How to Attract New Business by Inspiring Your Website
At a networking event recently I was asked: “How do you inspire a website?”. It’s a question I’ve been asked many times. That may not be a surprise, considering our name and reputation, so it was an easy one to answer. An inspired website encourages increased traffic and reassures new custom. Here is what I said.
It is always important to try to give your website an advantage, but in the current economic climate, having a website that addresses the needs of your visitors is absolutely vital. If you want your business to survive during the recession make sure your online marketing is up to the job. That means your website has to inspire your visitors to talk to you.
If you’re trying to find a good plumber to fix that irritating leak coming from your bathroom tap, how would you find a good one? Yellow Pages? Perhaps not. You could look in an online business directory such as the Plymouth Business Directory. These can be effective methods, but the very best way to guarantee good results is to ask around and find a plumber who is recommended by someone you know who has used them before. There is nothing so powerful as a testimonial from a satisfied client, particularly when that satisfied client is someone you know. Whether you’re a plumber, a dentist or a pet shop, new clients are reassured to see testimonials from previous clients.
You can implement it simply, with a short list of comments you have already received. We’ve done this for a number of our website clients and it is always effective. At the other end of the scale, you could add a system for clients to leave their own comments; Amazon does this very effectively for the products they sell and it is sometimes quoted as the main reason for Amazon’s phenomenal success.
One simple way to generate new business is by making it easy for website visitors to get in touch with you. Review your website as if you were a first-time visitor. How easy is it for you to make a quick enquiry? Don’t restrict your enquiry forms to the Contact Us page either. Put one next to each product or service description. Paul Cook, MD of Clarity Event Insurance explains the difference it made to them:
“We have more than doubled the number of new enquiries we get online now. The Return On Investment was almost immediate”.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an expert process that is conducted over time for a website. The details are too numerous to go into in this article, but it involves persuading the Search Engines to list your site as high up in their results as possible. A word of caution here though. The declining economy has spawned a number of companies who claim to guarantee you top positioning, but this is an impossible guarantee to fulfill. It is impossible to control the Search Engines – the best anyone can manage is to persuade or encourage them.
Google have become the de facto masters of internet search and appearing on page one (the top ten positions) can mean the difference between survival or success for you.
How do you choose an SEO expert? Talk to companies who have been in the business for years not months. They are unlikely to tell you all their techniques, but if it only seems to be based on getting as many links from other sites as possible, beware. They should be interested in your keywords and key phrases, should have an opinion on the text used on your site and should be interested in your business plan. They shouldn’t push you toward using pay per click methods. Listen closely to them and if they start to promise you page one positions, take a pinch of salt! They should also know that social media activity is now a vital part of SEO.
What is Your Market?
It is absolutely crucial that your website looks and feels right to your potential clients. If they can’t tell that you are talking to them, you probably aren’t. Sounds obvious? Take a look at your competitors’ websites and see how few of them have got it right. The copy on most websites is written from the “I” perspective rather than the “you”. Use language and imagery that is appropriate to your target audience and they’ll respond positively.
A Change is as Good as a Rest
Websites that that are frequently updated are visited more frequently and experience a higher number of return visits. If you want your website to inspire your clients it must be alive. Most failing websites have something in common: they haven’t been updated or changed for a long time. You can practically see the dust on them. It may be outdated graphics, naive copy or just a look-and-feel that hasn’t changed for a year or more. Get it fixed if you don’t want to drive clients into the hands of your competitors.
Identify your USP
Take a fresh look at your website and ask yourself a question: Does this website accurately convey the unique benefits of our products or services? Does it demonstrate clearly why we are the best choice? It is your responsibility to help new clients discover how and why you are the solution to their problems. Remember to sell the benefit, not the product.
It may feel as though it’s all you hear these days. Are you on Facebook? Do you have a Google Plus account? For some businesses, networking online is proving extremely successful. It can provide you with more than just another communication channel. The down side is that you have another customer-facing environment to look after and update. If you haven’t got time, it could get onerous to the point of wanting to throw your PC across the room.
Whether you should be Tweeting or Linking In is ultimately a decision only you can make, but you owe it to your business to at least investigate the potential of social networking for your business.
Inspiration is more than just a word, it’s what separates good business from great businesses. In a time when common high street names are disappearing around us, online businesses are bucking the downward trend. To drive new custom to your door today, you need to inspire your website and you have to do it with a web designer who shares your passion, honesty and dedication.