“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” —John Ruskin
Have you taken a good look at your website lately? Is it helping you reach your customers?
One reason why marketers like social media so much is that you get access to some pretty straightforward numbers: how many people followed you, how many people checked out your website, how many people responded to you.
But what do you do with those numbers? A beautiful website, a shareable video, a friendly conversation on social media: these are all potentially great ways to connect with your customers and make the sale. In order to transform your numbers into sales, however, you need a strategy to make sure that you really are connecting with your customers and not just spinning your wheels.
Are you unintentionally stalling your own deals?
Back in 1923, in the first significant look at how to make advertising scientific, Claude Hopkins said,
"In a wide-reaching campaign we are too apt to regard people in the mass. We try to broadcast our seed in the hope that some part will take root. That is too wasteful to ever bring a profit. We must get down to individuals. We must treat people in advertising as we treat them in person. Center on their desires. Consider the person who stands before you with certain expressed desires.”
Or as he more succinctly put it: "The way to sell goods is to sell them.”
Even the most well-intentioned sales strategies don’t always get results. A survey this year looking at trends in sales (PDF) found that nearly 6 out of 10 deals stalled for one major problem: “sales has not presented value effectively.”
Given that nearly “70% of buyers are halfway to [a] decision” before they even speak to your sales team, this offers you an opportunity to make sure that your own strategy actually aligns your proposal with your customers’ needs.
If your customers can’t see the value of your proposal, then they’re not going to choose you. This is especially relevant when you consider that the same survey found that fully one third of sales teams had trouble “presenting competitive differentiation.” If you don’t know how to differentiate yourself from your competition, how will your customers? If you do, however, you’ve just identified a great strategy to earn and keep your customers’ attention.
Improve your website
Ruskin’s reminder is an important one to keep in mind: “Quality is never an accident.” Is your website really helping you reach your customers and differentiate you from your competitors?
To find out, here’s a quick checklist that you can use to analyze your website:
Does your website have . . .
- Your phone number on every page?
- A contact page with complete and up-to-date information?
- Beautiful pictures of your completed projects?
- An updated blog?
- A clear call to action?
What shouldn’t your website include?
Don’t frustrate your customers by making it hard for them to reach you or by annoying them when they visit your website. Your goal is to make it as easy and frictionless as possible for your customers to choose you. Use your website as an opportunity to show your customers just how well you understand their needs, and how you're going to fulfill those needs.
Even a beautiful website can fail if your customers just admire it without taking the next step. Perhaps your contact information is hard to find (or out of date). Maybe you don’t have a great call to action that motivates your visitors to get in touch. Or maybe your website includes obtrusive “features” (like Flash) that limit the usability of your website or make it inaccessible to visitors on mobile devices.
Want some tips?
Think your website could use an update? Check out our guide, How to Start a Website, for some tips and suggestions on how to make sure your website is helping you reach your customers.