Your Website is Your Secret Weapon
According to research firm, Bredin Business Information, over 85% of small businesses reported using their website to generate new customers in 2011, followed by email and search engine marketing.
We talk to business owners daily about their web page updating and new website builds. People still struggle to get their heads around the real value of their websites. The last few years have changed the online aspects of our businesses a lot, and we can expect more changes to come. Making the most of smart online tools will simplify your life once you make the commitment to learn how to manage them. Your most important tool is your website.
There’s a lot involved to make a website actually work for your business, but if you think it’s just some address that people go to – like a store – you’re very wrong. It would be easier, I guess, if it worked like that. But the truth is, you have to wave flags and point to it from several online arenas just to get found. Even so, that effort alone is not enough to produce or increase revenue. Once they get there, will they want to trade good money for what you have?
Who is Determining the Value?
It’s not about being better than your competition. It’s about having a better offer, and showing your visitors you care more about them than the ‘other guys.’ In the online environment, it’s about perception. But you’d better be good for your word. People will not part with their money if they don’t trust you.
Social media, tablets and smartphones have changed the game, and they’re not going away. Tablets are extremely easy to use and well-liked, and smartphones have become incredibly common. Both have smaller screens and a more narrow demographic than you might think. Everything your website does and says now, has to acknowledge and perform for those experiences, too. Just existing is not enough.
Your business website has to make sharing very easy and give visitors many reasons to do it. That makes great copy text and content very, very important.
The same businesses that used their websites to generate sales last year need to pay attention to 2011’s fourth quarter survey ran by Equation Research. Tablet users were responsible for a 15-16% increase in online sales, and said they’d do again this year. People love the multi-touch screen because it allows them to enjoy the search and share experience. They call it ‘couch commerce.’
What Does That Mean For You?
Since mobile sales are responsible for 20-30% of online sales revenue, we can’t ignore its power. 170.3 million Americans are expected to make purchases online by 2015. If your business has a national audience, that’s over one half of the U.S. population that you need to be keenly aware of and able to reach.
Businesses marketing locally should also leverage their websites to generate higher sales. The key to using your website more effectively is your copy.
Website Content For Lead Generation
Your content is extremely valuable, if you know what you’re doing. There should be a goal in place for every single page of your website, a thoroughly thought-out schematic that leads your visitor to see your vision, trust your positioning, and lead gently to a sale. All of that must be conveyed with web page language that speaks to your customer point-of-view, point-of-pain, and expectation of relief through your offer.
The value of your website page copy is at an all-time high. Even so, there’s more to consider:
- Page copy should be easily digestible on a much smaller screen
- Responses have to be clearly encouraged
- Page navigation should be simple and user-friendly, not company-centric
- Links must be very easy to touch with plenty of space around them
- Newsletter sign up forms should have large entry boxes to collect names and emails easier
Mobile websites address this, but are often dismissed by business owners. In the absence of a mobile website option, staying within boundaries mentioned above will still help you engage with a mobile crowd.
Your website is your secret weapon, use it wisely and while many American businesses will struggle, you’ll have success.