Do not read this post unless you want more customers or clients via your website.
Great, let’s talk about how we can make your website a customer generating machine!
The problem with many websites out there (and probably even yours) is that it was built as either a graphic design masterpiece to show off your designer skills, or as a hastily put together after-thought in a rush to start your business.
So, in an effort to take you from “meh” to “OMG – I can’t believe these customers are calling me”, let me show you how to refocus your website into a customer-luring siren song!
First, you need to start with…
1. A Great Website Foundation
Every website needs a solid foundation.
Just like your house, there is no point painting the walls if you built it on quicksand.
Same goes with a website. There is no point having someone pay your website a visit if they are only going to leave minutes later, often unsatisfied.
Ideally, your website needs the following in place in order to get things off to a great start:
An Attractive Design
If you want to show potential customers that you are serious about your business, you need to present a professional face to the internet. This means having your website professionally designed or, at the very least, looking that way.
If you owned a brick and mortar business, you wouldn’t let a novice paint your store front. It’s too important – you would want to make sure it was done right. Well, your website needs a professional coat of paint too!
You won’t get a second chance to create a great first impression, right? And this post from ConversionXL shows that first impressions are 94% design related.
So make sure yours is up to scratch!
Tip: If you’re on WordPress, check out ThemeLab. They build good-looking, high-quality themes for WordPress that are easy to use.
Keep Your Website Running Like a Well-Oiled Machine
Like a fine-tuned car, a website needs to be maintained and tuned to run optimally and avoid hiccups. Although this may not seem that important, a lot of the things you do to keep a website running actually impact your visitors as well. Imagine if your ecommerce store was down for an hour?
Some examples of good website maintenance include:
- Ensuring your software is up to date (in the case of WordPress – updating plugins, themes and WordPress itself)
- Keeping your website running fast, so you don’t lose customers before they even arrive
- Adding security to keep the hackers out, and your website up and running
Make the Most Important Things Easy to Find
This is where your navigation and links in places like the sidebar and footer come into play.
You need to ensure the most important pages on your website are easy to find.
Things like your contact page, your product or service pages, or any other pages of primary importance in generating income (or leads) for your business need to be super easy to find.
Don’t assume someone will go hunting. It ain’t duck season, it’s a business.
So make it as easy as possible for your visitors to get in touch and buy stuff. If you need an example, look no further than OptinMonster’s navigation menu:
Many of the above points may not seem like they have anything to do with conversion, but think about it: If your website doesn’t look great or load fast, you are going to lose your potential customers before they even start getting to know you.
So, a solid website foundation is crucial to your success online.
2. Drive Your Visitors Toward Your Goals
Understanding that your website is there to get people to fulfill your main business goals is the key to your online success.
Sure, your website needs to look great and run smoothly, but layered on top of that is something I will call conversion-focused design.
Sounds pretty complex, huh? But it actually is not that hard (once you know what it means).
The idea is simple: always keep in mind you are trying to get your visitor to a specific goal (or goals) on your website.
What those goals are depends on you and the type of website you have.
Some examples include:
- Getting visitors to sign up to your email list (blogs, businesses, etc)
- Luring visitors to sign up for a free trial (SAAS – online tools, memberships, etc)
- Asking users to fill out your contact form (services or coaching businesses)
So, now that you see what kinds of goals you may have, how do you get users to them?
The easiest way is with a call to action.
This normally consists of a headline (and other supporting text) along with a button that takes the visitors to your goal (a page, a form. etc). These can be scattered throughout your website in strategic locations (eg. when a user is thinking about something related to your goal) as well being placed in some more common places such as…
- the top of each page
- the sidebar
- the footer
- in a popup
…and many more.
One of the best places to grab people’s attention is in the first section of your homepage (the most visited page on your website). Often, this is called the hero section of your website as it showcases your hero. No, not superman– a product, service, or offering!
One of the best examples of this on a blog is Derek Halpern’s Social Triggers. He has been promoting this idea for a long time, and his latest version is very sleek indeed.
As you can clearly see below, he is focused on getting you onto his email list:
Another classic example of a strategically placed call to action is Pat Flynn’s about page. He knows people who are reading about him are very interested, so he gives them a call to action to sign up to his email list so he can keep in touch:
Obviously, these examples are focused on email lists, but you can take the ideas and tweak them to your business goals quite easily.
3. Keep The Search Engines Happy
A lot of people think search engine optimization is all about Google (and Bing).
That certainly used to be true, but the search algorithms have changed so much in recent years that the tables have truly turned.
Today, SEO is all about your visitors.
Which is perfect for making more sales too!
So, when we talk about keeping search engines happy, we are actually referring to your visitors/customers too.
There are a lot of factors that come into play on a website to make your search engine dreams come true, but they are all worth it in the long run. We have touched on a few of them in the first section, by taking care of your website fundamentals, but now, let’s dive a bit deeper.
1. Mobile Ready?
Last year mobile search overtook desktop search. And, Google made it very clear mobile is critical to search when they released their mobile website tester. This test can quickly tell you whether your site will look good, and function well, on a mobile device.
So, if you are not sure about your site, give it a try now. If the results are negative/red (and you have checked it on a few phones too) think about having this issue solved ASAP.
Note: It also depends on how many mobile visitors you actually get, so check your analytics too.
2. On Page SEO – Tweak Your Pages
Even if you are not an SEO expert, it is worth spending an hour or so learning how to tweak your website to get the most search engine traffic. This is what we call on page SEO, and this article from Brian Dean of Backlinko will show you what a perfectly optimized page looks like.
This may seem like something really small and not worth your time. However, I have worked with clients who have achieved 20% traffic increases in one month from these kinds of simple changes.
So, ignore on page SEO at your peril!
4. Build Your Email List
Your email list is actually one of your most important business assets aside from your website (or store, if you have one).
The reason for this is that it gives you direct access to the inboxes of the people who have given you permission to contact them via email. Not only that, but according to this Econsultancy survey email is one of the most effect sales channels there is.
So, although you may be having a lot of success with your shop, your website or your offline networking, it is always worth building your email list. Even if it is just for a rainy day (when all your other marketing channels dry up – no pun intended).
There are many different ways to go about building an email list, but one of the simplest ways to get started is to come up with a simple offer for your future customers. This could be anything from:
- A simple checklist
- A how-to guide
- A list of resources
- A small video course
Just make sure your offer is helpful, actionable, and solves a common problem most of your potential customers will have. However, always leave them wanting a little bit more and suggest they get in touch if they need further help. After all, that “further help” could mean using your services or products.
Another trick to using an email list effectively for growing your customer base is to continuously feed it with new content. That might mean a weekly newsletter, previous blog content, helpful tips and case studies (all thrown in a handy autoresponder series).
The idea is to build trust, show expertise, and demonstrate you understand your customer’s problems. Eventually, it will lead them right back to your door.
Luckily, there are many helpful tools for getting people on your email list. OptinMonster is a great and cost-effective solution. With features such as Exit-Intent Technology, the Floating Bar, a drag-and-drop form builder, MonsterLinks, and Mobile-Friendly Popups, OptinMonster has a solution for every list-building need.
The other part of this puzzle is to get yourself an email management system, which is usually online. (Don’t think you can maintain it in your contacts, it won’t work). Free tools to start with include: MailChimp or Mad Mimi. Others to consider include: Aweber, ActiveCampaign, and ConvertKit.
Time To Spruce Up Your Website
Now that you have some ideas on how you can improve your website and get more customers, it is time to take some action.
Rather than trying to implement all of the things I have mentioned, I recommend you do the following:
- Find the lowest hanging fruit for your website/business and start there (slow website, no contact form, no obvious goals, etc)
- Then move on to the next most important change you think will help drive more business
Take one step at a time, always improving and watching out for ways to make your website better, faster, more goal-focused and customer-helping!
Go get those customers!