For most businesses today, having a website is akin to having a visiting card. And just as there are visiting cards that you dismiss without a thought, the Internet is filled with websites that most users wouldn’t take a second look at. As a marketer, I am constantly appalled at the little thought that most businesses give when they are creating a website for their company or brand.
I have come across websites that are little more than a slap up of a few HTML pages put together on one extreme and on the other end of rainbow I have seen websites that have left me wondering as to what the company does. Hopefully this article will lead prospective companies down the path of evaluating their current website and re-doing it from a marketing & sales perspective.
But first let’s understand what purpose your website actually plays in helping you in your business.
- Your site is your most important sales person. Period. If you’re site is not selling your business or product then you’re losing out on sales.
- It works 24 x 7, 365 days a year. No paid holidays, no leave of absence, no sick leave. No nothing.
- You pay for this salesperson only once possibly every couple of years. How many sales people do you get who works like this?
- This sales person tells your prospective customer exactly what you want him to say. No training required. No refresher courses. Zilch.
- He sends his daily, weekly and monthly reports to you on time, every time. How many sales people do you know who do that without fail?
With all these benefits, I am often left wondering why businesses treat this super salesman so badly with trashy content, even trashier design and absolutely little reason for any prospect to want to work with them!
The fundamental reason why businesses tend to do this is because they do not see a website as a sales person, and instead view it as a visiting card. So how do you convert your site into a super salesman?
- Evaluate your existing site from a customer perspective.
Why do prospective customers come to any business site? It’s primarily driven by two reasons. One, to seek additional information about a company or product or a business area and two to reach out company officials for a specific purpose which could be sales, recruitment, complaints or a partnership.
The first step would be to evaluate the existing website on the above parameters. For example some of the questions you could ask yourself are:-
- Does the website provide all the necessary information that my prospective customer may require to know about my business or brand?
- Is there any information that I am not sharing on my site but which I do share with my prospect when I meet him face to face?
- Are all my products or services featured prominently? Which product or service of mine sells the most? Does that product occupy a greater focus compared to others?
Create questions in this manner to evaluate your existing site before you even think of redoing it. For each question put a score between 1-10 where 10 is the highest score where you believe your existing site scores 100%. Once you have evaluated your site, add up all your scores and check what your site score is. The evaluation will also give you pointers as to the weak areas. Remember, you’re not evaluating the site from a design or UI perspective, only information at this stage.
- Create your content plan
Now that you have evaluated, get down to creating a content map of your site. What are the bits of information that you will put up on your site. This will flow from the content evaluation that you have done earlier one. I have always found it useful to create 3 or 4 content blocks as I call it and drill down the content within the block. For example
Content Block 1– Corporate, where I generally cover details about the company, its team, its achievements, awards, sales (Yes, I do tell clients to put up their sales data on the site when it’s good), location details, partnerships etc.
Content Block 2– The Business where I cover aspects of the business that company is into, its customers, its offering- product lines, service lines, testimonials, features.
Content Block 3: The Pitching Block- where aspects such as reason to buy, how to buy, how to order, case studies and any other content that I believe would be useful in converting a prospect into a client I put under this block, including ways and means by which the prospect could get in touch with me whether via mail, telephone, chat or in person.
- Get your content written by a professional
The worst thing a business can do is have their content written in-house. Sadly, for many companies including several large ones, that is the practice. The result is often writing that has no style or substance and worst of all written in a manufacturer’s language.
If you want a site that will appeal better than your competition by heaps and bounds invest in hiring a good copywriter or a service provider who will take your raw content and polish it up for the web. You can find plenty of them on Agencyonnet and get competitive quotes for your project.
- Create a wire frame for your site
Wire framing is nothing but an architectural framework of how your site will flow. It’s like a mock up and gives a good visual representation for business owners to get a sense of how their site will flow. You could ask your web development agency to create a mock up or you could easily create one by yourself using readily available software.is Balsamiq. Your web development agency could just as easily do it the old fashioned way by way of sketches.
The point here is that for heaven’s sake don’t rush into creating a design without first creating a mockup of what your site will look and feel like! If you don’t create a wireframe, the chances are high that you will end up re-doing your site or changing the flow once the design is ready. And this will result in costly delays.
- Hire a professional web development agency
Freelancers are great people to work with if you want a visiting card for your website. You could also go the DIY way by using any of the dozen web publishing platforms that are available to create your own website. Your site may not become a great sales person, but you’ll get a nice looking visiting card.
As a marketer for decades I strongly believe that hiring a professional web development agency is worth every penny that you pay. And in today’s world it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to hire one. You can outsource your work to agencies anywhere in the world through Agencyonnet and use the platform to get competitive proposals from several agencies.
A competitive platform like Agencyonnet usually helps businesses drive costs down by at least 20-30%.
- Put your Salesman to work!
Now that you have your site ready, let your salesman do its work. A few key things to ensure is to have a clear SLA with your web development agency in terms of maintaience related work that they will need to do. Earmark a particular resource internally who will handle all your web queries be it via mail, telephone or your contact form. That person can then internally re-assign the queries to relevant departments for follow up.
Evaluate your website for freshness once every quarter. If you change your sales presentation, make sure that anything new is added back on the site
There are several aspects of creating a site that I have deliberately not touched upon such as making your site search compliant, user interface, technology to use, work flows etc. I’ll cover them in another article in the near future.
If you would like to have a free evaluation of your website from a marketers perspective please contact Impact Marketing . With over 9 years of experience in handling brands, we can help you create websites that help you sell your company