We all know the importance of having a great website but most companies don’t act on it. In order to get into action and work on a new website we should first recap why having a great website is important. By having the benefits really present I believe we can motivate ourselves to get it done sooner rather than later.
Many people think of the website as something like a business card and as I wrote in my previous article that is not the best analogy for a website. The research shows people consult around 11 different sources before purchasing from a business.
The right analogy for your website
I believe the best analogy for your website is that your website is your best sales rep. Bare with me while I unpack this idea. Most business for small businesses comes from referrals. That means the person coming into your website has already heard about you (awareness) and probably has a need/problem they want solve (otherwise they wouldn’t visit the website). Now what information is this potential client looking for / what information should we give him/her?
1) identification – the client needs to understand he/she is visiting the right website/business that he was referred to. This is done via telling them your name, your broad search category and your description.
2) expertise – after the identification you should aim to establish your expertise and authority in the industry.
3) method – how you will get them there
4) vision – for the relationship going forward
5) assurance – via case studies and testimonials
6) next steps / call to action
This is very similar to what a sales rep would present when meeting a new prospect. Except that is being delivered automatically without any extra cost for the business, i.e. in terms of costs it is the same if this information is consumed by 100 or a 1000 prospects. With a sales rep you can only fit X meeting spots per day.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have sales reps. After all even convinced prospects need many times a final assurance from a real person, especially when the ticket price is high. What it does mean is that a lot of pre-qualification work can be done via your website and also data capture so that when the prospect is contacted your sales rep already knows a whole lot about their need and their business (revenue, person’s role, etc).
Like I wrote before a great website is one that converts. That is also the way sales reps are evaluated and if you think about it, it makes total sense. People that use the “business card” analogy think in terms of “how many impressions” am I having with my website and “how long are people staying on”. People that use the “sales rep” analogy ask “how many sales” has my website closed and also “how much revenue has it produced today?”. This is a totally different way to look at a website and one that can transform your business.
I’m convinced my website is a sales rep, what now?
The same way a sales person needs market collaterals your website needs the right information in order to turn prospects into clients.If you want to take advantage of this new model of thinking about your website then the best way to start is by identifying the different types of contents you will need to create and where each needs to be present.
There are 3 main types of content you will need to have:
1) content to create awareness – these will go on social networks and other websites that will link to yours.
2) content that serve to support the client’s research about you – both on your website but most importantly on external websites.
3) content to support the closing of the sale – these will be on your website.
That means it is very important to establish good quality contents that serve each of these purposes.
Turning leads into educated pre-qualified prospects
When selling services online remember that for high-end services talking to a human will still be necessary. How can we reduce this need and spend less time “talking” and more time serving the people we really want and are best for our business, i.e. “selling”?
1) educate clients on your business
2) pre-qualify leads
First let’s talk about educating clients about on your business. All the necessary market collaterals and info on your website will help with this. The result we want is to have clients know exactly what you do and why working with anyone besides you would be a bad choice. The second part is about let’s talk about “qualification”. The idea is pretty simple: given thousands of leads which ones should I assign the most priority?
I know you’ll probably don’t have this problem yet (and congrats if you do because it is a good one to have) but I’m going to argue that one of the reasons you don’t invest more in lead generation is because you wouldn’t be able to process all of them and you don’t want to leave people without a reply.
In order to qualify leads you’ll need to identify what does the client need to have before you are interested in working with them. The secret is no longer to attract customers but to attract the right ones. Here is a list of example criteria you can have:
- I only work with companies, not with individuals who still need to register as a business
- I only work with businesses with a revenue higher than X.
- I don’t work with clients that can’t/won’t assign a single contact person.
The key takeaway is to have an educated and qualified prospect that you know so much about and that they know a lot about you as well!
In this article I talked about how your website can be your best sales rep. I argue how you should stop thinking in terms of business cards and impressions and instead focus on closing sales via your website. In order to close sales the contents on your website need to supply enough information to support the sale. Remember that the same way a sales person needs market collaterals your website needs the same information in order to turn prospects into clients. When selling services online remember that for high-end services talking to a human will still be necessary but the key is to have an educated and qualified prospect that you know so much about and that they know a lot about you as well! I hope this has been useful and feel free to share your comments below.
*it also doesn’t mean you should have a single big buy now button