How To Make More Money With Your Website
If you happen to be like most small business entrepreneurs, chances are you’ve been unable to identify how valuable your website truly is. I see it all the time. When I meet with new and potential customers, most of them know that they need a website, but they don’t know why. Most of the time, the need is based on a cliche that has developed within the marketplace. Everybody has one and people don’t want to be left out. And sadly, this is where it all goes downhill.
You see, in a client’s mind, they just want something to showcase to their potential customers and point them to a place where they can get more information. Others people just want a place where their prospects can come “check them out”. But what many business owners have failed to realize is that a carefully crafted website can increase their overall sales and profits, directly or indirectly, through the power of online lead generation.
Direct vs. Indirect.
Illustrating a direct increase is easy. Take an e-commerce for example: Many store owners (and even their web developers) don’t really understand the psychological tactics that lead to an increase in website conversions. When you create a more enjoyable experience for the users on your page, the end-result is usually an increase in sales.
A few ways to boost your website’s user experience include:
- Making the checkout process as easy as possible (think about websites that have 1-Click purchasing features, such as Amazon.com)
- Design a “buy now” or “add to cart” button that stands out.
- Enable exit-popups when your visitors are about to leave your page. This tool should alert customers that they have items in their cart and have not completed a purchase.
Indirect selling on the other hand, is a little more oblique, but the rules are the same. Let’s take a wine distributor client of mine for example. The owner of this company approached us wanting a simple website; one that would be good enough to establish his web presence and make his business look more “professional”. And although he wasn’t going to be selling his products online, he still knew how important it was to have a one.
What he didn’t know however, was that he could use his website to generate leads. He could use his website as a means to collect information from prospects who were interested in what he had to offer and then structure a targeted email campaign that would deliver valuable information to them. And if that wasn’t good enough already, he could also run Facebook ads in order to generate new potential customers through a paid traffic source. This would allow him to turn his ordinary website into a sales generating asset.
Do You Want To Make Art Or Make Money?
One of the biggest things entrepreneurs fail to understand is whom their website is built for. A successful website caters to it’s audience and not the company itself. Your prospects are tuned into “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me.) So be sure to speak their language.
Right now, we are a seeing a massive change how websites are built. Back in the day, everybody wanted to see how creative they could get. Many clients would ask for a “cool” website to be designed. But what they failed to realize is that “cool” could be costly.
Sure; pretty websites make us happy and proud of our business, but if the message on your page doesn’t connect with your audience and give you a return on your investment, then that doesn’t seem pretty cool now, does it? What you need to do is find the balance between cool, user-friendly, and conversion driven.
Discovering Your Hidden Wants And Needs
At the beginning stage of any new website project, I take my clients through a discovery process. This is important because it allows me to decipher what my client says he wants and allows me to figure out what he really needs. There are many questions that can help us find the “needles in the haystack”, including:
- What are your long-term, mid-term, and short-term business goals?
- Who makes up your target market?
- Who is your main competitor?
- What is your competition doing that you aren’t?
These are some basic examples of the type of questions that can be expected. A good discovery process can take up to three or four sessions with a client and all questions should be answered thoroughly. It is essential to go through this process because often times, what the client thinks is right, is merely a symptom of a larger problem. The information gathered from these sessions are vitally important and will be used as the fundamental building blocks of your website. Although all of this may take a while, (and can seem quite boring at times), the end result is well worth it.
Let’s take a local restaurant client of mine for example. He stated that his biggest need was to be able to insert more menu items and photos into his existing website. The conversation went a little something like this:
Client: “We want to be able to add new dishes to our website as the menu changes”
Me: “Why is this important to you?”
Client: “ Because our customer’s want to see what we have on the menu before they stop by.
Me: So, is your goal to showcase more dishes or to bring in more customers?”
Client: “(laughs), make more people come in my restaurant.”
You see? The real problem isn’t the menu; it’s generating and converting more customers. Once we have discovered the true, underlying cause of what the client needs, we can start designing a website that can solve this exact problem.
So you want to know what we did for this specific client?
Not only did we create an easily updatable menu, but we also made some tweaks to increase leads. By offering valuable incentives for site visitors, we could capture their information, and be granted the permission to establish a relationship with them in order to market to and convert them into customers.
What Are You Trying To Achieve?
This is where many business owners get confused. What they tend to do, is set different goals for their website and their business. To get the most out of your online marketing efforts, both of your goals should be aligned.
Be sure to communicate your business goals with your web developer. A good one should be able to take this information and design a website that will help you achieve your desired outcome.
In almost every case, most goals will be to get more customers.
Luckily for you, the days of websites that look like “online business cards” are over.
Now is your chance to extract the maximum amount of value you can from your website and turn it into a lead generating machine!
Wes McDowell is the head of web strategy for The Deep End Web Consulting. In his off-hours, Wes enjoys blogging about all the latest internet marketing trends and tips to come across his desk.