In the last post, I talked about the importance of having a kickass Website, and the key ingredients to make it happen. Today, I want to focus on why the Websites of startups and small businesses need to perform like well-oiled marketing machines.
While there is plenty of buzz about the amazing benefits of inbound marketing, many companies simply stop marketing to consumers after they get them to visit their Websites. It seems totally bizarre given the effort involved to attract visitors but too many companies believe the marketing battle is over when, in reality, it’s just started.
Think of it this way: When someone visits your Website, it’s a sweet marketing and sales opportunity. They’ve made an investment to visit, now it’s your turn to capitalize by getting them to do something that’s a win-win for both sides.
It could be having someone register for a service, contact you, download software, sign up for a Webinar or a newsletter, learn more about how your products work, attend an event, or make a purchase. Whatever the goal, it’s crucial to make it abundantly clear what the visitor should do.
And here’s something important to remember: people online are lazy. They don’t want to do any work, so unless you tell them to do something, they won’t do anything other than click away, which completely negates all your inbound marketing efforts.
Here are a few tips to ensure your Website is a marketing and sales machine rather than the place where inbound traffic goes to die.
1. Be clear about what your company does, the product it makes and the benefits that customers get from using it. This was covered in the last post but it’s important enough to repeat. At the same time, be careful not to give people too many choices. Think about how challening it can be ordering off the Denny’s menu with dozens of items, compared with going to a diner that only has six specials.
2. Have strong calls to action. Be bold and tell people what to do because, honestly, it’s what they need. If you want someone register, put “register” in big bright letters. Being shy or unclear of what to do leads to inaction.
3. Encourage people to do something and explain what’s in it for them. Extol the benefits of your product, offer incentives to drive activity (e.g. free 14-day trial, free white paper, etc.) or give people a pat on the back or a reward for doing something that could lead or leads to a sale.
4. Recognize the importance of handholding. To guide people along whatever path they have chosen, it never hurts to subtly tell people what to do next or what they can expect. It’s as simple as a post-registration email that remind them about the benefits of the service they just joined and what their next moves should be.
5. Never stop marketing, even after someone has become a loyal customer. It is easy to become complacent with someone is in the fold but it is important to remember the marketing engine needs to keep going. We live in a fickle world so it’s crucial to keep reminding people why they’re a customer, as well as the value you keep providing.
Think of your Website as a powerful marketing and sales machine. When running smoothly, it meets everyone’s needs, delivers all kinds of benefits and makes all stakeholders happy.
More: For some good thoughts how to redesign your Website, check out this post by KissMetrics.