Most small business owners will have a website but is yours actually working as hard as it could to promote your services and engage and attract your ideal clients to take action and buy? Or is it just a static web presence with few visitors and no engagement?
I know from personal experience the labour of love that goes into the creation of a website if you are a small business owner as I have been there, seen it and got the range of t-shirts! Whether you do it yourself or get others to support you in its creation, it can be a really positive experience, or just total overwhelm which puts you off from ever doing it again! Talking to most individuals – it’s usually the latter, unfortunately.
If you outsource the image sourcing, the copywriting, the site build, the design or the entire project, it’s a personal journey often fraught with technobabble, a slew of decisions totally out of your comfort zone and a reticence to go live until it is absolutely perfect. And to launch a website as a small business owner is often a journey that has considerable cost in either (or both) time and money. The longest website project I ever worked on took a full year – yep, 12 months on a site that had more design changes than I had hot dinners in that time. Despite a smidgeon of bespoke functionality, it should have been live in 3 months at the most!
And once it’s perfect and live? Actually on the subject of perfect – here’s a reality check – no website is ever perfect! Good enough is good enough – and this advice is given from a reformed total perfectionist! Make sure all the links work and test any functionality thoroughly but as for images, that extra paragraph to explain the award you won back in 2001, these can all be tweaked post-launch. A website is never perfect (gulp!) and it’s not meant to be. Instead it should be a constantly evolving tool to support your business! Adding to it should be part of committing to having a website and regularly updating the content will help you appear higher up in Google search results over time too.
So you launch – perfect or not. What happens next?
Did you get a raft of inquiries and downloads, which grew your email list and gave you sales leads you could convert to new clients? Or, (and much more commonly), a very low level of interest outside of your nan, other family members, friends, and business colleagues who always support you, no matter what?
I am not here to knock that support but it’s not going to get you the website traffic you need to recoup the time and money spent on creating your beautiful site. Part of creating or revamping your service-based business website should be to consider how you are going to drive visitors to it and keep them there long enough to engage them and get them to take action. That is going to include some proper marketing focus including a strategy, a plan, and a commitment to creating interest, via email/social media/networking which also engages and resonates with your target audience (the choice of channel is dictated by your ideal client, not where you like to hang out), so that the people you want to work with, visit your site and realise you and the services you offer are just what they have been looking for!
So here are some top-line tips to get your website earning you some income rather than generating nothing but tumbleweed:
It’s all about your ideal client and how you can help them – not about you
I say this a lot but it is absolutely critical to know who your ideal client is and how your expertise can help them. So many small business owners and consultants focus too much on their achievements, industry awards et al as the intro to their website. Yes, of course, these are important because they give gravitas to your expertise and specialist knowledge but they should appear after you engage with your target audience.
Whatever page you direct your clients to – they immediately need to have a reason to stay and read more, so you must create content to resonate and engage them and quickly demonstrate how you can help them. No one has time anymore to waste on reading marketing fluff or loads of content – so they need to know immediately what’s in it for them so get to the point as your priority and communicate this clearly or lose them.
Your copy should be written to attract, engage and make them want to work with you because what you offer is exactly what they need! Then comes the background info on why they should choose you – the press coverage, awards, achievements, etc.
Make it crystal clear what it is you want them to do
You should quickly give your clients a clear call to action (CTA) – especially in the top area of your home page, in fact, any page! Everything should be focused on increasing their engagement with your business. CTA’s include: find out more, follow us on (most relevant social media), apply now, register, discover more, subscribe now, download now. There are lots to choose from!
As a bare minimum, you want them to sign-up to get more information – whether that’s via a regular newsletter or a free download. So add value, offer something for free, and capture those email addresses. An email list is yours whereas growing followers, friends, or connections via a social media account – this valuable data which can take time to grow, can be taken away from you at any time – its out of your control, be warned – I know this from personal experience!
Make the structure work for your audience
If you have different target audiences (and I’d strongly advise no more than 3!) your website should have landing pages for each of them. These pages should also have a clear CTA and include visual and written content to resonate with that specific audience – stay on point and make the whole page resonate. If you can, tag your blogs or news articles so that only those that are relevant appear on each of those landing pages – remember you have to engage at every step of their visit with relevant content.
Consider the customer experience of using your website
That brings me to the customer experience you offer. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and this is so true in the world of website design and content. Consider the customer experience, at every step of their journey around your website, and in fact at any touchpoint they may have via your marketing assets. And it goes without saying that any website today should be fully responsive – so it looks good on any size device – from the smallest smartphone to the largest desktop, and everything in between. So when you are in the test stage before you launch, or you add new pages or sections to an existing site – view them on different devices to make sure they all offer the same great customer experience.
If this all sounds like a mammoth and costly task then an informal chat with me could shed some clarity on where to begin, whether you want to revamp and refresh your current site or you are ready for a shiny, brand new one. What makes me an expert? I have designed, built, managed, written the content for, and launched a wide variety of websites within B2B services over the last 20 years and have a whole raft of tips on how to make it as simplified and hassle-free as possible.
I now design and build Squarespace websites too. Why? Because my unique combination of creative, tech and marketing knowledge ensures you will have a website that never sees tumbleweed! Oh yes, and having worked with loads of different platforms in that 20+ years, I know from experience that Squarespace is a cost-effective, ‘easy as 1-2-3 to use’ platform with 24/7 support for even the most tech adverse small business owners.
So whether you want to revamp your current site with new content and pages or you’re ready for a shiny new one, it’s time we had a chat.