It’s a story as old as the internet; You have a viable service or a great product, you plan and design your new company website, you finally go live… and nothing happens. Nobody visits and nobody buys. Why? Richard Forsyth, PR manager for Varn Media, investigates.
If the proposition is good then there are usually clear reasons why your website is not doing its job.
- It’s not being found in searches.
Your SEO is everything. The most popular search engine, Google, matches over 200+ criteria against your website which effectively judges the relevance and quality of your website. This is so the searcher gets the best, most relevant websites to choose from on page one. Consider your keywords that you are using on the site but do not stuff them into text. You must have up-to-date content, well written copy, consistent and geographically relevant references, well labelled images. Rarely does anyone go beyond page one for alternative choices, and some never look beyond the top three matches.
- The website looks wrong.
A recent study by Jacob Nielson of the research organisation, Nielsen Norman Group, found that the first 10 seconds of a user visiting a webpage are critical for a decision to stay or leave. Does your website look old fashioned and have static pages? Do the colours and font reflect the industry? Remember – first impressions count.
- Your customer journey is bad.
Ask friends or a focus group to explore your website and take note of their feedback – sometimes you can miss obvious issues that affect the perception of the site. Also, use analytics to understand your customer journey. Google Analytics, in particular, is highly accessible and can tell you everything from the amount of traffic going through your site, where your most popular landing pages are and importantly, you can track the journey to a sale. If you know the way people are using your site you may need to adjust to make the journey even better.
- You haven’t described your service adequately.
There is nothing worse than having a great product or service and not explaining it the right way so people ‘get it’ quickly. There are many websites out there where you have to really think about what the site is selling. Make it obvious and attractive. Again, test on people who may not be familiar with your service.
- You haven’t said why you’re the best.
There are many ways to describe this, as any sales person will tell you. You need a Unique Selling Point or Unique Value Proposition or you are just one of a herd of other like-services. Why are you better than another brand selling the same thing? Know the reason and put the reason in a catchy line near your logo. It might be cheaper, or better quality, or both, but it must have something extra amongst a sea of other company propositions.
- There’s no call to action.
As impressed by the product or service as a customer may be, you need to close the sale – or at least navigate them toward the checkout. Always have a clear proposition and tell the customer how to buy.
- You have no customer community.
Social media plug-ins are not just for show. You need to connect with your customers in an informal, friendly and insightful way. Social media like Twitter and Facebook will give you a chance to know and connect with your customers and build a community. You can tell them about offers, what’s going on with the company or information that they would find fun. Have a social media etiquette; be polite, deal with feedback professionally, and remember, even a negative comment from a customer in social media can be an opportunity to present your brand values.
- There is no reason to trust your site.
Reviews, endorsements, awards? Websites or the businesses they represent are heavily reviewed, whether they like it or not. People are now in a customer review culture. If you have good feedback sent to you – and you should be asking for feedback to gauge your processes – this is the ultimate sales tool to show your brand delivers. Use it!
- There is no connection to real people.
Sometimes the website is just the beginning of the sales process. A lot of people expect to be able to connect to someone if they need to ask questions, or they may want to buy from a person instead of a machine. Make the journey to the sale as convenient and friendly as possible – If you cannot man a telephone line, email account or social media account 24/7, then pledge you will get back to the person with the query within 24 hours.
Contact: Richard Forsyth is the PR Manager for website design and SEO company, Varn Media – www.varnmedia.co.uk