Should a small business seriously expect to generate leads and sales from their website in 2017?
Absolutely! Your website has the potential to generate massive amounts of new business for your company, and really it should be one of the largest sources of sales for your business, but you have to take the right steps to unlock that potential. The reason it isn't, and likely your competitor's website is generating leads and sales, is something you have to comes to terms with. It's because you most likely have made many or all of these costly mistakes.
Let's look at the top 10 reasons how small and local companies leave money on the table for their competitors to take by having websites that don't generate leads.
There are probably some good and honest reasons why your website isn't feeding your company sales, the sooner you can correct them and get your site working properly, the sooner your website can take the central position of your marketing, where it rightfully should be. With that goal in mind, we present you with the top 9 reasons your website design isn’t generating a substantial amount of leads for your business:
Reason 1 – You see your website as an electronic brochure, instead of a lead generating machine
Many business owners make the grievous mistake of both treating and designing their websites like some electronic version of a coffee table brochure, rather than a technology driven lead generator that acts to inform the customer, but really serves the deeper, essential role of capturing leads for the business. The fact is, if your site is like most small business', your site probably isn't even asking for leads. That’s right. Does your website have only a single Contact Us form on it? If it doesn’t have three, four, or even five content-oriented offers, then there’s no incentive for any of your anonymous visitors to identify themselves to you and become a lead. Add the Trio of Offers to your website and you’ll see leads increase virtually overnight.
Reason 2 – Your home page is too confusing and cluttered, and probably has unclear calls-to-action
When your potential customer hits you the main page of your website, you have about 6 seconds to provide them with what they came for, or the direction to it, or they are leaving and going to another site. Don't make them think about it, or you have lost. If a person can’t tell what you do, how to do it, or why you do it better within 6 seconds, your website is failing. This may seem like a tall order, but visitor stats across the web prove this constantly. Make sure it’s obvious to everyone that visits your site what you do, and why they should choose you, and make sure your website's design gives visitors a feeling of trust rather than confusion or uncertainty. Remember, 'if they like you, they'll listen to you, if they trust you, they'll buy from you.' This certainly applies to your website, as well.
Reason 3 – Your website doesn’t have third-party validation or customer reviews that link back to the site where the review was left
This one touches again on, 'if they trust you, they'll buy form you' concept. The people visiting your website are expecting you that are going to tell them you are the best at what you do, but what they really want to see, what makes them feel warm and fuzzy, is what other people are saying about your company. For this reason, its essential for your website to have customer testimonials, success stories, and/or case studies to solidify the trust in your company. Your customers shouldn't have to hunt for these credentials either. They should be either linked or displayed right on the home page.
Reason 4 – Your website is about you and what you want, not what they want
Here's the problem with that, your potential clients/customers only care about how you are going to help them. Its easy to get lost talking about your company and how its the greatest thing ever, how you stomp your competitors, how long you've been in business etc, but, but you can't lose focus on the most important thing, what your customer wants from you. If you forget that in your message, you will not connect with your potential customers, and more than likely won't get their business, because after all, they didn't come to your website to fulfill your needs, they came to fulfill theirs. Make the focus of your messaging about them. They have to see and know, right away, what you’re going to do for them. They don't really give a damn about anything else.
Reason 5 – You have either poor quality images, or a poor choice in imagery
Sales psychology has proven through many studies that high quality photography that uses bright colors grabs people's attention, and proper choices in imagery can evict strong emotions that pulls people in, and gets them to read your sales copy. Your visitors are people and people relate to visual images, so if you have unimpressive images, it’s not going to help them identify emotionally with the solutions your business offers. And Emotions, not logic, is the reason why people choose where they spend their money. If they can relate to your images, you'll create the kind of powerful emotional connections that get people to read your marketing copy, and generates leads.
Reason 6 – You don’t have impactful headlines on your webpages
You need to have a headline on your website that draws them in, and gets them to keep reading. If the headline is compelling and emotionally connects with them, you have a pretty good chance of getting a visitor to stay on your site longer, learning about your company and your services, and getting comfortable and gaining more trust in your company.
Reason 7 – You don’t know exactly what you want the visitor to do
So, if you don't know what exactly you want the your customer to do, then how can they know? How can you have a clear call to action, if you don't know what the exact next step they need to take is. If any part of the process is confusing or unclear, you've lost them. You need to know exactly what you want them to do when they land on your homepage, and them tell them, otherwise how will they know? The obvious answer for most companies is either to call you, or to fill out a form, tell you who they are, and request more information. That is the main objective of pretty much all small business websites, to turn anonymous lurkers into actionable leads.
Reason 8 – You don’t have any educational content, not enough, or its poorly written
This has come to be an expectation of the consumer for many industries today. People don’t want to be sold to anymore, they want to be informed. The way to do this is to offer them heaps of educational information that ultimately helps them to make their busing decision. Blogs, tips, videos, white papers, podcasts, webinars, assessments, consultations ...these all help visitors see why you can help them fill their needs.
Reason 9 –Your website is an afterthought. You haven’t updated your website in years
Is your website is the last thing that gets updated? Don’t have a success plan or strategic plan for your website? Perhaps it’s on the back burner. Neglect is often one of the easiest and most obvious website design flaws for potential customers to catch. If the copyright on your footer says 2010, it’s going to look like you haven’t updated your site in a long time. This opens the door to questions. Is the company in trouble? Are you still in business? Is this a sign of their work quality? All of these questions are bad and moving prospects towards nervousness instead of towards trust and safety.
As I said earlier, your website is like other forms of advertising and marketing. It takes a plan to succeed in online lead generation, and it takes a time commitment. The difference is your website is more important than other forms of advertising and marketing. Are you making it a priority?