I probably need to clarify something before I get much farther, particularly for those of you who know me. I am, for the most part, technologically feeble even though I’ve spent most of my life working in and with technology in some form. However, I’ve always surrounded myself with people far more qualified than myself in the technology. Then I focused on the sales and marketing side. And that, my dear friends is what we’re doing today.
I’m not here to tell you how to improve your web site and get it seen based on the technical stuff. I have some friends and business coaching clients that are virtual experts in that side of the equation. What I want you to do is to look at your web site and forget about the technical stuff (stuff is such a nice technical word)! Today we’re discussing the other things that make a web site great. These things include the look and feel, the marketing and sales elements. These are the things that will keep your internet based customers on your site once they get there. Although experts can take you through an entire litany of different strategies and applications I want to focus on just eight of what I believe are among the most important. These are a few of the key elements that we would discuss in a business coaching session. So here we go;
- GENERIC is NOT ALLOWED: If you’re in business and you have a web site for your business GENERIC is not a word that should exist in your vocabulary. You cannot afford to spend a dime today on generic advertising or marketing and that includes your web site. You had better be using it to generate more traffic, help current customers and build future customers by providing specific benefits; specific solutions; specific value and specific offers and opportunities.
- USE HEADLINES: Remember the newspaper? How did or do you read the newspaper? Everyone reads the paper pretty much the same way, anywhere in the world. And just like they read the newspaper, research is showing they read internet news sites and newsletters the same way…..They read the headlines first! Always! So be sure that your web site isn’t full of a lot of words. Break it down into big headlines and smaller headlines to attract interest then keep them reading.
- USE WHITE SPACE: Another technique from the newspaper industry. A great ad in the paper if you talk with the pros is not one that just a page or a space with wall-to-wall words. Leave some open or white space. Give the headlines room to work. The exercise of creating white space is a good one in that it challenges you to only include the information that really makes a difference to attracting and transforming a casual reader into a customer.
- ALWAYS HAVE A SPECIFIC CALL TO ACTION: Always, always, always ask your web customers to do or respond to something, anything worthwhile. Have them click to go to a page to fill in their information and request a White Paper; Research; offer an on-line coupon; Sign up for a free class; Sign up for a newsletter…. ASK THEM TO DO SOMETHING! If they’re visiting your site it’s your responsibility to capture their email, phone number and anything else you can in order to build a powerful data base. But always; always; always have a call to action throughout your site.
- ANSWER THE TWO KEY QUESTIONS OF MARKETING: This is one of the biggest mistakes I see when working with my business coaching customers. The two key questions of marketing are not very scientific, but they are universal…..SO WHAT and WII-FM or What’s In It For Me? Just remember to ask yourself those two questions on every paragraph you write or every offer you make to your readers. Why? Because those two questions are asked by every single one of your readers, prospects and customers as they read every paragraph or offer you have. They’re saying, SO WHAT?….What does this have to do with me and my business and how can it help? If you don’t answer those two questions, every time, then you’re sunk. So practice it and the effectiveness of your articles and your offers should double overnight.
- IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! Many business owners will build their website and when it’s complete it looks like a shrine to the business owner. There is a place of a bio and some achievements but the great business web site is designed to promote your business and answer the SO WHAT and WII-FM Question for the reader. So be sure your site is full of benefits and features and successes of the business.
- BECOME FRIENDS WITH A FONT: Gads, this one really gripes me. Don’t get caught up in trying to be cute with your look and feel. Find a nice businesslike font that you like and use it consistently throughout your site. It makes a huge difference in readability.
- DITTO WITH COLORS: The same rules apply as in point 7…..Be sure you find colors that look good; aren’t too garish and make sense for your business. Again many people try to be cute with bright colors and cute 3-D type background colors and what you end up with is a color scheme that you simple cannot read the content in. AND, you’ve got to be able to read your content. So, try, test and ask a pro but find a color or combination and stick with it. Color is a great tool for creating an impression and image.
Well gang, I hope this helps. Just remember that there is more to the success of a business web site than paying for the backend technology which makes it run, that’s just half the equation. The presentation is what makes you money so be sure to get it right and put it to work for you now! If I can help you be sure to give me a call! And as always,