If I were to ask those of you who have a marketing website how much you spent on it, the answers would range anywhere from zero dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. If I were to follow up that question by asking how well you feel your website has worked for you, you might expect that the more favorable responses would lie with the people that had spent the most money. Well, for those of you who are not looking to empty their bank accounts to start their online marketing, I’m happy to report that the money you spend has very little to do with how successful your website is. All you have to do is ask yourself three simple questions:
Question 1. “What do I do?”
A while ago I was looking at buying a gift for a friend of mine who had a baby. I figured she was probably getting sick of getting onesies and diapers, so a cute little basket of baby-themed sugar cookies might give her that little extra sugar rush to plow through a midnight feeding or two. After some Googling, I found a website that sold the cutest little baby-bottle cookies I’d ever seen. At least I think they sold them, maybe they were just showing pictures of them. They might have been caterers, maybe the cookies were from a baby shower they catered. I’m not really sure, they could have been selling the little blue tin that the cookies were in, it wasn’t really clear. So I left the site and didn’t buy anything.
I’m sure you have all been to a website where it just wasn’t clear what the website was for. I’ll also bet you didn’t put in a whole lot of time investigating! I’ve seen my clients make this mistake and it can be hard to view your site from an outsider’s perspective. It’s great that your family and friends love your new website, but they KNOW what you do!
Quick Fix: Say what your company does in one sentence. Now put this one on each page of your site. Don’t use fancy jargon and make the sentence about the customer, not about you. When in doubt, pretend you are explaining things to a 6-year-old.
Question 2: “What do I want you to do?”
So, let’s say we have “Bob’s Plumbing” and he was smart and decided to put “I am a plumber and I unclog drains” on his website. I have a clogged drain and am happy to see that Bob seems to be the exact type of professional I need to hire. But I have zero patience, and I don’t see how I’m supposed to contact Bob and have him come help me. I’m sure his phone number or e-mail address is there somewhere. It’s probably on a “Contact Us” page that I could get to, if only I was willing to read the fourth item in his menu. I click on the next plumber down on my Google search page and never look back.
I’m sure a lot of you have heard of a “call to action”, but this is basically what you want the person visiting your website to do. It’s not just for e-commerce sites, if you have a website, you obviously want the visitor to do something. Give you their email address, sign up for a newsletter, call you, look at the latest picture of your cat in a silly hat. Having a specific call to action on your site will direct the viewer’s focus and allow you to measure your websites efficiency in achieving your goals.
Quick Fix: Decide what action you want your customers to take when they come to your site and emphasize this action all over your site.
Question 3: “Am I talking too much?”
We all learned in school that reading is fundamental, but most visitors to your website are not going to read unless it’s absolutely necessary. Chances are, very few people are going to make it past two lines of the copy you spend hours creating. Your website visitors are looking for answers, so you have got to figure out a way to give them to them quickly.
Quick Fix: Whenever possible use a video, diagram or any other type of media besides words. In fact, why am I typing this? Look at these pictures.