Our website development methodology process begins with one simple concept: websites must convert.
If you build a beautiful website and all your colleagues are envious, yet your website doesn’t convert your leads into sales, then what’s the point?
That’s why everything we do must reinforce this very simple concept: websites must convert. Being beautiful or creating envy isn’t enough.
How Do You Make a Website Convert?
Well, this is the million dollar question, isn’t it?
At the basic level, we like to start by understanding your business, product, or service. What is it that you do? What is your mission statement for your offering? Who are your clients?
Once we get some basic knowledge, we immediately begin to brainstorm the situation. We like to analyze your customers, as well as the psychology of buying your product or service. We look at the story you’re telling, the value proposition, and thinking about how that translates into a website.
What do people want to know about you and your offering? What would scare them away? What are their biggest reservations?
How would they interact with your site? How would they find your site? Is your site the main avenue for doing business with you? All of these things matter.
Okay, this all sounds great, but can you give me something more concrete?
Sure! Let’s take a scenario and discuss how we might handle it.
If you’re selling jewelry, for example, then photos of your jewelry and the story behind your craft are important to me as a potential customer. I want to see beautiful photos of your jewelry, and the story behind each piece. I want to know why you make jewelry. If you were inspired by your grandmother to make jewelry, that’s a story that I’d like to hear because it adds character to the piece I’m thinking about buying. I’m buying your story just as much as anything else.
If your jewelry is priced at $500 or more, then I may not want to fill out an online form to purchase your jewelry. I may want to call and verify the piece is available, and ask questions about it. So a toll-free number is important to me as a client, and it must be easily accessible from any page of the site (preferably in your header or footer).
I’ll probably also care about a good return policy if the piece I’m ordering is different than I expect. Jewelry is really hard to gauge online, so I want to know I have that luxury of being able to return a piece within 30 days for little or no restocking fee.
All of these things matter before I ultimately click the buy button, or make that phone call with credit card in hand. If any of one of these points is not addressed, it might be enough for me to cancel my order and leave your site.
Increase Conversions vs. Generating More Leads
We mentioned a few ways to increase conversions in our example above. That said, it’s always interesting to see what clients expect when it comes to increased conversions vs. more leads. In some cases, clients are paying significant rates on pay-per-click ads or other forms of advertising, and therefore want a greater return with increased conversions. In other cases, clients want to generate more natural leads, and thus reduce their reliance on paid advertising.
Both of these are sound philosophies, but it simply depends on what makes sense with your business. Without a doubt, most of our clients have serious flaws in their sales process which are causing them to lose potential leads. These are called leaky sales funnels and can have a catastrophic effect on your advertising budgets.
For example, if you’re spending $10 per lead and only 5% convert, that means your cost per customer is $200. If you’re in the business of selling life insurance, and you get $200 per lead, then obviously you’re losing money on this effort.
If you could increase the number of organic visitors to your site, then great, you could minimize your paid advertising. Likewise, if you could change your sales process so that 10% or 20% of your customers convert, then your cost per customer goes down to $100 or $50 respectively. Now you’re in the black!
That’s why your website is so important, and why process matters.
So we would be remiss in describing our process if we didn’t take a second to address the red herrings of online marketing.
Search Engine Optimization
The first one is search engine optimization (SEO). This is the lucrative holy grail, the fountain of youth, and it always seems to just be dangling out of our reach.
While SEO is a legitimate marketing initiative, it must be placed in the context of other strategies. When we analyze your website, we certainly make sure all of the pieces are present for natural SEO to take root. From the clean HTML design to title and meta tags to social sharing options to site topology, we look at several factors that will influence your SEO.
However, we rarely ever tell our clients that SEO should be the core focus of their marketing strategy. The fact is, SEO is a high stakes game, where the rules are constantly changing. What works today may be a bust six months from now. Google and the other search engines have literally spent billions optimizing their search result technology, and will happily penalize anyone looking to game the system.
Another red herring is social media. Again, like SEO, we would say that social media needs to be taken in the context of your overall marketing strategy. Some people employ the Field of Dreams philosophy–you know, “if you build it, they will come.” That’s not the case. Just putting together a social media app or fan page doesn’t guarantee anything. It must resonate with your overall marketing and brand.
Blah Blah, I Just Want a Website
Sure, no problem! We recognize that some of our customers do a lot of their business offline or through other mediums, and a website is simply about providing a comprehensive ways to contact you and your business. We completely understand this, which is why we spend our initial consultation talking to you about your business.
If you really don’t need a website to drive sales, but just need it for informational purposes, etc., then that’s no problem. We can work with you to put together a site that accomplishes your goals without exhausting a lot of time with plans and ideas.
To summarize, your website is a critical piece of your marketing strategy. Done right, it becomes a cash machine, generating leads and revenue for your business. When done the wrong way, it becomes a thorn in your side, as you watch money and customers fall off your sales funnel without converting.
If you’d like a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your website, your customer needs and your plan click here.