Grow Your Business by Becoming an Inbound Organization: Part II
10 things your website better provide or you will lose me (and maybe a lot of other people) even before we START!
An Inbound Organization starts the buyer journey by creating a website that provides lots of education, kind of like an online portal for actively first attracting then engaging a target audience & persona.
One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is thinking that a website is an expense and not an asset. Remember, your company website is your very first impression to most contacts, and communicates your brand message, engages your audience, and should basically be your best salesperson. Too often companies cut corners and don’t use the best tools to accomplish their goals, or refuse to hire the best talent (hint, your geeky nephew might not be the BEST choice) to manage their web presence. Many companies believe that if you build it they will come, so they just set it and forget it.
A great website can be within any company’s reach as long as they optimize for user experience. Here are some things you better do if you want to keep me around 🙂
1. You can help me, but please don’t give me a sales pitch
Get rid of the fluff, marketing-speak nonsense. Saying “we deliver great customer service and are value-added, sustainable, problem solvers” does not help me solve any problem I have and is arcane and mildly annoying. And please don’t fall in love with the design elements du jour and do-dads that make the developer happy. Build it for me, from my perspective, and make your site easy to use with a minimum of distractions. Understand how to reach me through SEO by creating content that matches the topics I search, and when I arrive, please show me how you can help with my problems. When my search is in the form of a question, please answer it quickly. You have 3 seconds. Respect my time, my click, my search. Show me with your site that you know how to do that.
2. Show me how to improve my situation, not just try to cash a check
Once you clearly state what you do to help, what problem you solve, what questions you answer, then have some meat on the bones when I click deeper into the site. Understand my path through your site and make sure I arrive at the page with the solution I need. Do it in 5-7 words and prove to me that you are focused and clear in what you do and do not do.
3. Use current design ideas, best practice content management technology, and functionality
Show me you know the world has changed and are committed to helping me online. You should have a blog because I like current, frequent, sharable, easy-to-consume, and easy-to-find content delivered to me in the format I want to read. Make sure your site loads quickly and looks great on mobile devices. I shouldn’t need a microscope to read your pages on my phone or have to get a needle to click a tiny link in the drop down menu.
4. Be a bit better than the other 10 competitors of yours that I will find in 30 seconds
It is just a fact that I can find any number of competitors just as quickly as I found you. Stand out, be interesting, be unique. Have some character, be fun, be open, be authentic, be original, and be different. What does that look like? I don’t know, I just want it and I know it when I see it. If you think you are like your competitors, and it is hard to differentiate, then guess what? You deserve to be treated like a commodity and I will constantly ask you to give the me the lowest price (if I talk to you at all).
5. Focus on what makes you special and why it is my best interest to care
Create great content that is not just about your product. The specs, the technical details, and the features are not what I want to see first. Show me you understand my application, my issues, my situation and create content in different forms to help me: videos, case studies, infographics, articles, testimonials, animated shorts, articles, e-books, checklists, calculators, how to guides, etc. Know me and anticipate the content I want to consume. Use your content to entice me to dig deeper, because that is what I am looking to do.
6. Share lots of cool info for free
Give me lots of great content before you make me an offer. If you ask me to convert by filling out a form too soon, then I will refuse. Ask me to fill out a form and exchange my information only after providing me with lots of value and establishing trust. Your catalog is not valuable to me. Your specifications are not that important until the very end of my buying journey, assuming we get there. Help everyone with great content for free and earn the chance to talk with me, if indeed I am a good fit and want to consider a purchase.
7. Give me a great customer experience
Make it easy to find stuff, take the next steps, and become engaged with your company. Just because I found you to start with, does not mean I will stick around if you fail to engage me and bring me closer to your company and how you can help me. Each step, touch point, or connection must exceed my expectations. Miss it at any point in the process, and I will drop out.
8. Let me take it for a spin without effort or remorse
Find a way to let me take a test drive without a commitment. For online digital and SaaS companies this is pretty standard stuff. What about people that make equipment? How can we demo that? Maybe a demo unit in your factory or a virtual demo video? But we sell a consumable? Think Costco and the guy giving away free samples. Send me a small sample. Sell services? Give me a free assessment or analysis. Find a way to give me a zero-risk and no-cost test.
9. Make it easy to contact you in many ways when I am ready
We are all different. I like to talk on the phone; my wife hates the phone. Don’t assume we all want to engage the same way. Let me send email, fill out a form, call on the phone (your phone number on the site better be click to talk since I am probably using my mobile phone), start a chat, send a text. Make it so natural and easy to connect with you that I do so.
10. Be nice, be human, B2H
Don’t bombard me with spam-like follow up emails, or ask for just 15 minutes of my time to review how great the product is, or assume I am ready to talk to a salesperson just because I downloaded an e-book. When we do talk, when I am ready, be pleasant, be happy, be nice, be non-aggressive, and be focused on my needs, not your sales quota.
I am human, different, unique, special. Treat me that way with your website; because after all, your site is all I know about your company until I decide to learn more and engage with you. My experience with your site is all you have to persuade, convince, and move me to act. Get it wrong and there will be no further conversation and you will never see me again.