It’s been said so often that it almost goes without saying: the single best tool you’ve got to attract and close new business is your website.
It’s more important than your salespeople (who in many cases never speak to your customers). It’s more important than your product (which is basically an unknown quantity until someone buys it). It’s more important than your showroom. More important than your office building. More important than everything.
Because a strong majority of your customers will make a purchasing decision before they ever speak to anybody, which means that your website is a sales tool as much as it is a marketing tool.
In reality, the line between the two is blurring dramatically, and that’s never more evident than on your website, which has to fulfill both roles – and do it very, very well. If you want an effective website, it has to accomplish two basic things:
- Attract visitors
- Convert them into leads
The first is marketing, The second? Well, it’s marketing, too. But it’s also sales. And the first one is also kinda sales. And the whole thing is also one thing – ok, look, this mess gets confusing. Let’s focus on the goals here.
Succeeding at these two basic goals isn’t super complicated, and really involves a simple process: identifying your audience, identifying their challenges, developing strong messaging, and priming your site to capture their information.
Why This Is So Important
Customer behavior has changed in ways that make a lot of sense but are often hard to figure out the best response to. We’re all consumers, and we all have had the experience of shopping online by googling around for a while, landing on a website, and poking around. But that simple customer experience stands on top of an important set of assumptions:
- Your customer is looking for something for a reason
- Google is the primary avenue with which people engage with content on the internet
- Purchasing decisions are primarily made online
You can make sure that your website is optimized for the buyer experience by taking advantage of these assumptions, and making sure you’ve got great answers to their underlying questions to ensure a positive buying experience – and effective lead-generating opportunities.
1. Your customer is looking for something for a reason
If you’ve got a product, you’re selling it for a reason. Even terrible infomercials at least try to pretend like a lot of people are sitting around dissatisfied with ice cream and looking for a real dessert experience. The thing to remember is that what your customers are after aren’t things, most of the time; they’re after solutions to their problems. And that means you need to know what those problems are so that you can position your product as the solution.
2. Google is the primary avenue with which people engage with content on the internet
The way Google operates is that it tries to answer searcher intent. That means that Google tries to read the subtext of the search to make sure it’s delivering up clear, relevant, applicable answers. While you can’t control for everything involved in contextual marketing, you can make sure that your website offers the best answer to the kinds of questions that your clients are asking.
Focus on developing messaging and copy that emphasizes and makes these points center-stage. It’ll help drive qualified organic traffic, who are totally ready for the next assumption.
3. Purchasing decisions are primarily made online
Nobody – seriously, nobody – is talking to salespeople these days. People do their own research and draw their own conclusions based on their own experience and the information they have access to. That means that your website, once you’ve attracted an audience, is doing 90% of the work by itself – and that means that your website has to be optimized to do that.
Getting it to that point involves a process of figuring out who you’re trying to reach, why they’re there, what they’re touchy about, and what information they need to get to a purchasing decision. It’s not a super complicated process to get going, but it’s important you do it right.