Your business website is not designed to be a supermodel—to stand in front of your customers and simply look pretty. Even if you have the hottest new WordPress theme on the block, the slickest company logo and the best branding for miles, these factors are not guaranteed to sell your business’s product or service. Sorry, but it’s true.
I know this for a fact because I’ve had multiple business websites just like this—they were great to look at but had no substance. No depth. No meat. And let me tell you, they were far from effective.
For the first few businesses I owned, my friends and family would tell me, “I love your website!”, “Great looking site, Laurel!”, “Wow, who did your website?” This got me thinking I was on the right track. That my supermodel website was promoting my product like a boss. That all my clients would know that I’m the real deal because of how awesome it looked. In retrospect, obviously, this makes no sense.
Your website is a business TOOL. In fact, it’s the only tool that can physically work to make money for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not just there taking up web space to look pretty. It should be designed to sell (or pre-sell) your coaching services. Period. The end.
Instead of being a supermodel, your website should be a spokesperson for your company. It should provide relevant information, show concrete results (i.e. happy clients) and entice your prospects to work with you. Looking pretty is the added bonus that will wow and impress clients only after all the functional elements are in place.
When I finally figured all this out and updated my website (using many of the suggestions below), my website really started working for me and it was helping me land clients better than ever before.
So how do you make sure that your website is acting as one of your business’s biggest assets and not just a pretty looking wall that prospects bounce off of and move on to the next site? Well, here are 6 fool-proof tips that your website must have (in addition to great design and simple navigation)…
#1: Write GREAT copy
On one of my first coaching websites, I filled it full of nice photos thinking that people would get the feeling of what it was like to work with me. If you’re a photographer or clothing designer, having tons of photos makes total sense, but as a coach or consultant, you need great copy on your website.
Your website needs to share with you prospects exactly what they’ll get if they buy from you. Here’s a great article I found on QuickSprout: http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/10/07/the-definitive-guide-to-copywriting/
#2: Showcase plenty of social proof
When I was working as a health coach, I decided to put together a video with testimonials from four of my favorite clients. This was one of the best ideas I ever had.
Before I posted this video, my prospect clients had a difficult time understanding what I did. Even though I worked hard to write good copy, they still weren’t totally sure what coaching was and how it could help them. Once the video went up, they could directly hear the results that my other clients had experienced and my client conversation rate went up dramatically.
Your prospect customers need to see social proof—that someone else liked your services—before they buy from you. Otherwise, it can feel like they are taking a chance. Be sure to collect testimonials from your best clients and showcase them prominently on your website.
#3: Entice people to sign up for your mailing list
You will hear me say this over and over again on this blog: You need to capture people’s email address when they come to your site. Otherwise, when they leave your site—even if they loved your business—you have no way to contact them.
The truth is, the power of many businesses is in their mailing list. If you have a giant email list of potential clients, you have direct access to sell to them again and again. This is an extremely valuable asset.
Be sure you don’t just slap up a form that says “Sign up for my newsletter.” Instead, always give people something in exchange for their email address—some sort of free gift or service.
#4: Create an effective tagline
How many websites or blogs have you clicked on where you just can’t quite tell what they are about directly from the name? What’s the likelihood you’re going to spend your valuable time trying to figure it out?
The tagline for a previous blog of mine from years ago was “Quit your job. Grow your business. Make more money.” This is pretty straight forward. You know that when you read through the site, you will learn something in one of these 3 categories.
Make sure that it is really clear exactly what your business does. Create a client-focused tagline by thinking what results your ideal clients will receive when they spend money with you.
#5: Make it clear what you want your website visitors to do
We’ve all visited websites with blogs, about pages, testimonials, sign up forms, products, etc. You need to decide right off the bat what you want people to do first when they get to your site.
Recently, I was talking with a website designer who was putting together a new website for a local band that played at weddings. She showed me how on the front page, they strategically placed a 1 minute video right beside a large green “contact us now” button. She said that when people come to the site, it’s obvious that the first step is to watch the video. Then immediately, the second step is to click the button. Simple, yet highly effective.
When you make it super clear what your website visitors should do first, they are more likely to spend time on your site and “get to know you” a little bit. Otherwise, the chances are high that they will be overwhelmed with choices and bounce right off.
#6: Place the most important information “above the fold”
Just like a newspaper, place any important and enticing information that you want people to see “above the fold”—meaning that they don’t have to scroll down in their browser to see it. For instance, you might want to put your mailing list sign up or a great testimonial at the top.
Once you have all this set up and working for you, the next step is to send people to your website. This sounds obvious, but so often, I’ll run into business owners who send me to their Facebook or Twitter page when I ask how to stay in touch with them. This is not effective because (1) you have no control over the content on those sites, and (2) there is no email sign up form. Always send people to your website and be sure to have it working hard for you when they get there.