: The Website That Is Faster Than a Speeding Bullet
How much information do you have posted on your website. About the products and services you deliver, why these products and services are beneficial, answers to common questions, videos or images, consumer reviews or testimonials, company news, etc.?
Give your visitors something to read about, or watch or look at. The longer they stay on your website looking around, the more of an impression you are making on them. Plus it will make your website easier to be found on Google.
TASK: Check if you have enough content by browsing through your site. How long does it take to look around? If you can browse through it in a matter of minutes (four or five) you probably need more content.
- Out-Of-Date or Out-Of-Touch Website
An out-of-date website is another sure-fire way to hurt your image. If you have not updated it within recent years—such as current information on your company, your products and services, or recently completed projects—it sends the message that your company is out-of-date or minimally out-of-touch with its own website. Would you want to do business with a company that you suspect is out-of-date or out-of-touch? Probably not.
TASK: Simply browse the data in your site and see if reflects current circumstances effectively.
- Missing Social Media Interaction (No Buzz Syndrome)
Social media is the new black. Almost everybody has a social media profile and shares photos and videos of their kids, grandkids, cars, pets, everything. Why not let them share content from your website—such as photos of your most recent projects. And what about getting them to follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you have social media tools embedded in your website to promote interaction?
Not only does this boost your online word-of-mouth, it also boosts your visibility on search engines such as Google, who pay attention to social media sites as a priority (that’s where much of their target audiences are visiting).
TASK: Inspect your website from the viewpoint of a Facebook fanatic or internet addict. Is there social media interaction? Is there an easy way to share data with friends and family?
These are just a few of the points that are included in RESPONSE! website packages. As more and more people spend more and more time on the web, smart phones, iPads and other multimedia devices you will need your website to be there and be a constant reminder of your company.
The times they are a-changing and your web presence can make or break your company. I can assure you that your aggressive competitors are aware of this and paying attention to their web presence.