Defining The Attributes Of An Effective Website

Just having a website for your business is not enough to guarantee success. In this article we discuss the three things your site must do if you want it to be an effective tool that generates income.

We have also included a video segment that addresses this topic.

1. Capture Leads

An effective website is more than an online brochure. It is a sales funnel that consistently captures well-qualified leads for you to follow-up on. All of your advertising should refer to the site… Your business cards, phone book ads, coupons, signage, radio/TV spots, etc. If it’s any form of advertising your website should be prominently included.

I am amazed by how often I see or hear advertising that doesn’t include a website address. I am even more surprised when I discover that these same companies actually have a website and are not promoting it. Including your site address on all your advertising is a simple but powerful way to maximize its effectiveness and get the most bang for your marketing buck.

Once they have arrived at your website it’s your job to convince visitors to do business with you. How do you do that?

Here are some tips:

  • Have a website that is professional and attractive with intuitive navigation. (Read our article on why your website should be an investment NOT an expense for more specific info)
  • Use persuasive copy that has been written by a professional copywriter who specializes in writing for the Web.
  • Speak to the emotions of your visitors instead of just providing information.
  • Explain the benefits your prospective customers will realize by using your products or services instead of just talking about features.
  • Have a strong, obvious, clear call-to-action.
  • Make it as easy as possible for them to enter your sales process once they are ready to do so.

2. Convert Leads to Customers

The best way to do this is to add value to your prospective customers. Give them something for nothing; an incentive for visiting your site again and again and again.

Here are some ideas that will help drive repeat traffic:

  • Implement an electronic newsletter module that captures visitors’ name and e-mail address.
    Send free, valuable information of interest to your target market through e-mail regularly (at least once a month). Instead of including everything in the e-mails themselves send the first paragraph of each article and include links to your website for the rest of the content.
  • Offer a series of free white papers.
    These white papers should NOT just be a bunch of fluffy sales pieces that offer no value. As with the e-newsletters, write papers about something that your customers would be interested in and which offer genuinely helpful information. Create a form for your visitor’s contact information (so you can follow-up), and redirect them to a link where they can read or download each white paper individually after submitting their details.
  • Facilitate interaction between prospective customers and your employees.
    When people are in the pre-sales phase of the purchasing process they usually have questions. Allow them to post those questions in a forum that is monitored by your sales staff so they get a timely response. Capitalize on those who are ready to buy now by implementing a live chat feature on your site. By being able to answer their questions immediately in real-time you will greatly increase your odds of closing the sale.
  • Publish a blog.
    People love to consume information. A blog is a unique communication medium that allows you to build credibility as an expert in your industry and establish a relationship with your site visitors. If you have something interesting and valuable to say then they will come back frequently to read your posts. In order for this tool to be effective, however, you must publish fresh content regularly – at least every other week.

The more frequently people visit your website the better chance you will have of converting them to customers. By implementing ideas like those listed above you will make your sales team’s job much easier and “prime the pump” for the sale. Once they are ready to buy provide the means for them to do so, whether it involves calling you, requesting an estimate or using your shopping cart.

3. Retain Customers for Life

Research shows that keeping one existing customer is five to seven times more profitable than attracting a new one. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that you should do everything in your power to retain your current customer base. An effective website helps you accomplish that by serving your customers long after the sale. It can provide helpful resources that save them time and money.

Here are examples of such content and features:

  • Live chat
  • Payment of invoices online
  • Interactive product manuals
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Product/service suggestion form

Read our customer service article for more tips on how to use your website to retain customers for life.