Long gone are the days when having a website was as easy as creating an online brochure and putting it up to sell your product or services. Today’s reality is that people expect more out of your website than just a sales pitch and a list of services.

So what does a website need then? Well never fear, gentle reader, as here are the key components you can pass on to your web team to ensure that your site will be successful.

For best results, treat the website as a location

Websites have gone through a bit of a transition. What was once just a bunch of pages on the internet that would serve as your signal of existence has become the digital equivalent of having another location. As the internet has become increasingly accessible from every device we own, that online location becomes not only an increasing source of leads and customers but also an expected source of helpful information and online services by those very same people.

But how does that make it like a location? Start by putting yourself in the buyer’s situation. We start the buying process by researching information. We may ask friends about the product or service, or we may talk to a salesperson to ask questions. How can our website replicate this?

First, the website needs to evolve and expanded with answers to the kinds of questions your prospects have. It should be a resource they can consult for research. The site can act as the sales/support person in helping make decisions at each stage of the buying process.

I hate when I think I’m buying local, organic vegetables only to arrive home and realize they’re just regular, doublestuffed Oreos.

Second, the site needs to engage people at each level of the buying process to ensure that the right people are getting the right information by implementing both low and high level calls to action for information requests, quotes and other services.

Think about this: Would you consider purchasing from a business that can’t solve your problem? Would you visit a store that has had the same inventory and same special for 20 years? How about a pushy salesman that just wants to make the sale? I think it’s pretty safe to say that we would all prefer to avoid these types of businesses – so why do people constantly do this with their websites?

Some questions you should answer about your website:

  • How are we currently helping leads and prospects at our physical location that would make sense on the web?
  • Am I prepared to change content on my site regularly to make it relevant to online visitors?
  • What are some different questions that our prospects tend to ask at the different levels of the sales funnel that I can use on my site?
  • Is being found in search engines an important factor to my business?
  • Do we have a process for tracking a site visitor who becomes a lead?
  • How important is being able to convert a site visitor to a lead to my business? 

Target your Personas: The People Who Care

A persona, in a nutshell, is a profile of your ideal customers. What some people call demographics, a persona takes it to the next level by becoming a named profile of that person that we can use as filters for everything we do.

Mom said I could be anyone I want to be. Turns out that’s identity theft.

There’s no fast or heavy rule on how many personas your business should have but once you answer the questions surrounding who your dream customers are, only then can you firmly say who your audience is. An understanding of your buyer personas will help your website designers create site maps, page layouts and website content that quickly directs site visitors to the most relevant information in the fastest way possible.

Your personas aren’t just an educated guess, either. You can get very useful info to help compile your personas from a variety of sources including:

  • Your Sales Team – Talk with your sales force and ask them who the best clients are, who tends to make the buying decisions, etc.
  • Complaints Department – Whether you have a team, a secretary or even just yourself, customer complaints can be a great way to figure out what your personas are looking for.
  • Managers – Ask them who their favorite clients are and how they fit with your business goals
  • Existing Clients – Take some time and ask your best clients about their experiences with you. Ask where they got their information and what other types of information they’d love to see from you.

Once you figure out who your personas are, you can use them as a filter for creating new web content or other marketing materials. If it’s determined that a piece of content doesn’t fit one of your personas, then it’s not the right marketing idea for your business.

For help creating your personas check out these past articles from Fusebox.

What Are Brand Personas and 5 Reasons Why You Need Them
The 8-Step Marketing Exercise you Can’t Afford to Ignore

Some persona questions you should answer:

  • Who are the personas for each type of business I have? Men’s shoes and women’s shoes are two different personas, for example. Name each persona and give them a story. It helps generate a real representation of your clients.
  • Are your current business goals directed at these personas?
  • Are these ideal customers in fact the ones you’ve been attracting?

Be Proud of What you Have to Offer

Every business has their own unique methods ands secrets, so it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses hold those cards so close to their chest and never use them to their advantage online.

Save the poker face for Vegas, baby.

For example, Fusebox doesn’t just compete on an artistic or technical level. We also pride ourselves on sharing our expertise to help businesses communicate their own value. This goes far beyond just a website or any single marketing tactic.

So what is the value of your business? Do you sell a product? What does it do for me that a competitive product doesn’t do? Do you sell a service? How is it different? Are you a part of your community? Dont’ be afraid to tell people why you are different. Your prospects are out there looking to find you.

Some value questions to answer:

  • Can I explain my products or services efficiently while still showing value?
  • Are my products or services better explained visually or with words?
  • What aspect of my products or services am I most proud of? IE: price, dependability, features, etc.
  • How are my products and services providing more value than my competition?

In the end, your website is becoming the hub that more and more people are visiting to see what you about. They’re visiting on every device imaginable long before they pick up the phone or hop in the car. Answering these questions can help give you a leg up on your competition and help give your web team the tools they need to turn your website from a boring brochure into something that can help attract visitors and generate leads.

Once you’ve got that online location rockin’, here are a few more inbound marketing tips and tricks from Fusebox.

10 More Mind Blowing Statistics on Inbound vs. Traditional Marketing
Why You’re Failing at Content Remarketing
The 3 Types of Buyers and How to Market to Them

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