Websites – the forgotten sales hurdle

Outsource blog: Websites the forgotten sales hurdleIt’s not a big surprise that you’re supposed to have a website these days. In fact, there’s probably not a business in Australia that doesn’t have some kind of web page.

However, having an ordinary site (and no-one is saying ours is a work of art) can really kill a sale when you sell high involvement products and services.

This is hardly news of course. But I’m still astounded that so many organisations continue to pour money into expensive lead generation programs but have neglected the quality of their website.

Websites say a lot about your business. If you want people to trust, engage, like and buy from you, then your website had better deliver that kind of experience when a prospect is looking at it. When prospects are starting to compare prospective companies with each other before moving ahead with a sales engagement, a professional-looking and informative website can really help shape decisions.

I always Google a prospect’s website when they get in touch. I don’t mean to, but I infer a lot about the organisation by looking at it.

You don’t need a $20,000 design to look good, but make sure you look like the brand you’re projecting. And don’t forget the easy stuff that can impact the efficacy of your site. This checklist might save you some site bounces (people who visit your homepage and then leave without going any further).

  • check spelling – and get someone else to check it too
  • check grammar – and ditto above
  • check all links work
  • check the obvious and most reader-centric information is the content that’s easiest to find. If people want to know who you are and what you do in more detail, they’ll go looking. Get them interested first.
  • use phrases and keywords in page headers, image descriptions and throughout your page content that reflect the most important terms you want to show up on Google. This is called search engine optimisation and you don’t need an external consultant to help you make some big immediate improvements on your site ranking in Google. (Good SEO consultants will take a few steps further)
  • avoid using text on coloured panels or images. Most humans learned how to read with black text on white backgrounds and it remains the best way to improve reader comprehension.
  • ditto with white text on colour or images.
  • avoid links that go to external sites unless you have to. Once someone has linked off your site, they’re gone.
  • group information in ways that people look for it. Do some user testing. Ask some friends to find specific, important information on your site and watch how they go about looking for it
  • use Google analytics. If nothing else, know which parts of your sites get the visits and which parts lose visitors. It’s not a perfect analysis, but it will give you clues of what people are looking for when they’re on your site, and whether you should consider moving some content to the front page, and some to the back or just delete it.

This isn’t an exhaustive list and you’ve probably got some of your own tips to making sure a website engages a prospect. If you’ve got any tips, please share them.