One of the things that always surprises me when I am asked to assess a company’s website is how often they have missed the basics when it comes to effectively marketing their company and ensuring a positive brand and user experience.
Is your website doing everything it can to drive interest in your products and services and generate leads for your salespeople? To find out if your website could be working harder for your business, ask yourself these four simple questions.
Does your navigation lead to a clear destination or to user frustration?
Website navigation has several key functions. It should:
- Help visitors easily get to the information they are looking for from any page on your site
- Entice and drive prospects into the pages you want them to view so they can take the action you want them to take
- Reflect your company’s personality and style
The most important thing to remember is, I came to your site because I’m looking for something, so don’t make me go on a treasure hunt for it. It’s okay to use a clever naming convention for your navigation to reflect your individual style (For example, using the term “Our Stuff” instead of “Portfolio”) as long as it is still reasonably clear to your web visitor what they can expect to find when they click on those links. There’s a fine line between “clever and clear” and “clever and no clue”...so always err on the side of clarity.
Your site may be nice looking, but does it have personality?
Every element on your website leaves an impression. Your site should reflect your brand personality not only in the images you chose, but in what you say and how you say it. If you are telling the same story in the same way as every other company in your industry or category, you’re not going to convince me that you are, “the one.” What I most want to know when I come to your website is what makes you different than all the rest? If you can quickly show me why I should do business with you versus the other six companies I’ve researched, you’ve got my interest. Reinforce that with statistics, testimonials and other solid factual evidence and we’ll walk off into the sunset hand-in-hand.
You’re leading visitors to your website, but are you making them click?
Do visitors understand who you are and what you have to offer when they land on your home page? If your home page content is not clear, concise and engaging, your prospect is not going to click any deeper. We web surfers are a shallow lot and unless we are immediately engaged with what you have to say, we will be gone looking for another more meaningful relationship. So don’t just present your information to us, sell us. Make us want to buy what you have to offer. Understand the problem you are solving for your customers and present the solution with a clear call to action.
Are you capturing potential leads or letting them get away?
What mechanism do you have on your website to encourage your prospects to give you their email address? Sorry, the “Contact Us” form doesn’t count. I might be a prospect who is legitimately interested in your product or service, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to initiate a “sales call.” If you aren’t encouraging me to give you my email address to get more information, you are missing out on an opportunity to engage with me and take me through the sales cycle. Create a white paper, a downloadable brochure or some other goodie you give the prospect in exchange for an email address. When you provide something valuable, you’ll get something valuable in return, an opportunity to connect with an interested prospect.