Is Your Website Hurting Your Sales Efforts?
Your company website is perhaps the most valuable asset in your marketing arsenal. It provides the lowest barrier to entry for prospects and existing customers alike to learn more about your product or services, and acts as a 24-hour sales rep, providing relevant information to that drives sales. At least that’s the idea.
Your website can be a powerful tool to drive conversions and help your business thrive, when done correctly. When it’s not, it can act as a roadblock to your efforts and actively deter new prospects from taking a leap of faith in working with you. Oftentimes our clients will ask us if we feel they need a new website. The answer is not always “yes,” so take the time to review this checklist to see if your website is helping, or hurting, your sales efforts!
Evaluate Your Website with This Dead Simple, 5-Step Checklist
- It Isn’t Mobile-Optimized: This is the first thing I check when deciding whether to recommend a website refresh. As of 2014, we finally passed the tipping point where more people, on average, used mobile devices to browse the internet than desktop or laptop computers. Previously, in order to make your website accessible from a mobile device, you had to create a separate, oftentimes stripped down, version of your website. The hallmark of this approach was the “m.domainname.com” prefix. But no longer! Responsive Web Design (RWD) allows your website to contain the exact same content, and provide the exact same experience, to a mobile user as a desktop user. Your site will simply dynamically rearrange itself to fit the appropriate screen size.For a search engine like Google, whose primary value to users lies in its ability returning relevant search results based on a given query, favoring sites that perform evenly on mobile devices—where many of its users are—is critical. Google’s algorithm does just that, granting a ranking boost to websites that are mobile-friendly. If for no other reason than avoiding the hit to your SEO, the choice to upgrade your site pays for itself.
- It Contains Inconsistent Aesthetics: Prospects and customers look to your website as validation of your credibility. Your website is a reflection of your overall business. If you rely heavily on stock imagery that does not perfectly align with your offerings, or use a haphazard collection of colors and fonts across your pages, this can reflect poorly on your business’ credibility. Prospects want to receive an even experience of your brand. By codifying the color palette, fonts and the style of images in use on your website, you present a consistent and credible brand image to visitors, which will ultimately build trust.
- It Lacks Critical Content: Your website is an interactive piece of sales literature. Every piece of information contained on your site should serve a specific goal, while minimizing fluff. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are all of the benefits of your product or service reflected accurately and comprehensively?
- Are all of your eligible prospect audiences represented on your site?
- Are you addressing the key motivators of each audience that would encourage a sale?
- Are your calls-to-action clearly articulated and direct?
- Can a prospect easily understand the process of what to expect at the time of purchase, and what happens immediately afterwards?
If you answered “no,” to any of the above questions, you should first assess whether you know the answers to the questions and seek them out if you don’t. From there, ensure that these are reflected accurately when you refresh your website.
- The User Experience is Poor: So your content is on point; it addresses all of your audiences and provides all of the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to work with your company. But if it’s even slightly difficult for your audiences to find the content that speaks directly to them, you are going to lose sales.
- Is critical information buried, or difficult to locate directly? Ensuring that your pages are titled and organized in a logical way that matches the thought process of your prospects is an essential first step.
- Do you minimize the number of clicks a given audience would need to find all of the information they require? Unnecessary complexity is just as bad as gaps in content.
- Does your homepage, or top-level section pages, act as sub-navigation for the rest of your site? The header is not the only way to navigate a website. In fact, it’s often not the primary way that users experience your site. Web browsing is an exercise in train of thought, so minimizing distractions and providing sparks of interest that help users parse the information that relates to them from that which does not—no matter where they are within the site—will be a boon to the user’s overall experience.
- Is anything broken? This may seem like a no-brainer, but something as simple as a dead link, to something as large as a malfunctioning checkout process in the case of an eCommerce business, will, at best, damage your credibility – and at worst, lose you a sale.
We live in an age of instant gratification, and if users find it challenging to immediately locate the answers to their questions with little to no thought expended, they will look elsewhere.
- Absence of Lead Capture: Picture this – you’re running great promotions, maybe even an ad campaign or two, and prospects are visiting your website left and right. Congratulations! But what if they aren’t immediately ready to make a purchase? Do you have a way to capture that person’s information? Or would they be lost back into the ether entirely? Don’t lose your prospects. Unless you’re selling an impulse product, your prospects likely need to be nurtured before they are ready to convert. Give them an opportunity to. Ensuring that there is a straightforward mechanism for customers to provide you with their contact information, oftentimes in exchange for more detailed content about your product or service, serves the dual purpose of keeping them happy, and giving you, the business owner, another means to nurture your sales pipeline.Lead capture forms should be placed prominently throughout your site. However, you should avoid at all costs being overly obtrusive, as this negatively affects the user experience described in #4 above.
How did your website fare? Are you firing on all cylinders, or did you miss a few steps along the way? If you have any questions about your website’s efficiency, or how it could be better optimized for conversions – please let us know and we’ll be happy to help!