Many business owners have a common misunderstanding about what their website is supposed to be doing for their business that is costing them missed opportunities to directly increase sales. Most business owners have the misguided notion that their website is a marketing tool. That’s a big and costly misunderstanding that is spawned by web developers and graphic designers who don’t understand the importance of a return on your investment, or how to get it.
The purpose of your website is to either directly generate sales, or indirectly generate sales through highly qualified leads. Even when you aren’t directly selling a product through your website your website should be a lead generation mechanism for highly qualified prospects.
What you do to get traffic to your website is marketing. Once that traffic gets there it’s your website’s job to sell that traffic. Most service businesses will be selling that traffic on the idea of signing-up for something with perceived value so you have permission to market to them over time until they’re ready to become new clients.
That means the first page a visitor sees and every page on your website must have one and only one clear objective for that visitor. What happens when a visitor comes to your website now? In all likelihood that visitor is confused.
It isn’t immediately obvious to them what this page is about, what they can do on this page, or why they should want to investigate this website further. Each visitor to your website has three very simple questions you must answer. If you can’t help that visitor answer those questions in less than 30 seconds they’re gone forever.
The first question your visitor has is, “Where am I?” The purpose of marketing was to get a visitor to this page. Once the visitor arrives they simply want to know they’re in the right place.
An easy way to make this clear is to match the wording used in the marketing tools to get the visitor to the page with the message the visitor sees on the page. This eliminates confusion immediately. If they didn’t have an interest they wouldn’t have responded to your marketing message and visited the page in the first place, so making sure your messages match is a simple solution to eliminating visitor confusion.
The second question the visitor has is, “What can I do or get here?” This is where most websites really miss the mark. The visitor gets to the webpage and then there are too many options, or the option they want is too hard to find. Keep it simple by giving them one and only one action to take.
Their final question is, “Why should I participate?” Most people get too many emails already and suffer from information overload in combination with a time deficit. The perceived value of the action must be greater than the pain of getting yet another email.
Keep these three simple questions in mind as you build your website, or update your current website. Remember your website is a selling tool not a marketing tool. Use it to your advantage to increase sales.
By Devin Mason