The days of a stagnant brochure style website are gone. Google heavily favors sites publishing new and quality content. As I mentioned in my last article, 2014 State of B2B Procurement study from the Acquity Group, 94 % of business buyers do some type of online research prior to buying. A rockin’ website is not just for fun anymore. And at the current price for developing a site, you don’t just need a website that’s fluffy and pretty–you need a website you can put to work.
I realize putting your site to work is still rather vague, despite those three illuminating points above, it’s not easy to your mind around. Let’s take a look at some examples of how your website can work for you.
Notice how I didn’t call them “Email Forms”? Because they’re more than an email form, they intake leads from your site. So ask yourself, what do I need to know to have an effective conversation with a lead. Address, Square Footage, Budget? Ask, and don’t be bashful. If you can’t work on a project under a certain budget give viewers an option of ranges for their budget starting at your lowest amount. And if you actually want to know the budgetary information then take a deep breath and make the field mandatory.
If you’re blogging, stop manually creating your email newsletters. WHAT?!?! Yeah, that’s right your blog can trigger an email software, like MailChimp, to format and automatically deliver emails for you. Yes, this will take a hot minute to figure out exactly how you want it, and you may have to give up a little flexibility. But your email will send when you post to your blog…AUTOMATICALLY. This was a huge time saver for my staff when I finally set it up and it can be for you too.
Do you get the same phone call asking the same question over and over again. Do you send emails with the same answers linking to the same documents? I love answering questions, as a know-it-all/“A” student/oldest child it’s one of my fortes. But fielding phone calls while trying to work is a total rain delay. It can eat a whole day before you know it. Instead offer up answers to the commonly asked questions on your website. Direct people to those answers on your invoices, hold message and marketing materials. You may miss out on the gratification of answering a question personally but your prospects and clients can get the answers they need, when they need them, even if you’re sleeping.
People call and ask me the same question all the time, you know what it is, “how much does a website cost?” So you know what I did? I made an online website estimator. Add your website development criteria into the form and it tells you a price. It’s magic. If you have an estimating spreadsheet you can do the same thing. I get it, you want to have a conversation with people so you can close the deal. And here’s the thing, sometimes people don’t care about what you have to say until they know how much it’s going to cost. They might just be dreaming or they might be price shopping. Either way cost is the answer to the question they want most. So give it to them. In return ask for their name, email and phone number. Then you get what you want, the opportunity to talk to someone who wants your services, and they get what they want, a price for your services. You can even send the information they submit online to yourself so you can decide if you want to call them or not. It’s really a win/win.
This may sound like common sense but follow me here. I hate phone trees. I hate spelling people’s names and I hate trying to spell with numbers. I also hate a gross waste of my time. Tell us how you really feel Monica…OK here’s how I feel. I feel like it’s not that hard to put extensions on your employees phone numbers and list those commonly called employees and their stinking extensions on your contact or team page. Also list product or division specific contact information throughout your site. On the cabinet sales page list the cabinet sales person’s information, ditto for appliances. Then visitors can find who they want and call them direct, no jumping through hoops.
A password protected area of your site section can house all the information you need to provide to meet compliance or keep everyone informed. Share meeting minutes, agendas, user guides, a video of your secret handshake. Really whatever it is that your constituents need to access at a whim. It may seem like magic, however, implementing a protected members/employees/clients section is a culture shift. Getting buy-in and actual usage from a resource like this on your site often takes training and time. Consider starting small and building overtime. Start with the end in mind but on-board bit by bit. Or heck just jump on in, you know your peoples better than I do.
Again notice how I didn’t just say email for an appointment. That requires back and forth. I mean actually let people set appointments online. Give them all the tools they need to make an appointment with you on your website. Starting with selecting a service then searching for dates and times. Some people like to pick up the phone and call. But for many millennials actually talking on the phone, even though they seem glued to it at all times, is a barrier to entry. Let them book online and they’ll be that much more likely to use your service.
I’m sure by now you’re getting the picture. A website that works for you saves you time, and in turn makes you money. Build up your old brochure site into something that’s actually a team player instead of just reading material.
Next up on our digital media series I’ll break down the numbers in your monthly tracking reports, explain what they mean and how to use them to improve your site.
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