A website is one of the first things most small service based business owners focus on. Once your site is up and live, you feel real, and then of course you want people to visit it. You might assume that if people arrive there, they will be so enthralled with what you are offering that they will pick up the phone immediately to call you.
That would be great but it takes a strategy to make anything like that happen.
Websites have now replaced the brochures of the past. Some business owners still print brochures, but in truth, most potential customers will grab the brochure to get the web address. Once they visit your website, the brochure becomes less relevant!
All good web designers and SEO experts can help you get people to your site by key words and other magic tools. You can do your part by posting your blogs, writing articles and other things that drive people to your site. However once they get there, none of those things matter.
A good metaphor for this process is the traditional job interview. You write a stellar resume and cover letter, send it off, and if you have done a good job, you get an interview. Once you arrive for the interview, your resume becomes irrelevant because it is all about your relationship with the interviewers and how well you market yourself in that room.
Once people arrive on your website, how they got there no longer important for them. You want them to stay there and navigate through the site and get involved. You want them to enter your pipeline. Here are five important things you need to do in order to increase the chances of that happening!
1. Build Empathy. Building empathy with your niche client is the very first thing you need to do. This means you need to know exactly who this niche person is, what problem their problem is and how they feel. It is all about feelings, not ideas and thoughts. In one second people need to feel that you are speaking to them and their issue. They need to feel like you get it.
Especially in service based businesses this is true because you are selling your service. Whether you are offering web development, coaching, therapy, copy writing or design services, it is your help that you are marketing, so people need to get the connection with you first thing.
2. Benefits. After building empathy you need to speak to the benefits people will receive that will directly solve their problem you have just mentioned above. People buy benefits. The benefits are not your programs or products.
Benefits are the outcome for the client and how this will help their life or business. How it will make a significant difference to them. It is all about them, not you. Empathy and benefits are the two main things that need to show up above the scroll line on your home page. This is your core marketing message.
3. Free value. Offering something of high value for free is essential. Whatever this is, it needs to be directly related to their problem and the help they want. This is the best call to action on your homepage. Many people just print their phone number and invite people to call them. Very, very few people will pick up the phone and call. However they will download something if it looks like it will offer immediate help.
They key is to have a web form that people need to fill out in order to get it. You are trading this valuable freebie for their email address. Too many people build lovely looking websites and there is no way to track who has been there.
The freebie is a way for find out who has liked your message enough to fill out that wee form. It is gold. Of course your freebie needs to be good value and have a captivating headline. The headline is what will grab people.
4. Good navigation. I can’t tell you how many websites I go to and when I get to the bottom of the home page it just ends with a phone number to call. Even worse, I have seen some that say, “Thank you for visiting my site.” That kind of thank you message is an ending line and it communicated that you are done.
In fact, the home page is only the beginning and needs to lead onward. The bottom of each page needs to have a link to the next page or pages. It needs to be easy for people to know where to go next. If it isn’t easy, they will click off in a micro-second.
Imagine your website is like a yellow brick road with streets branching out. People don’t see the road or know where to go if you don’t have road signs and invitations. Links to other pages throughout your site is essential. One word highlighted and linked to a page with further information keeps people involved and they end of seeing way more of your site than the home page.
5. Multiple communication styles. People are all different and learn in different ways. Some people are visual and others are auditory or kinesthetic. Most people unconsciously share information the way they like to receive it. However, your way may only connect to a third of your visitors.
People will read your words more easily when there is eye candy. This means using spacing between lines. No more than four or five lines without a space is hard to read online. Using bold and italics and colors help as well, however it needs to be done so it is not chaotic. Too many different fonts are not easy on the eye. One font is optimum.
Occasional graphics or pictures can also help communicate your message. Good videos and audios casts are excellent for building empathy and connection. Making your site interactive gets people engaged. Self-assessments, tools, blogs are examples. Think of all the things that will provide more experiences for your visitors.
If you do just these five things your website will provide way more opportunity for people to stay and get involved. There are more things to add to the list, but this is a good beginning. A print brochure can’t do most of what I mentioned above.
The potential of websites is endless, however it requires you to really know your niche client and to acutely know what they want and how to connect with them. Have a look at your website from the eyes of your niche client and see how many of these five things are working for you.