What is a Website?
In technical terms, a website is a collection of pages, and related content (unique and curated), used as a method to communicate with the prospective buyer, investor, stakeholder, or member of a team, group or organization.
The intent is to share information, images, videos, audio, PDFs, or other media. The site should be clean, easy to use, easy to read, and information should be easy to find.
In the early days of website design, websites were essentially digital brochures. They included the same content in their PDF brochure as was on the website.
The intent was exactly the same, and the call to action was non-existent, typically including a "Contact Us" section with phone number, email address, mailing address, and a contact person.
In my early days of learning HTML, I built a lot of one-page websites for $300. I never saw them again, never touched them again, and they never asked me to make changes. They sat idle, SEO was not a thought or consideration, they simply wanted to put it on their business cards and brochures.
Websites have come a long way in both design, user experience, features, functions, and overall effectiveness for businesses.
websites of today
Today, websites are used to provide the same functions as a team of employees. The majority of companies, today, are now ran exclusively online. There are no sales people, there are no administrative assistants, there is a company owner or owners, and a company to fulfill the order or sale that was just placed on the website.
Amazon has fulfillment centers. Many other companies have followed suit and are now moving online.
Lawn Care companies, landscapers, and other service based businesses no longer need sales people to conduct outbound sales activities, everything is found online, and with the right mixture of sales copy, story telling, reasons to buy, tips and DIY info, among industry data, knowledge or pointers - websites can carry the bulk of the load when done right.
The magic of websites
Every month, you get visitors clicking on your website, buying your products via e-commerce, reading your articles, and watching your videos. Those activities are tracked by software, and we are able to optimize our websites to ensure we're delivering more of what our customers want. We utilize Google Analytics to track visitors. We see what time of day they're visiting, which device they're using, which pages they're clicking on, and how many are ready to buy - but don't quite buy. We can use that data to help improve upon the customer experience and make improvements to the offer, test promotions, and get those customers to commit to making a buying decision. A website isn't just an graphically beautiful location for people to visit, it is now one of the most important business tools we own, and is an ongoing process that is improved upon every month, every week and every day. We make predictable analyses based on what consumers are telling us about your business, products, services, or offers; then, bring those directly to them with a highly-optimized website.
Our websites help generate interest in the eyes and minds of our prospective buyers. We share stories of why we started the business, stories about why customers choose us. We share stories of someone leaving a competitor to come to us. We share the various uses of our products, goods or services to help generate curiosity and interest in the minds of our buyers.
Reasons to Buy
We dish up reasons prospects should be doing business with us using social proof in the form of customer reviews, testimonials, video testimonials, and success stories or case studies. All of the aforementioned are great additions to any website to help prospects making buying decisions.
Another great aspect of a website is that you can prequalify your buyers before they make their final decision. Businesses use surveys, quick questionnaires, or other similar tools to prequalify prospective buyers before securing an appointment, call or in-person meeting. These are all great tools that websites can provide to you.
Tech Support or Troubleshooting
New technology allows us to implement chat functions on your website to help visitors find exactly what they're looking for without getting lost in various pages. These chat functions track all of the requests and help us improve upon your website to help customers find answers to immediate questions. Instead of waiting for a call back, the majority of websites today have options to help troubleshoot an issue, while also giving pointers to help solve an issue.
Are you focusing on booking appointments via your website? We can use websites to create appointment funnels to help build value, generate interest and ultimately help you book more appointments through content marketing. Pet grooming businesses, chiropractors, dentists, health coaches, trainers, and many others use online appointment booking tools to fill their calendars and collect payments. These are all great and invaluable tools that websites can offer.
Selling Products or Services
If you're selling products or services online, content in the form of articles, blog posts, images, videos or audio files, along with PDF downloads are all great tools that can be implemented into a website. Today's businesses are using a strategy called, "Sales Funnels" which essentially use a wide range of media (video, course, PDF download, or free trial) to help facilitate buying decisions. These sales funnels are multi-step marketing strategies that implement a wide range of tools. All of these tools are available in the website builders. Isn't that great?
Long Sales Cycles
Companies that have long sales cycles typically have them due to the complexity of their product, service or the prospects buying cycle. Websites have been found to be great tools to help shorten sales cycles - at scale. I don't know if we'll ever get to a point where the website outperforms the sales professional. However, we can get more prospects into our pipeline with a website as the website works 24/7/365 by generating traffic from Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other platforms where you're sharing your published website content. The new buyer, "Buyer 2.0" as identified by Seth Godin in 2014, is the buyer that is self-informed, well-researched, and self-sold typically makes buying decisions based on their own findings (without the use of a sales professional closing him/her). Long sales cycles can be shorted through the usage of articles; 10 ways to lower your light bills with (insert product), 8 tips to efficient patio lighting, 5 stories of business owners that drastically improved their sales through LED lighting, etc. You can also integrate these articles into an email newsletter series. Once signed up for the email series, they get a daily email with articles from your website. This is a strategy used to help educate and engage the prospects more as they inch closer to the final sale.
Websites That Rank
The biggest question is, "How do I get my website to show up?" Well, everything mentioned above is exactly how you get websites to rank, rank well, and rank well for the long-haul. The research has proven that websites with more content that meets the 3 Rs (Real, Reliable, and Relevant) tend to outrank their competitors, and be seen as authority sites. According to Project 24 founders, "1 post a week" is sufficient. They're speaking of blog posts - here at Superior Marketing, we call them articles. To us, they are sales articles that are meant to (1) Educate, (2) Engage, and (3) Serve which are all critical elements of closing more sales.
Websites That Convert
Websites that convert tend to have a strong single-track focus. That focus is to schedule an appointment, request a quote, request a demo, request, schedule a call, schedule a visit, etc. Whatever the call to action is - this should be the primary focus of the first impression page. These websites are structured properly, tell the right story, include the reasons to buy, display strong social proof with videos, testimonials, reviews, etc. They also answer all of your immediate questions, and provide tips and pointers to using the product, good or service.
Conversely, websites that have 3 or more goals on the home page tend to convert poorly or not at all. Book an appointment, buy today, learn more, see if you quality, etc. This is the primary reason companies are moving to sales funnels. The landing page is laser focused with content, resources, social proof and all of the other aforementioned aspects to simply convert on that action. Companies today have a "Download the ebook" funnel, buy now funnel, appointment funnel, webinar funnel, recruitment funnel, free sample funnel, etc. All of these funnels are part of the overall sales process, and by entering the prospect into the funnel, they're not on a journey to ultimately become a buyer.
All of this takes more time than slapping some graphics together on WIX or Squarespace.
Is Your website used as a tool, or overpriced fancy brochure?
Schedule a Free Web Design Discussion
If you're considering redesigning your website and going with a high-priced web designer, schedule a time to chat about your options. We place an emphasis on growth-driven design to help you utilize your website as a business tool and do the heavy lifting of marketing and sales.