Your website: it’s (potentially) the most powerful marketing tool that you have within your sales arsenal. Yet there’s a lot more to this digital asset than you may think – and it’s not nearly enough to simply have a website that looks aesthetically pleasing and rather shiny.
Here we take a look at six essential (and super-fast) tips for supercharging your website and ensuring that your round-the-clock, online sales person is truly working as hard as it can for you.
1. Your homepage:
Come on in, take a look around
First things first: your homepage must achieve two tasks;
first – it must re-enforce your brand and your positioning within the marketplace.
This can be thought of as – why you, and not the next competitor?;
second – it should serve up your website’s most recent and relevant content in order to capture your visitor’s attention in as little as 5 seconds (or less).
Studies consistently show that the performance of a homepage – and ultimately whether a visitor chooses to explore onwards or click that dreaded back button, fall down to these two elements.
Beyond this, the flow of your homepage should run as follows:
- Headline – one sentence that sums up what your company does;
- Sub-Headline – in one or two sentences, describe your customers pain point – and how you solve their problem;
- Call-to-action – provide an irresistible call-to-action – adding some form of free content offer or demo can make for the most effective call-to-actions of all;
- Fresh content – such as a blog roll.
2. Your navigation:
Point them in the right direction
Clear navigation is a non-negotiable when it comes to a website that performs.
Drop down menus should be used where there’s a need to present many links, and content can be grouped into categories – this ensures that visitors can discover where they need to go, without other visitors being overloaded with a confusing array of options.
Ideally visitors should be able to move from homepage, to where they need to be within three clicks; of course, this may not always be possible, but it does serve as good rule of thumb to work from.
3. Your content:
It’s King of the marketing realm
Your content should be crafted around your target market – think about their pain points, their needs and, ultimately, the issues that they face, and that you solve.
Yet discovering these are only half of the story – to truly engage your visitor, your content needs to be useful, valuable and provide something that will improve the life of the reader – if only a little.
So, how do you do this?
Rather than speaking about your product or service, approach this from the readers’ perspective.
Let’s take a look at a few examples…
The power of video
Video content is like search engine ranking gold dust – and if boosted rankings weren’t enough of a reason to consider creating useful, valuable video content, then think about these three rather impress stats:
- Including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% (Hub Spot 2016);
- 80% of people recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days (Hub Spot 2016);
- 90% of people say that product videos are helpful in their decisions process (Hub Spot 2016).
Videos that are created to provide customer guides, support and information are far more effective than any other medium.
Couple this with an array of other forms of content and you have one carefully crafted marketing strategy that Google et al. will adore, and that your website visitors will love.
An ideal collection of content may look something like this:
- Frequent blog posts;
- Instantly digestible infographics;
- E-books that may be exchanged for visitor emails;
- Informative white papers that demonstrate you as an industry expert.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Imagery is incredibly important to the website visitor; it can help create interest, guide eyesight, break-up blocks of text and hold attention.
For all of these reasons it’s vital that you use professional images – please no mobile phone shots! Moreover, commission a professional photographer if you’re planning on featuring pictures of your products online.
4. Your Call-to-actions:
Short, snappy, bright and bold
A call-to-action instructs your visitors to do something there and then (such a “call us now” or “click for a free quote”).
You should feature strong calls-to-action throughout your website (ideally at least one should always be visible); a popular way of achieving this is through the header – whether as a highlighted menu item or overlaid tab).
Research has shown that calls-to-actions that are shorter enjoy higher conversion rates; with buttons and links that feature in the colours red and orange also having been proven to garner better click through rates.
5. Your blog –
What do you mean you don’t have one?
Blogging today is an essential way of reaching out to your target market – just take a look at some of your biggest competitors and you’re sure to see that they take their blogging efforts seriously. Let’s take a look at why…
- Blogging drives traffic from search engines and social media, over to your site;
- Blogs can educate and inform your reader, moving them from one step of the sales journey, to the next;
- Blog content can demonstrate you as an industry expert;
- Blogging drives brand loyalty and helps readers feel that they know you, your business, and your product / service offering.
6. Make it mobile
Reach your business on the move
Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, today more online time is spent surfing via mobile devices than via desktop. The time to consider going mobile-friendly is over. You simply must be mobile ready if you’re going to compete. Mobile-ready (or responsive) websites are those that adapt, flex and fit to fill the screen that they’re displayed on. They present differing menus to ensure that every type of visitor can effortlessly navigate the site – whether by finger on the phone screen, or by mouse on the desktop.
Take a look at how this website is rocking some serious mobile dexterity.
Not sure if your website’s responsive?
Try this Google tool – tells you in a matter of a copy, paste and click.
So that’s it: the six essential ingredients for website success; yet beyond these pointers you should never stop analysing the performance that your online presence is putting in. Be sure to install Google Analytics to track key changes in metrics such as average visit duration, average pages visited and bounce rates – and continue to hone in on what is, and isn’t working for you – and moreover, for your visitors.