How to build your website into a business asset
If your website was an employee, could it pay for itself? Would the time and money you’ve invested be justified by its sales figures, or does it sit there with its feet on the desk, refusing to work on your time?
Let’s look at what your average business website does:
- Provides your contact details
- Describes your products and services
- Gives information about the business
So far, so good. But would you expect more from a salesman? Wouldn’t you also expect him to follow up with customers, to clarify their doubts, and to close the sale? Most websites don’t make the effort.
You certainly wouldn’t want to be left chasing up old customers he forgot to stay in touch with, or have to answer calls from customers he confused. Most websites drop the ball here.
To top it all off, when you actually found time to clean up his mess, you’d find he didn’t bother taking down anyone’s details so you have no idea what the loafer actually did. Chances are, if your website was your salesman, you’d have to fire him.
Holes in the sales process let good prospects go
Just like your employees, your website needs to make a profit. Simply getting “a few pageviews” isn’t good enough. As a bad employee takes the spot of a good employee, a bad website means you lose the profits that could be generated by a better website. This problem arises because the typical brochure website leaves four holes in the website sales process.
The first problem that causes business websites to underperform is having no strategy. Websites often simply exist as brochures, with no plan or means to convert sales, and no sales targets to meet. A good Internet Marketing company helps you know where you’re going, and how you plan to get there.
No web presence
Websites will often falter due to not attracting enough page visits to make the needed number of sales. The number of page visits can seem high at first. If a website converts 2% of visitors to buyers, then to get 10 sales a month you need 500 unique visitors each and every month. .
To get these numbers — both the unique visitors and the sales conversions, you need a web presence designed to do this, not just a brochure website designed to simply give out information.
Many websites do attract visitors, but those visitors just don’t seem interested in buying. This is a problem of SEO and marketing without lead qualification — essentially marketing to the wrong prospects. Many SEO companies will promise first-page Google results, but with no guarantee that qualified prospects are actually searching those keywords.
To avoid this problem, a good web presence uses the right tactics matched
to the right prospects — getting the highest numbers of interested buyers
landing on the website.
No email marketing
Even when websites get plenty of qualified leads, the next problem is not enough lead nurturing. Websites will often present their best — and only offer on the very first page the prospect visits. But at this time the prospect does not trust the business enough to jump into a purchase, and so they walk out the door, never to be seen again. This is a huge lost opportunity. Prospects are leaving not because they don’t like the product or service, but because they’re just not ready to buy.
In contrast, a good web presence uses email marketing to present multiple offers to a prospect until they become a customer and give you their money.
Now, all these problems are also encountered in the real world of sales. If you have sales experience, you know this: A good salesman knows his strategy, knows he needs to call enough prospects, knows how to tailor his tactics to the prospect and knows how to persevere with multiple offers until he closes the sale. An underperforming website, therefore, is simply a poor salesman. Let’s look at how you can fix it.
How to revamp your website into a better business asset
To make your website a profitable member of your team, you need a complete strategy. We call this The Website Sales Funnel, as it directs prospects through the entire process of lead generation, qualification, nurturing and offer.
Decide on the strategy
How many sales a month do you want your website to make? That’s the first question you need to ask yourself. Once you have this number, apply a standard 2% sales conversion rate to find the number of prospects you need visiting your website.
Let’s use the previous example of wanting an extra 10 sales a month from your website. That means you need 10 x 50 = 500 unique pageviews a month. Now you have real numbers to work with.
Research your market
While a 2% total conversion rate is typical, marketing that attracts more qualified prospects can enjoy conversion rates as high as 4%. And what if each prospect buys two items at once?
That affects the numbers too: 10 x 25 / 2 = 125 unique pageviews a month — far less than 500, and far cheaper when you start considering cost per lead. You can see just how important it is to market to the right prospects.
So start researching. Who are your most profitable customers? How specific can you define them? Where do they hang out on the internet? What keywords do they search for? What other websites do they visit that you may be able to advertise on? What are their social media habits? Once you have all this data, you can start marketing.
Use the right marketing tactics
You’ve now done your research, so start putting it into action. You know all the different places your quality prospects frequent, so how can you get the highest number, of the most quality prospects, for the lowest cost on your part?
To answer this question, take a look at all the marketing tactics available to you: SEO, paid search, display advertising, retargeting, email marketing, social media, content marketing… the list is endless.
What tactics will work right for the unique combination of your
business and your customers?
Nurture prospects towards the sale
When prospects arrive on your website, what’s the first thing they want to see? Hint: It’s not “Buy now.” Prospects want to see, in order:
- Where am I?
- Is this relevant to my issue?
- Can I trust these people?
Only after having these questions answered will a prospect typically jump to “Yes! I want to buy!”
The best way to ensure your website is adequately nurturing prospects is to design a website flowchart. Starting with the homepage, jot down what a prospect experiences when going from one page to the next. Make sure that sales offers are only presented at a point in the flow when your prospect has started to trust you.
Make your offer(s)
It used to be said that a prospect needs 7 “touches” with you to buy. This was in the 90s. Now, it’s more like double that. When it comes time to make an offer, you need to make sure you have a way to make it more than once. That means you need to have a way to keep prospects coming back.
Both content and email marketing are great methods to do this. For example, you can make your website sales offer to join an email list in exchange for a white paper or promotional discount. Once prospects are on the email list, you can keep offering them special deals, week after week, until they buy.
Isn’t this a lot of work?
This methodology works. It follows proven sales techniques, and we’ve seen it produce results time and again. But the big problem most overworked business owners have is:
Isn’t this a lot of work?
It certainly is. That’s why so many business websites simply exist as brochures, not bringing in the sales. To make your website into a business asset, it takes work, just like making any other business asset. The benefit is that once you do, you’ll have the advantage over your competitors who will still only have brochure websites and no strategy, especially if they aren’t working with the best Internet marketing companies.
The other good news is that once you make a complete website sales funnel, your website can almost work autonomously as a business asset that brings in sales — just like any good employee. It’s worth the investment.
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