Do you know someone like my accountant?
He’s smart, but sometimes he infuriates me.
I ask him, “ How many clients do you have and how many prospects are on your list?”
He always says, “ I don’t know. I’m not into marketing”.
I ask, “Why don’t you update your website and be an authority on finance and tax?”
He says, “No need. The Good Lord will find me customers”.
Maybe I’m a little envious of his Divine traffic source, but is he really right?
More than 25% of small businesses have never had a website and have no intention of getting one.
Does it matter?
If Your Business Is Not Online, Your Business Is Out Of Business
Bobby Holland argues that websites are dying a slow death for two main reasons:
- Mobile sites are increasing their market share, revenue conversions and engagement in comparison to websites.Largely driven by Google’s local preference searches, mobile users can quickly access sellers without having to go to a website.Almost 48% of mobile users use search engines to reach out to sellers.Millenials hardly use websites.
- Using sales funnels to convert your relevant traffic from social media into email subscribers and lead them along a value journey that ends in a sale.
But many opposing views point to websites still being used for B2B search and ecommerce and what we are seeing instead is a shift to an integrated online presence that requires engagement across social media, websites and ecommerce.
I could easily point out some of the excellent tactical reasons to have a website but there are three significant shifts that are happening that require every startup and business to have a mobile responsive website.
In addition to creating and maintaining a presence on ALL social media.
1. The Internet of Things (IOT): There’s a Hurricane Approaching
A recent Mckinsey study argues that developing economies will generate nearly half of the IOT’s value of between $4-$11 Trillion dollars by 2025.
Think about that statement for a few minutes and how it impacts your startup or new business.
- The IOT has already begun to change the way that products are made and services distributed, improved and delivered. Think Uber, airBnB.
- New talents and innovative technologies are emerging right across the world, so you’ll have to compete with new market entrants from anywhere.
- IOT links, machine learning and data driven innovation will affect every aspect of our lives – from preventative healthcare, remote monitoring, robotized manufacturing to 3D printing and intelligent customer relationship management.
- Your customers may well all be from emerging markets and yesterday’s methods of sales and distribution will be irrelevant.
So if your website was an expensive and necessary evil before, now your business will fail without it.
2. The Internet Really Matters!
A recent McKinsey report highlights why the internet will continue to drive higher activity to websites:
- Increased social connection, awareness and engagement
- Interactive entertainment and education
- Variety, time and cost savings
- Lower barriers of entry and access to new markets
3. Four Global Trends Driving Higher Internet Usage
The report goes on to highlight four trends that provide a convincing argument why your startup or business website needs to engage and convert your subscribers and buyers:
- Mobile network coverage and mobile internet expansion are rapidly increasing and making inroads into the 2.5 billion people who still aren’t connected.
- Increasing urbanization with better infrastructure leads to better internet penetration and the UN estimates that 67% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050.
- Vastly reducing mobile device combined with reduced telephony and internet plans are driving higher penetration in developing markets.
- A growing middle class with higher disposable incomes across the world (50% in Asia alone!) will drive higher demand for products and services.
Download the Mckinsey Report on Internet Trends here.
So if you’re still here, maybe you’ve concluded you do need a website after all.
The question then becomes,
What do you need to do to optimise traffic, engagement and conversions?
- Build into your site the ten things your website needs to do for you. Everyday.
- Ensure your website has thirty critical elements to build insane customer loyalty.
- Learn to use the symbiotic link between content, authority and search rankings.
1. Ten Things Your Website Must Do To Work For You:
Solve Problems: Demonstrate that your business stands out in solving your target customers’ problems.
Spend more time on designing and building this element into your website through content, design and solutions.
Excellent customer experience: Designing an excellent customer experience online is as important as it is in your bricks business.
Ensuring that fast web page loading, mobile responsiveness, effective navigation, branding consistent with your overall brand, live chat , guarantees and self service all improve customer experiences.
Fast contact: Your company’s open for business 24/7 and 365 days a year– you now can reach customers globally and they can learn about you and your products / services without any sales pressure.
You can add or edit sales promotional content and online catalogues quickly and provide detailed, interesting information at the point at which customers are ready to buy.
And if you have a product that’s relevant throw in free samples, downloads, reports, downloads and incentives.
These can be anything from catalogues, product samples, software, DVDs, coupons, slides and free test drives.
You can differentiate yourself against larger competitors and their websites, using interesting, interactive, killer content to drive traffic and sales through your website.
According to Quicksprout, here’s how Google finds your site.
Excellent Service: Provide immediate responses (e.g. via Frequently Answered Questions) to queries and comments.
You can receive and respond to customer feedback , use online order forms for 24 hour ordering and payment, allow customers to download quotes, proposals and even billing documents.
You can test new services with selected customers before launching them to all customers.
2. Thirty Website Do’s & Don’ts that create insane customer loyalty!
Some web hosts offer free or cheap entry level costs that increase dramatically after you cross certain thresholds.
Use a reputable host provider if you want to be taken seriously and reduce downtime risks.
Using a free address such as Yahoo or Hotmail creates the perception that there is something not right about your business. Be professional.
Customers get frustrated and leave if they are pointed to a page that’s not there.
Use a plugin that checks that every title and page is optimized and bookmarked for the search engines.
If you don’t care, why should your customers?
Your content may display overlapping text, missing or misaligned images depending on how your site is viewed on different browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox. Check before uploading!
Having all your details gives you added credibility and provides reassurance to customers who are paying you.
This is particularly relevant when dealing with some European countries.
It detracts from your user trying to obtain information.
Look professional by being consistent with the layout and navigation of your website and the quantity, look and feel of your topics on each page.
Remember that people scan your page and usually don’t read everything so break up your text into smaller paragraphs with catchy headers, sub-headings, bullet points to create interest and highlighted keywords.
They won’t do it and will leave your site.
Break up your copy to make it interesting with options to read more rather than include everything.
It looks unprofessional and gives the perception that you don’t care about your business, whatever the reason is that you haven’t finished the page.
Low numbers will give the perception that you are not an authority on your subject or business.
Your dissatisfied customers will usually share their experiences of your poor service and this will show up in searches.
Over 20% of people have some eyesight issues and ensure that you have enough “white space” on your website to make it easier for your readers.
Avoid dark backgrounds with lighter fonts and avoid fonts that are difficult to read on a screen.
Use non serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana or MS Sans Serif to make your text stand out.
You may want to earn extra money but it may distract and annoy your customers and they may not return to your site.
In some countries it is illegal and if not, you annoy potential customers.
Highlight the one key problem you’re solving on your home page.
Improving Conversions on Your Website
Increasing conversions on your website comes down to just one thing:
Make it easy for your customer!
Highlighted below are three extremely useful sites that will help you in designing your website to significantly improve your conversions :
- Kissmetrics’ conversion guide – 101 tips to increase conversion
- Jayson Demers has written a 39 point guide on Entrepreneur.com
- Smarter Digital Marketing also emphasize the user experience as well as testing.
3. Turning Your Business Into An Authority
The more effort you make into turning your website into an authority in your market, the quicker you will build prospects, subscribers and customers.
Your customers are actively looking for relevant information that helps them make decisions and using a combination of high quality content, social media and high quality links creates this expertise over time.
This infographic explains it perfectly.
Three Ways to Build Authority for Your Business
- Go beyond product descriptions, trite comments and bland, general articles that anyone can find on Google. Create educational, detailed posts to educate, inform and even entertain your prospects in identifying and engaging with the problems they’re trying to solve. Do this via the following:
- Blog posts
- Find out who your direct and indirect competitors are and what they’re doing online. Get involved in your customers’ discussion by doing the following:
- Offering to write interesting, relevant guest posts
- Commenting with insight on articles
- Help your prospects and customers find you by clearly signposting articles and content you want to share and actively engage your prospects and customers.