If you’re like most business owners, there’s a good chance that you’ve overlooked an expensive problem.
It affects businesses of all sizes, across a wide range of industries. Money is being left on the table, and interested prospects are walking away. This problem should be keeping business owners awake at night, but it rarely does.
I’m talking about websites that don’t produce sales or revenue.
When someone on your sales team is underperforming, I’m sure you take steps to improve the situation. You might offer additional support or training to help them succeed. The last thing you’d do is ignore the problem.
Yet I frequently speak with owners and CEOs who casually explain that their website isn’t a source of revenue, and very few view it as a major concern.
As an online marketer and website developer, I find this shocking. Although a website can serve many purposes, its primary goal is to help your business grow! In my decade of serving businesses, I’ve discovered that the vast majority of websites are failing at this goal.
I’ve also learned that there’s a common thread among these digital disappointments, and it’s not always obvious. Many of these websites are beautifully designed, mobile-friendly and easy to use. Some enjoy top Google rankings that send them a steady stream of fresh prospects every day. So why do they fail to produce results?
Why Your Website Doesn’t Generate Revenue
Most websites don’t make sales or create revenue because they don’t focus on what the visitor needs and wants. They tell the visitor about the product, instead of telling them how the product will make their life better.
Think about this: when a visitor reaches the home page of your website, what do they see? For most businesses, it’s something like this:
Welcome to the Technology Corp Website!
If you’re looking for quality technology services, you’ve come to the right place. Technology Corp has been serving our loyal customers for over 30 years. We provide business technology services including desktop support, office phone installation and network configuration. Our knowledgeable staff provide top-notch installation services, and our customer support department is second to none.
If this is the first thing visitors see when they look at your home page, you should consider yourself lucky if they don’t leave immediately.
A prospect visits your website because they want you to do something for them. They want you to solve a problem, or satisfy a desire that they have. They don’t care how long Technology Corp has been in business; they want to know if Technology Corp can help them make more money!
Your Website is a Member of Your Sales Team
Your sales reps know what to say to prospects to turn them into customers. They succeed by establishing a personal connection, identifying the prospect’s want or need, explaining how your company will provide it, and overcoming objections. Your website should do the exact same thing!
A successful website is just like a sales rep: it needs to understand your customer and be an expert on your product. Your website can’t make eye contact and read body language, but it can use knowledge that you and your sales team have gained over the years to make a successful sale.
Making Your Website a Better Sales Rep
Think about the process of welcoming a new sales team member into the fold at your company. You might provide them with training, educate them about your product, share successful selling techniques that your team has perfected, or even have them observe your sales team in action.
You can’t train your website, but you can do the next best thing: research. You can use information that you already have to make your website more effective.
Your sales team knows who your best customers are, what they care about, and what questions they ask during the sales process. Use their expertise and knowledge when you’re creating marketing messages for your website. Make sure that your sales pages anticipate questions and address common objections.
Perhaps your company maintains a database of past and current clients. These can tell you a lot about your client base: where they live, what their position is within their own company, how frequently they buy from you, and more. This information can help you create marketing messages that are specific to common customer types.
Do your customers ever send you testimonials, gushing about how much they love your product? These can be a treasure trove of useful information for your website. Not only are testimonials themselves a great addition to your website, they also tell you what your customers care about and what words they use to describe your product.
If you see recurring themes in your testimonials, like how easy your product is to use or the great results gained from using it, incorporate these specific words and phrases into the text on your website. Chances are, those phrases will resonate with potential prospects as well.
Whats in it for Me?
When a visitor reaches the home page of your website, they want something. They might have a problem they need to solve, like a computer network that keeps crashing. You only have a few seconds to catch their attention and convince them that your business can give it to them.
The trick is, they don’t actually want your product or service, what they really want is the result! They don’t want to purchase a preventive maintenance networking package, they want their employees to be productive and make money. Your website should emphasize the benefits of choosing your product, or the measurable results it will produce.
Imagine you’re selling a car that gets great gas mileage. It may seem logical to explain the technical features of the engine that allows it to burn fuel more efficiently. But the customer isn’t interested in technology, and there’s a good chance this will confuse or bore them.
Instead, tell them how much money they will save driving your car instead of the car they already own. Back it up with a chart that shows this savings multiplied over the next five years, and you’ve got yourself a sale.
Ask For the Sale
There’s another essential component most business websites lack: a clear call-to-action. A call-to-action asks your website visitor to do something, whether it’s purchasing your product or subscribing to your newsletter.
Your call-to-action should be clear, concise and above all, easy to follow. Don’t make prospects jump through hoops to become your customer. A confused visitor will leave your website in less than a New York minute.
Give clear instructions on how to take the next step, whether it’s picking up the phone or clicking a “Buy Now” button. If necessary, streamline your process to eliminate obstacles that will confuse or deter potential customers.
Is Your Website an Advantage, or a Liability?
No matter how much you spend on your website, or how many visitors it gets, if the content doesn’t resonate with your customers it won’t help your business grow.
More and more commerce is being conducted on the web, and with every year that passes the trend accelerates. It’s no longer enough to simply have a website. To grow and build for the future, your business needs to understand how to sell on the web.
Businesses that focus on building a customer-focused website have an opportunity to gain new customers in an area that their competitors may be ignoring. I hope that your business will be one of them!