These days, there's a plethora of tools available to allow just about anyone to build a website. But without a well-thought-out marketing plan for it, your website could be just a bunch of pictures and text. Your website needs clear direction, with its primary purpose of attracting leads, prospects and customers to your business. Follow these eight marketing tactics to build a successful website for your business.
Your first step to build a successful website - look professional
Can you make your own website? Yes. Should you? That depends on your graphic skills, marketing prowess, technological capabilities and layout creativity. To build a successful website, means to build a professional-looking one. When creating the design of your website, consider these statistics:
- 20% of users will use the professionalism of your web design as a reason to trust you
- 38% of users will stop engaging with a website they determine to be unappealing in design
- 48% of users will use your web design to evaluate your credibility
- 66% of users prefer to read beautifully-designed content, not plain-looking content
Think of the design of your website this way: You take great care and pride in your product and services. Would you go into an important meeting to pitch your product wearing your pajamas? Most likely not (unless you're selling slippers). Your website is your online appearance. You need to put your best foot forward and take some time and care putting it together. Your web design should be graphically proportional, designed to create conversions and fast loading.
Create a clear offer "above the fold" when building a successful website
As a former newspaper reporter, I have a very clear image in my mind of what creating an offer above the fold means. If you picture a newspaper, folded in half, and you're looking at the front page, everything you see on that front page while folded, is "above the fold." In website terms, this is usually your menu, a hero image and a submenu.
Somewhere in there, you need a clear, decisive offer, often called a lead magnet, for the visitor. This offer shouldn't be your big, expensive package. It should be a tease. Something free that would entice someone to get to know you more (and eventually leading them to your big, expensive package).
This offer can -- and should -- be changed out regularly, to either attract a different audience, or attract more of the same audience. Your offer should also be your method of attracting users to your email list. Take a look at the Beyond the Logo home page below. Do you see the offer? An offer or lead magnet is a key consideration when you build a successful website.
Make your call to action obvious
There's a statistic in the marketing world that states your target audience will "see" your message 9 times before they really "see" it and act on it. Now, add to that the other popular statistic that states a person now has the attention span of 8 seconds (less than a goldfish's estimated attention span of about 8.5 seconds!), and you start to get the feeling that you need to beat someone over the head to get them to hear and see you, right? Rather than resorting to abuse, let's simply make our call to action clear, prominent, on every page, and even a different color than other buttons. Looking above at Beyond the Logo's home page screenshot, can you see the call to action?
Make the navigation simple
Website users are looking for quick, bite-sized information. They don't want the full-course meal yet. Your website navigation menu should contain these four key pages, and probably very little else: Home Page, About Page, Services or Products Page (maybe your shopping cart link here) and a Contact Page. Keep your menu uncluttered and in the same spot on every page, preferably at the top, where users are already trained to look for your menu. Add submenus if you absolutely need to, but keep the main menu simple.
More images, less words
We are becoming increasingly more visual. The home page of your website should have very few words. Save the long descriptions for interior pages and encourage users to click on "Read More" links to get more information. LIkewise, your images should ideally be of happy people using your product, or of people conveying the emotion they will feel after using your product or service. Almost every transaction is an emotional transaction, not necessarily a logical one. Purchasing a manicure or massage is usually not a logical decision. We make these purchases for the feeling it will give us -- relaxation, healthier, more professional nails, pain relief, etc. Your pictures should reflect those emotions to the viewer, and is what I like to call "success-optimized" photos.
Also, please make sure your product photos make your products look attractive. This shouldn't have to be said.For some great examples of product photography, take a stroll around etsy for a while. You'll see tons of great examples of fantastic, alluring product photos... plus some real doozies that should have never been uploaded.
Break down your services to no more than three main offerings
Many times in the service world, we offer a slew of services to consumers or other businesses. The problem with listing them all on a page is it confuses the user, and dilutes your message. Try to pick your no more than your top three revenue generators, and promote those on your website. Your other services can be pitched to clients after they've contacted you. Better yet, you could use the additional services to upsell to clients after they've purchased one of the three main services. You could also list your other offerings on a different page and call it Additional Services or something similar.
Content is king
Content marketing is critical these days and appropriate for all business types. Your website content can include a blog (posted to regularly), testimonials from clients and customers, and feeds from your social media accounts. Blogs in particular are important, just alone for the sake of search engine performance and optimization. Make a strong effort to create new content for your website, on a monthly basis at a minimum. Weekly updates or blog posts are ideal, but your business may benefit from even daily updates. A meal prepping service may want to post a daily recipe, for example.
Search out your competition and see how often they're posting new content, and at a minimum keep up with them. In some industries (like the HVAC industry) you'll find that even posting new content once a month will beat your competition. The more content you post, the more Google has to index and serve to users looking for your service.
Another reason to post consistent content is it's a great way to build professional credibility. In the users' minds, a website offering a wealth of free, helpful and relevant content reflects a business with open doors and a willingness to help the customer.
build a successful website that's responsive
A responsive web design simply means your website has been coded to first look at how your user is coming to your site, and "responding" to the user by delivering your website to them in a format that will be clear and readable. More than half of your website viewers will come to your site from their smartphones. This means that your site needs to not only look fantastic on a computer or laptop, but also look very professional on a smartphone screen. If a user has to enlarge your page to read (or worse click on links), you'll lose them. Make sure you're testing your site against several monitor sizes, tablets and smartphones. Otherwise, you risk losing more than half of your viewers -- and more than half of your potential sales.
There you have it -- 8 marketing tactics to use in your web design to put your best foot forward! Implement as many of these tactics as possible to optimize your business' online success. I've also created a Cheatsheet for you, totally free!
P.S. - If you need help with any of these tactics, please contact us. We love creating websites!