Put Your Website to WORK for You!
An effective website should be more than an information source about your company or product. It’s a selling tool, part sales representative, part checkout clerk, part follow-up customer service agent. There are many, many different ways to attract people to your site, keep them there, convince them to take action for a sale or a specific inquiry, make that action easy, and then keep your organization on their radar after they’ve left the site. The good news is that these tactics are logical and straightforward, and when used in concert with one another, highly effective.
Step One: Build a Website They’ll Want to Visit
Here’s a good rule of thumb – the simpler, the better. In today’s busy world, people’s attention spans are short, and perhaps nowhere more so than on the Internet. There can be a temptation to tell every minute detail about your brand or product, but that typically backfires because site users don’t have the time or inclination to wade through endless information to begin with, let alone to find the specific bit of information or action that brought them to your site in the first place. Less is more!
Keep copy short, light, crisply written, and typeset in not-too-small fonts with ample space between lines. Sans serif typefaces tend to work better on the web because they have a cleaner look on-screen. Type set on a white background is best for legibility. If your content includes call-out type boxes, and for clickable call-to-action buttons, the reverse (pun intended) holds true. White type on a prominently colored background will get attention from the general content without competing against it.
Keep images large, colorful, and be sure that any stock photos you use don’t look dated. If your site will feature a lot of product images, it’s best to not just scan them out of your sales brochures or take pictures of them with your smartphone. Product photos that are staged and shot by a professional photographer won’t break the bank, and the investment will be well worth the quality appearance of the finished website. Also, keep color schemes simple.
All of these simplifying design cues do more than create a clean, uncluttered website that’s easy on the eyes; they also create a site that’s less data intensive, so that it loads and refreshes more quickly. Attention spans are short with web users, and patience is even shorter.
Step Two: Actively Bring Them There
While many visitors will find your website through their own organic search – which is why you need to always fine-tune your SEO – you’ll bring in many more qualified visitors if you engage them through other active sources. The fish won’t just jump into your boat; you have to cast some lines. Attract qualified leads through:
- Email marketing
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- Live chat functionality on your site with visitors who’ve organically found you.
Depending on how users find your website, set it up so that when they click through, they arrive directly at the landing pages within your site that match what they’re looking for, and include clear calls-to-action click points on those pages. If they’ve searched for a specific product or service that you provide, their click-through should take them directly to the page on your site that pertains to that product or service. According to a HubSpot survey, companies with 30+ such immediately-directed such landing points generated 7X more leads than companies with five or fewer, or companies that only directed users’ click-throughs to their home page. That said, though, your home page should always include its own clear call-to-action button, too.
Step Three: Thank Them for Taking Action
Visitors to your site who do actively click a call-to-action button, whether it’s to make an inquiry or to actually complete a purchase transaction, deserve to be thanked for going that far. A savvy web development team can set up triggers that send thank you emails. Placing cookies on your site will also allow you to send occasional reminder emails to visitors who took some direct action on your site, to keep your brand in their minds and provide an immediate path back to you for future action.
A truly effective website requires clean design and intelligently formatted content, but it also requires integration with all of your other online marketing tools. It’s that fishing analogy again – you may build a fantastic boat, but if you just sit in the middle of the lake, you won’t catch anything. You have to actively cast lines to get bites, then reel them in.