Your website does a lot of work for you. It’s your recruiting tool. It’s a company brochure. It’s your face online for customers who need help and prospects who want information. A website is the first place people go to learn more about your company, services or products after they hear about you at a trade show, in an ad or through a web search. Investors will pore over websites looking to learn about the company’s track record and viability.
But your website’s biggest role is as a sales and marketing powerhouse. Making your website a key part of your sales strategy can be key to your organization’s success. Here’s how to turn your website into a sales and marketing machine.
Optimize the Design for Sales
First, design matters. There are several design components you should consider to optimize your site for sales:
1. Streamline the design.
Good design improves ROI, instills trust and guides users through the process. A flashy, overloaded website looks amateurish.
2. Get organized. The way you organize your content and navigation behind the scenes should make it easy for a user to find the information she’s looking for. A simple, intuitive site architecture brings people to their goal easily, while a complicated architecture may send someone in the wrong direction, or even frustrate them enough to leave.
3. Put calls to action front and center. Giving users lots of opportunity to take the next step and complete their objective can help ensure they don’t get discouraged. Make it easy to find information about how to contact you, fill out a form for more information, download an asset and so on.
4. Watch your speed. Make sure that the website loads as quickly as possible; otherwise, people will abandon the process — fast.
Think About Your Content
These days, content is a key part of a sales-focused website. Well-researched content (in the form of blog posts, infographics, downloads, and more) can give people the answers they’re looking for, and build confidence in your organization.
1. Provide concise, relevant content. Give customers the opportunity to learn at their own pace, but keep it short and sweet and drive them through the process. Too much information can be overwhelming.
2. Keep content fresh. Updating your content regularly gives people a reason to come back to learn more. And as you establish yourself as a reliable thought leader, you’ll build trust in your brand.
3. Don’t write content to fit your design. It’s easy to find a template you like, then write your content (whether that’s your About page or a blog post) to fit the template. Instead, follow the principles of “content-first design”: Write content for the story and the business first and then use design to present that in way that is digestible.
Keep Your Site Fresh
Don’t let your site stagnate. Consider a complete redesign every one to three years to keep up with your industry and competitors. In the meantime, use these tips to keep your website fresh:
1. Map your progress. Use tools such as Crazy Egg to get a baseline check of the heat map on your website. Where are people spending the most time? What are they most interested in?
2. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Pinpoint topics where you need more content. Spot the calls to action that are performing and make them more prominent.
3. Look at SEO. Perform an SEO report to see what keywords are driving people from search engines to your site. Consider PPC (pay-per-click) ads to drive specific traffic to you.
With the right design, content and strategy, you can turn any website into a compelling member of your sales team.
Marc Avila is the founder and team leader of 3 Media Web, a Boston area website development company. After working as a professional developer at a software company, Marc founded 3 Media Web in 2001. Fifteen years later, he is still building websites. These days, Marc is focused on helping companies create and manage beautiful, responsive websites to attract new visitors, generate leads and drive revenue. Marc is also a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprising the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.