When I sit down with an executive or business owner to review their company's web site, there are usually several issues that need to be addressed. Some are obvious (i.e. poor design), while others are not (i.e. poor lead generation). It almost goes without saying, that a company's website can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. But in order to be effective it must be:
- Mobile friendly
- Differentiating from the competition
- Attracting prospects
- Engaging users
- Generating leads
If any of these criteria are missing, then the website is not living up to it's full potential, and your company could be missing out on increased awareness, traffic, leads and revenue.
1. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
I'm amazed at how many companies still do not have mobile-friendly websites. We're well into 2016, which means the iPhone has been with us for nearly a decade. Also, Google has made it clear that they are giving priority to mobile-friendly sites in their mobile search results.
More than half of the pages on the web are now viewed from mobile devices. If a site is not mobile-friendly, users are not going to stick around. They will most likely end up on a competitor's mobile-friendly site.
The benefits of a mobile-friendly site are fairly obvious:
- Positive brand perception and user experience
- Easier for users to navigate
- Less frustration for users
- Increased rankings in the search engines resulting in increased traffic
- Increased lead generation
- Increased engagement, including more pages viewed, longer time on-site, and less bounces (a bounce is when a user visits a web page and then immediately leaves).
The following before-and-after example illustrates the point. For starters, the redesigned, mobile-friendly version accomplishes two very important goals: Make a good first impression, and clearly communicate the brand positioning.
One more painful example of how a non-mobile-friendly site can aversely effect website performance is shown in the the following website analytics (stats). Over 70% of mobile users leave this site after viewing only one page. This is also known as a bounce. Bounces are bad. The biggest culprit? You guessed it—they see that the site is not mobile-friendly and they bail.
I wonder how much potential revenue is walking out the door each month.
2. Are you differentiating from the competition?
Many companies fail to stand out from the crowd. They tend to say the same things: ”We’re experienced, we have great products, great service, competitive prices, etc.” The problem is that this eventually leads to price-focused, commoditization.
But what if you could stand out from your competition by staking out a unique position in the mind of your prospects?
This is where positioning comes in. Positioning is simply what you do to the mind of a prospect. That is, you position a product or service in the mind of a prospect.
Positioning is what comes to mind when you think about a brand. For instance, what comes to mind when you see these brands: Ritz Carlton, Lexus, Coke, Under Armor, Apple, Southwest Airlines.
These companies have mastered positioning, and no wonder, with their monstrous marketing budgets. Fortunately, any company can create a strong position.
Why is positioning so important?
- It's the foundation for all of your marketing communications
- It differentiates from the competition
- It's difficult for the competition to unseat an established position
- It acts as a unifying force within a company
Answering three questions that prospects ask will help you differentiate, and create a position.
- "So what?
- "What's in it for me?"
- "Why should I buy from you rather than your competitor?"
3. Attracting Prospects
You can have the greatest website in the world, but if you're not driving traffic to it, then what's the point?
Take a look at your website analytics to get a snapshot of your website traffic—including number of visitors, average pages viewed, and average time on site. Save this snapshot as a baseline so you can refer back to it in a few months after you've made some enhancements.
There are many ways to drive traffic to a website, but the most effective methods are:
A good goal is to rank on the first two pages of Google which will drive more traffic to your site.
For example, one of our clients sells used auto parts. They wanted to be on the first page of Google. A lofty goal, no doubt. So, after we optimized their pages, we were able to get them on the first page of Google's search results. And their website traffic went through the roof. And so did their sales.
The structure of your website plays an important role in SEO—especially blog articles and landing pages. For more information, please see our article, 6 Steps to SEO Success.
Online Advertising such as Google Adwords or Facebook ads are another great way to drive targeted traffic to your site. Last, but not least, is having an active presence on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN.
Now that you've attracted visitors to your site, it's important to keep them there. There are several factors that will increase users' time on your site, and keep them coming back for more, including:
- A professional looking design
- Dynamic, relevant and up-to-date content
- Interactive tools and apps
- High quality photography and imagery
- Case studies (including ROI)
- Product showcase or portfolio
- Online catalogs
- Online store
- Landing Pages (designed around specific topics, products, services, case studies, etc.)
You can drive all the traffic in the world to your site, but if you don't convert any of that traffic to leads, then what's the point? Unfortunately many company's don't have a strategy or a website that can effectively capture leads. Their one method is usually a form on their Contact Us page. Problem is, 99.99% of users are not going to fill it out. Most likely because they don't want a sales person contacting them, or they're not ready to buy. Most likely they're in research and evaluation mode.
So it's important to provide helpful, educational content that they can use to make their buying decision.
The type of content you provide will depend on where they are in their "buyer's journey." Here are a few content ideas for each stage:
- Awareness Stage: Research reports, analysis, white paper briefs, educational content, checklists, case studies, and blog articles.
- Consideration Stage: Product comparisons, expert guides, in-depth white papers , data-driven case studies, product literature, free sample or trial.
- Decision Stage: Vendor comparisons, product comparisons, and live demos.
Make sure your pages are optimized for the search engines and include compelling call to actions that point to valuable content offers. You'll start to notice that users will give you their contact information in exchange for your content offers if they perceive you as a knowledgeable and trusted resource.
There are numerous factors that contribute to a site's success or failure. Too many to cover in this article, but taking care of these five areas will go along way to ensure your site is producing better results.
Hopefully this article has been helpful. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or need assistance.