If you had a retail store, you’d make sure your store was sparkling clean; your products were stocked and easy-to-reach; and all the aisles were easy to walk through-you’d do all this preparation before you advertised your grand opening, right?
You’d do other things, too, such as taking care of the details that would make your customers happy, like having plenty of properly trained/friendly staff; an easy check-out process and you’d also heavily promote the thing you wanted people to buy the most of, right?
Before you advertised and brought an influx of traffic into your store, you would make sure your store and staff were ready to deal with these customers, right? Otherwise, no matter how many people you bring in, if they don’t get great customer service and can’t find what they need, they probably won’t be back. Not to mention that they’ll tell 10 other people how poorly run your store was.
This same type of thinking applies to your website, as well: providing outstanding customer service.
The same concept applies to your website: before you link promote it in your Social Media marketing and before you get found in Google, be sure your website is ready. Unfortunately, many website owners, from the entrepreneur to the huge corporation, fail to grasp this concept and end up wasting thousands of dollars on a pretty website that doesn’t work.
Your website should be your digital salesperson, greeting, informing and directing visitors to the point of purchase. The point of “purchase” can be for something other than a product or service; it could be to contact you; make a donation; to subscribe to your newsletter; to fill out your survey; to download your E-book or some other “buy-in”.
Your website can work for you like a whole team of properly trained people, only instead of an 8 hour shift, your site can work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and it doesn’t need a lunch break.
How can you make your website work like a team of sales people? It’s all in the planning.
How can your website work for you and convert visitors into customers just like a real life team of well-trained employees would do? It’s all in the planning. The pretty stuff comes afterward. If you want your website to work for you, you need to cook the ingredients in a certain order: prioritize the information architecture and copywriting OVER the design. The design is important but all too often website owners want to begin with the way it will look rather than the way it will sell.
The first two steps to take toward building a website that works are:
Step One – Create a plan: The first step in creating a strategic, results-oriented website, even before bringing targeted traffic in, must be to properly plan and execute how to deal with those potential customers coming into your website. Decide on your strategy so you can get good results. Strategy involves:
- studying the competition to see what you can offer that they aren’t offering;
- researching a niche; researching your target audience/tribe;
- then deciding on a goal with action steps.
Step Two – Wireframes: Just like a sculptor would create the wireframe before adding the clay, you should create the wireframe of your website before adding words, color and detail, which will be shaped (written, designed and programmed) into a final form. You can do this yourself on paper: map out the goal of every page before you get your copy professionally written by a Web-experienced writer. Decide whom you’re talking to (who are your potential raving fans, your tribe, your community?) and organize your information accordingly. Be sure to include a call-to-action on every page (example: “Download your free white paper with tips on…” –in exchange for their email address and first name, so you can market to them later on, too) and an easy purchase process or easy way to contact you. Sounds like we’re talking about marketing instead of “just a website”, doesn’t it? Knowing how to create a website that is a marketing tool and not just a pretty thing to look at is crucial if you want your business or organization to succeed online.
Just as the retail store owner stocks her shelves and trains her staff before the grand opening of her store, you need to anticipate what your website visitors will need before they arrive at your site. Provide the information they need right away. Don’t rely on your navigation menu to guide them around your site-be sure to put text links in your copy to lead them, like taking them by the hand, up and down your “aisles” or in this case, your website pages. The thing you want them to buy or do or take action on should be featured so they can’t overlook it.
Before your site is found in Google, be sure your website is ready to properly deal with that targeted traffic by making it an easy-to-use website.