Did you know you have just 3 seconds to grab your prospective client’s attention and interest before they decide whether you are relevant to them?

In just 3 seconds, they will decide if you can help them or not.  If they can’t see how you can help them immediately, then, unfortunately in all likelihood they will click away from your site and seek their alternatives.

Perhaps, they will never return.

I have often seen some advertisements from web design agencies claiming that they can build a quick website for something like $250 or $495. They give me a bit of a chuckle when I see them.

These guys obviously don’t know how to build a website that sells and doesn’t suck. Because building a website that engages with its audience takes way more effort than setting up some pre-made templates, adding a logo and some quick generic texts about business …and boom!….here you go… congrats!!…your website is live J

There’s an old saying in business – if you pay in peanuts you get monkeys.

cheap web design pricing exampleBuilding a website goes way beyond just a pretty look and setting up some simple functions that will get you by. There are many elements that go into making an outstanding website but essentially your website has to perform these 4 key functions for your business.

Know what you’re after? Jump to the section:

1. Connect
2. Capture
3. Convert
4. Add value

  1. Connect

You must connect with your audience instantly and tell them in a concise language how you can help them. If your audience is confused about what you do and how you can help them when they arrive at your site, then sadly you’ve lost them.

Why is connecting to your audience important?

One of the most important aspects of marketing is to connect to the target audience. Your website needs to be able to address their desires, wants and hence you will know how to work on your sales pitches and others calls to action that will resonate with your target market’s deep down desires.

A home page also needs to ‘talk the talk’. It needs to speak in a language that’s familiar to its audience and, avoid corporate-speak and sales-oriented clichés at all costs.

Don’t just say that your target audience are women and men from 20 to 60 years old, in the cities who have pets.

Drill down and go to more detail than that!! How about “my target audience is mainly females in the 40 – 60 year age bracket, who usually have kids and live in Northern Beaches and Upper North Shore areas of Sydney and own one or two dogs. They are mostly professional women and have a decent income.”

home page resonate with target audience

Image 2: Freshbook’s home page showing a headline that exactly targets its preferred audience

How do you connect?

  • Through images on the website (is it small business owners you are talking to? Stay at home mums with kids, young, stylish female shoppers, you need to be laser specific about your target audience)

Many psychological studies over time have proven that people understand images faster than words. Images on a website can connect with your target market and your customer in a deep and profound way.

Relevant, authentic images (not cheesy, stock images) not only add life to a website, they make it convert better.

  • Through how you talk to them on the website

Do you know what the single message is that your prospects need to hear in order to be instantly interested and motivated about your product or service? Imagine that you only get one shot at conveying this… if you’re wrong, they go away and never contact you again.

If you can come up with a few, powerful messages, they will help you to capture user’s attention and encourage them to explore your site at a deeper level.

  • Through knowing the core problems, desires, wants and needs that they have in their lives or businesses

Have you ever thought about what do you need to learn or hear about regarding your prospects’ problems, deep desires, wants or needs that would raise their interest level to a 10 when they read what you’ve got on your website?

You need to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and find the answers to those questions.. Then go the extra step and ask what are the personal reasons that they will use to convince themselves?

You need to think outside of the box in this case. What is the reason to have  cosmetic surgery? Is it to boost self-confidence to be more successful or to earn more income?

By undertaking this process you will have a better understanding of what presses your prospect’s buttons and you can then figure out how your business can tap into their deep-down concerns or desires.

  • Through online surveys.

You won’t be able to connect effectively with your potential customers if you don’t have a customer in mind.

Survey current customers, as well as members of your target market, to find out how you can better present your product or service, or what aspects might be missing from what you’re currently offering.

  • Through social media

It just makes good business sense to align your business with the social media channels that are popular with your customers and prospects.

If they use a professional network like LinkedIn, be sure to set up an account there — even if you’re not ready to participate actively you should at least keep an eye on how your customer community is interacting.

  2. Capture

Your site has to capture a prospect’s name and email and this is so important. The majority of visitors (up to 98%) will not buy on their first visit. You need to earn their trust and the most effective way you can do this is via regular email contact.

If you don’t set up your site to effectively build your audience by capturing names and emails then you can’t build a relationship with them over time. You are throwing away thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.

It is important to engage with the prospects that visit your website but are not quite ready to use your services at that moment.

Great websites have strategically placed sign up forms to collect emails that allow the business to nurture leads, so that they are the first business that comes to mind when visitors are ready to become clients.

Developing a good marketing list like this is a valuable asset to any growing business.

How to capture?

A great way to capture the contact details of your prospects is to offer some kind of incentive on your website. Great incentives can be:

  • Ebook – ebooks are electronic publications that can be downloaded from a website. They are typically educational, informative guides to particular topics and are used by businesses to share their expertise.

harley finance ebook

Image 3: Example of Harley Finance ebook option

  • White paper or guide –very similar in delivery and style to an eBook, a white paper too is an electronic publication available for download. Whereas eBooks tend to be how to guides whitepapers generally are research oriented and are generally reports compiled by businesses. Typically they contain a lot of useful information, statistics and data.
  • Competition – create some buzz around your site by offering website visitors the chance to win a prize.

You can have some fun with the prize and either make it something direct from your business or you can organise something of value from an external source. Consumers love entering competitions with the chance of winning something good so they are a great way to get their details.

  3. Convert

Convert browsers into happy buyers. Your website should be your best unpaid salesperson in the world for your business.

Your website can and should be building trust with your audience and bringing in revenue to your business 24/7. It’s not that hard to do this especially these days, it’s actually faster and simpler and easier than you might think.

Here’s an attempt to move from being an ordinary static website that can’t hold visitor’s attention into making the effort into being actively courted by them.

  • Entice them in with window merchandising. This may seem obvious, but it’s the most important rule in retail business. An awesome looking shop window is designed to catch the roving shopper’s eye and it works! Great shop windows pull people inside the store.

If you use the same principle to  spend time and resources on creating a show stopping home page featuring merchandise that you are are proud to showcase, then visitors will spend time digging deeper and browsing your site.

  • Make them an offer they can’t refuse. An excellent way to convince hesitant shoppers to let the moths out of their wallet is to offer them deals that aren’t available anywhere else, 5 or 10% off here and there won’t cut it. Make that offer unforgettable and irresistible.

This may mean getting inventive with your sourcing and pricing strategies so that you can offer real value to your users without breaking the bank.

Investigate coupons, discounts, bundled offers, free shipping, free servicing, warranties, and more to stop those eyeballs wandering away from your site and actually make a purchase.

misguided irresistible offers

Image 4: Misguided has entered Australia’s market without a single physical store in Australia, they are very clever with their irresistible offers like the one above

  • Feature a main call to action dominantly

The best home pages use both primary and secondary calls-to-action to guide visitors to the next logical step in the buying process. For example they might say, “Free Trial” followed by “Schedule a demo”, or “Buy now” followed by “Learn More”.

This strategy is designed to entice visitors to venture more deeply into your sales funnel, carefully holding their hand through each step so they do not get overwhelmed, disinterested or lost.

It turns your home page into an effective lead generation machine and not just a pretty design.

main call to action above the foldImage 5: Front and centre main Call to Action 

  • Retarget across devices, by display and email. Automate your ads to allow you to auto-populate items that the buyer viewed on their last visit. The fact that they have visited your site previously helps to consolidate this opinion and helps with conversions.

remarketing ads from Misguided

Image 6: Another clever dynamic remarketing ads from Misguided on the items that I have checked out but haven’t bought

  • Create a sense of urgency/scarcity. Offering your customers outstanding products at great prices is no longer enough. It’s vital to remind them that the fantastic products on offer come with a ticking deadline that requires immediate purchase or the bargain will be lost.

Create limited time bargain offers and showcase them front and centre on your site to build a sense of urgency among your visitors.

Be careful to ensure that you’re not creating a false sense of urgency by telling visitors that there are “only 3 left” when the product is digital and the number available won’t decrease once they order.

count-down offer on ecommerce website

Image 7: Example of count-down offer on ecommerce website

 4. Add value

First and foremost, you need to add a lot of value for visitors in order for them to get interested in your services.

It wouldn’t make sense if you just throw out a bunch of sales pages to people and suddenly market them the stuff for sales and you don’t add any value to your website, they don’t know you, they don’t trust you and they won’t properly buy from you.

So, how does a website add value?

I have two words “Give and Give”

You need to ask yourself

  • Have I given answers to all the possible questions that my current customers and prospects possibly ask and are looking for?
  • Have I given them best tips, advice to their core problems?

Never underestimate the value of free resources!

Whether it’s a free guides, checklists, eBooks or webinars, free resources are a great way to create added value and showcase your brand’s ability to offer ‘a little something extra’ to customers.

Free resources can also serve as useful tools to help grow a small business’s brand awareness and expose your target market to various products and services.

Conclusions

Your website is your online gateway to your business and should be treated as such.  If somebody spends a few hundred dollars for a website, then they would probably have a website that gives an impression of few hundred dollars’ worth of business.

So..I have just walked you through the most 4 important elements of a website and I hope that you have a clearer picture of what is required.

I do believe that if you are serious about your online business, you will invest a decent amount of resources into a website that will set a strong foundation for your online promotion later on.

That’s why it is so vital that before you go spending thousands of dollars on a pretty website, you should know exactly what you need to have on your site and what not to have, so your site sells and doesn’t suck.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions with your new website. If you are unsure about anything you’ve read in this article and feel you need clarification on or you would like  to reach out for a consultation, hit me up!

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