7 Steps to Web Sites that
Copyright © 2004
Your web site is like a fight of stairs into your business. Once you've got
prospects to your home page - your online front door - you want to move them
to action. If you miss a step or two, prospects will fall and won't make
it in the door to your business. If you put the last step first and your
first step last, prospects won't find the steps you want them to take.
There is a hierarchy of information and elements you need to present to prospects
to make it easy for them to become customers and clients. This is not what
most small business owners provide on their web sites. Most sites lead with
a boring description of services and credentials. This tends to push prospects
Before you build your web site or start to fix a site that isn't attracting
as many clients as you'd like, take a minute to clarify the objectives of
your site. Marketing objectives for web sites for most independent professionals
and small business owners should be:
a. Lead Generation - Build your list of qualified prospects who are interested
in your products and services but not quite ready to make a purchase. First
time visitors to the site need to be able to quickly identity if they are
in the right place and determine whether you can help them. Make it easy
for prospects to qualify themselves.
b. Establish Credibility- If people found your site by searching the web,
you have a lot of work to do to prove that you can help them and deliver
on what the site promises.
c. Sell Your Products and Services - Of course you will want to include
information about your products and services, but if you rush this step,
you'll lose prospects before you've created the context that will move them
to a purchase.
PUTTING YOUR STEPS IN SEQUENCE
Now that you know what you want your web site to do, define the key elements
that should be on your home page. Put these in the correct sequence and more
prospects will do what you want. You'll generate more leads and more sales.
1. FEATURE YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE - At the top of your home page include
a one sentence marketing message that describes what you actually do and
the problems you solve. For example, "Helping service professionals and small
business owners attract more clients" or "Helping you create the ultimate
personalized trip to Britain".
2. COLLECT LEADS - Place the sign-up for your free newsletter, ebook, or
catalogue at the top of your web page. The right hand top corner is the optimal
position. Above the sign-up form don't just say "Enter your email here for
complimentary information". Make an offer, one that will motivate your prospects
to give you their contact information. For example, "Sign Up for Britain's
best travel secrets." As an incentive on my site I offer a free marketing
guide to motivate people to subscribe to my newsletter, with the result that
12-15% of site visitors sign up for my ezine.
3. USE QUALIFYING QUESTIONS - Don't start with a description of your services
or products. Below your marketing message, lead with qualifying questions,
that will help prospects understand the problems you solve, engage your visitors'
attention and create a perception of need.
For example, if you sell ergonomic chairs, you could ask, "Does your back
ache at the end of a day at your desk?" Or if you sell customized travel
services to Britain you could ask, "Are you interested in a customized, hassle
free vacation in the British Isles?
4. BUILD CREDIBILITY - One-way to do this is to include testimonials from
satisfied clients. People will read your marketing copy with a grain - or
a whole shaker - of salt. When people read what others say about the amazing
results you achieve, they are much more likely to believe your claims. Limit
your testimonials to ones that are easy to believe, even if you did help
someone make ten million dollars.
The second part of establishing your credibility is to demonstrate the value
of your expertise by providing prospects with helpful ideas. If you're in
the computer repair and maintenance business you might include tips on
identifying software conflicts and keeping computers from crashing.
People like to do business with people they know and trust so use your site
to bring your company and personality to life. Include links to your articles,
case studies and /or product demonstrations. Add a photo of yourself or your
employees to personalize your site and move prospects to thinking of you
as a person.
5. SHOW PROSPECTS THE RESULTS YOU ARE SELLING - Include thumbnails of products
and services people can click on in a side navigation bar on most of your
site's pages. Whatever you sell make sure to feature both visual and verbal
testimonials along with information and images of your products and
On your individual service or product pages provide examples of clients and
customers using your services or products. For ebooks, include tables of
contents and sample chapters. If you sell log homes, include pictures of
happy customers in their homes. If you sell information, feature client
6. TELL PROSPECTS WHAT TO DO - If you want people to sign up for your newsletter,
tell them to. To get people to read the articles on your site, tell them
to. To increase the number of people who view the pages describing your products
and services, include thumbnail images of your products and tell them to
click on the image for further information. If there is a particular sequence
of steps you want prospects to take, tell them what they are.
7. MAKE IT EASY FOR PROSPECTS - Place your contact information, including
email address and phone number in an obvious location on every page, particularly
the home page. Include a link to a contact form or place it at the bottom
of your home page, or both.
In your form, ask a few key questions to help prospects clarify what it is
they want to achieve and get their phone number so you can follow up. Their
responses will help you prioritize who to contact and help you focus on your
most profitable prospects.
Show prospects who are ready to engage your services or buy your products
how to do so. Coaches will want to include a coaching inquiry form. People
who sell greeting cards, should include a quick link to so people can place
Use the blueprint above to construct a web site that sells. Build steps that
will lead prospects into your web site and motivate them to give you their
name, email address and phone number or to contact you about your services
or to buy your products. Build steps that will move them from prospects to
clients and customers.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author:
Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals and small
business owners attract more clients and increase their earnings with the
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