Updated: Jul 2, 2020
Building a website, or even working with a supplier to build it, can often feel overwhelming. I know, I've sat in your seat and worked with suppliers to build several over the last 15 years.
I learned some lessons along the way and I've distilled them into these 5 steps to keep at the back of your mind when you're updating your website, or building one from scratch.
Step 1 – Get the layout of your website right
Whether searching on mobile, tablet or desktop, when a potential customer lands on your website, they are probably going to scroll a few times to see if they are in the right place.
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine walking into a retail shop.. you walk in, you ask yourself “does this feel like the type of place that sells the product I’m looking for?”
Your brain actually makes a first impression before you’ve even realized it and then proceeds to validate that first impression. The human brain is clever like that, it wants to save you time and effort, so it subconsciously processes what it sees, quicker than your conscious mind can comprehend. You then seek to validate that first impression; we do that with people, places and anything else in our lives, we’re hardwired to do it.
Now that shop might have a small section at the back with the type of chinos you happen to be looking for, but if everything else in the store suggests a different style – you probably won’t go searching around and probably won’t find those chinos!
So what does that mean for you?
If someone lands on your website and you make them go searching around for what they need, or its not immediately clear that you have what they are looking for; if your website starts with your company history and your company values and your purpose – they are one click away from leaving because those things don’t matter to your client at this stage.
Its like giving someone your life history on a first date, its not going to end well!
You need to get the layout just right to invite them to look further, making it as easy as possible to understand your value proposition.
The right layout for your website will depend to some extent on your industry, product or service mix, but you should be aiming to answer these questions as a visitor scrolls down your site…
Does this company do or sell what I am looking for?
What value does this company offer and how is that different from the competition?
How should I engage with this company?
What happens if I decide to engage this company?
What do I stand to gain if I engage this company?
What is at risk if I don’t engage this company?
Has this company solved this problem or provided this product to other happy customers?
Is this company an authority or expert in relation to the solution I’m looking for?
You should also include videos or images that compliment these messages. What you shouldn’t do however, is create long paragraphs to answer these questions. You must keep it concise and avoid the curse of knowledge…
this is something we all suffer from, we’re so engrossed in our own business that when we talk about what we do, we over-complicate it.
You are the expert in your business or product, and you’re likely talking at an 8 out of 10 on the complexity scale when you describe what you do. You need to be talking at a 2 or 3 out of 10 for customers who have never heard of you, or you risk causing confusion and losing them.
Bonus tip: If you’d like to make your content look more compelling, check out www.designrr.io and www.canva.com, these are great tools that your team can use to create lead generating content for your website, social media or email marketing campaigns.
Step 2 - Create a lead generator
Not everyone that lands on your website is going to be ready to engage with your sales team or make a purchase.
They may just be browsing or doing their research, so the question is - how do you capture these visitors and stay front of mind when they are ready?
This becomes increasingly important the longer your sales cycle gets. One way to do this, is to create a Lead Generator, sometimes called a lead magnet.
Lead Generators come in different forms, here’s 6 ideas to get you started:
1. Create an eBook just like this one!
Capture your expertise in an informative guide that will appeal to your audience and potential customers.
2. Expert interview
Do you have experts in your business that your clients would value insights from?
Is there a specific challenge being faced by your industry right now?
Are you connected to industry thought leaders that would be happy to be interviewed?
Capturing an interview and then offering your audience access in the form of video, or inviting people to a webinar are all great ways of generating potential leads.
3. Offer a Free trial
Give your customers an opportunity to experience your product or service at no cost and with no commitment.
4. Tips or advice list
Write down a list of the frustrations or biggest challenges facing your customers and then offer a list of tips that help overcome them. This is also great content for your social media channels
5. Scripted chatbots
These popup on your site, offering a series of choices that might be relevant to your target audience, ultimately requesting an e-mail address to share more info with.
Bonus tip – create a chatbot that also highlights your lead generating eBook and then integrate this with your lead generation software to create a seamless customer experience.