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Designing Websites That Work

Most small business websites are poorly designed. That isn’t to say they don’t look good, or that good visuals aren’t important, but they aren’t designed to DO anything.

When I worked in sales there was a golden rule: “Ask for the sale!” Your website has to do the same thing, telling visitors what action you want them to take, and funnelling them into taking it.

For most websites the primary goal is to get the visitor to ‘contact us’, creating a new lead for the business and a potential sale. Although the contact button might appear on the main menu, there’s often nothing to really persuade the visitor to take the action we want, or to remind them to take it.

First of all, give the visitor an incentive and a reason to contact. “Contact us now for your FREE assessment”. “Contact us to get your free, no-obligation quote today!” The customer is both getting something useful - a quote, assessment or whatever else - for free, and also we’re simplifying the process for them. Instead of putting the onus on them to contact us and say what they want, we’re offering them something and all they have to do is say yes, I’ll take it.

Next, put that incentive and call to action on EVERY page on your website. Don’t be shy - the goal of the website is to get customers to contact you, not for them to have a look around and then disappear.

Blog posts are a classic example. Businesses create blog posts full of useful information that demonstrates their tremendous expertise, then when the reader is done they say “that was interesting”, and move on to something else. A section which appears automatically at the end of every blog post saying “we hope you found this useful, why not contact us for your free assessment” with a box to enter your email or phone number, can dramatically increase the number of leads your website creates.

And let’s not stop there. Not every visitor will be ready to contact us straight away, but many of those who don’t want to contact right now will be interested in receiving more useful information. Create a mailing list with a reward for signing up (known as a lead magnet) and place this around your website as well. “Enter your email to receive our free guide to …”. By entering their email and receiving their free guide, the customer will join your mailing list so you have the opportunity to keep in touch and sell to them in the future.

When we design a website what we’re trying to do is not just put up information about our business, but actually create new leads and make sales. Start by deciding what actions you would like a visitor to your site to take - to contact you, buy something, sign up to something and so on - and with every element you place on your site think “is this funneling my visitor into taking the action that I want?” If it is, then great. If not, let it go!

Chris Dann
Red Balloon Websites

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