In the wake of COVID-19, people are staying digitally connected more than ever with friends, family, and colleagues. They are also increasingly researching and making their purchasing decisions online. According to Digital Commerce 360, online sales have increased by 76% compared to last year. Prospects are also less inclined to want to speak with a human early in the decision-making process. In a study by Forrester Research, over 60% of respondents said they find “gathering information online on [their] own superior to interacting with a sales representative”.
As online activity increases, so do expectations. This means your website is more important than ever in giving prospects confidence that you are the right choice.
A website is no longer simply an electronic brochure. It must drive traffic to your business and convert visitors into customers or qualified leads. Can you confidently say your website does this?
Here are 6 characteristics your website must exhibit to make it your best salesperson.
1. Optimized for Search
Your site should be optimized for search engines so you are found when people use search engines like Google. Google users often have high intent: they know they need a product or service and are now using the internet to find and evaluate options. To out-rank your competitors and drive traffic, your website must:
- Include relevant keywords that are prominent near the top of your web pages
- Contain high-quality, current, and relevant content that meets the informational needs of your prospects
- Make strategic use of critical on-page elements like page titles and headings
- Have external links from trusted, quality sources
- Be high performing; speed, compatibility with various browsers and devices, always running, secure
2. Optimized for Conversion
Treat people that find their way to your website as if they are potential customers walking into a store. If they came in for a pair of jeans, they should easily be able to find their size, intuitively know where the fitting rooms are, know how much the jeans cost, and have options to add to their cart along the way. They should also feel welcomed by sales associates and “led by the hand” through the store.
Your website is a shopping experience that should be positive and enjoyable by offering compelling, interesting content, the most current information, a sense that you understand “them”.
There should be no “friction” when a prospect lands on your site. They should easily find whatever they require to make an informed decision and be guided towards their purchasing decision through relevant calls to action. If they encounter friction, they will simply go to a competitor’s website.
The ultimate goal is to move site visitors down the sales funnel and maximize the probability of conversion. Though there are costs associated with building, optimizing, and maintaining your website, the return on investment of a well-designed, informative website can be substantial.
3. Secure and Always Running
As Twitter’s recent hack proves, even the most tech-savvy companies are at risk for security breaches. While your company likely won’t face a cyber attack of this caliber, keeping websites secure is critically important. Keeping your site up to date with the latest versions of software and associated add-ons will help you avoid vulnerabilities.
4. Mobile Friendly
Your site must be user friendly on desktops – but you also need to think mobile. Out of every three dollars spent on online purchases, two come from a mobile device. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly are five times more likely to cause visitors to bounce. To improve your website for a mobile experience, you’ll need to:
- Choose a website design that is responsive, so content is dynamically resized for small screens
- Streamline and simplify menus
- Ensure users can actually click on buttons with their fingers
- Confirm that the desktop layout works well on mobile – if not, make adjustments
5. Up to Date, Compelling Content
Your website must be living and breathing. Stale and outdated content will drive users away. Your site needs to have up-to-date and relevant information to rank well on search engine results and to keep your users engaged. Your content should position you as credible and authoritative and clearly differentiate you from your competitors.
Using multimedia such as videos, infographics, and images is a good way to grab and keep your visitor’s attention.
6. Part of Your Business Development Process
A website is not a standalone entity. It’s part of an overall, robust online marketing strategy. Your website and other online tactics must work seamlessly together in pursuit of the same goals.
Does the content on your website reflect the content you post on social media or that you send in your emails? Is your site integrated with other marking tools, such as CRM or marketing automation? Do you have calls to action in your online activities that drive people to specific pages on your site?
Analysis is a key component of any business development process. You can easily track user behaviour with Google Analytics. You can measure key metrics like traffic growth, time spent on site, number of conversions, bounce rate, pages visited, where traffic is coming from, and how visitors are navigating the site. This will help you make the adjustments necessary to improve results over time to make your site a better salesperson.
The Bottom Line
Your website is a window into your organization, and often how prospects form their first impression. It plays a critical role in your ability to thrive in the age of the digital buyer. We encourage you to make the requisite commitment and investments to make your website your best salesperson.
Core Online Marketing has been helping SME’s create the right online connections that drive business results since 2005. A critical first step to online success is a strategic plan. Click here to find out how we develop plans in four weeks that will set you on your online journey with your eyes wide open.