Marketing Your Business with Your Website
You expect your sales staff to handle their own process: finding leads, making contact, presenting your USPs and ultimately closing the deal. Your website should be a self-starter, too. If the only way prospects are learning it exists is when you hand them your business card, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
A good business website should not be just the first step in your sales funnel. It should be able to actively attract people needing services like yours, qualify those leads and assist conversions, all under its own power. In short, it should function like a true sales professional.
1. Update your content
Your website may have been built several years ago. Does it still reflect your current brand image, sales messaging and scope of products/services? Has it kept pace with changing market conditions and what your competition is doing? (Don’t be surprised if this exercise reveals the need for an overall marketing review.)
2. Help prospects find you
From a sales point of view, the best thing about the Internet is that it’s demand-driven: people already know they need what you sell, and are looking for it. When your website shows up on page one of their search engine results, a lot more of those potential customers will be heading your way. Online marketing and Search engine optimization (SEO), both on and off site, gets you that coveted top rank placement. This is a multi-faceted endeavor, but a few possible SEO tactics are suggested below.
3. Be mobile responsive
Since 2014, Internet usage on mobile devices has exceeded desktop computers. That’s why it’s now essential to have a responsive website that displays page formats according to the size and shape of the device loading them. This is true even of B-to-B websites, with up to 86% of executives saying they have researched a product or service for their business on their smartphone. If your site doesn’t have this capability, you’re putting a roadblock in the way of prospective customers.
4. Be a speed demon
These days Internet users’ attention span is measured in milliseconds. You need them to get your message before they lose patience and leave. There are two ways in which your website needs to be fast: page load and viewer comprehension. The first is for your techie to handle. The second is for your designer, who knows how to create simple, prioritized layouts that focus attention on the key elements. This is even more crucial for B-to-B websites targeting busy executives who won’t waste their time on a site that forces them to dig for the information they need.
5. Get Google Analytics
This website tracking tool can be a salesperson’s best friend. Find out who is visiting, what their needs are, how they found you and much more. Then you can make adjustments to your content, online advertising, etc., to reach your target audience even more effectively.
6. Choose the SEO tactics that are right for you
Certain aspects, such as site architecture and coding that make you visible to search engine crawlers, are essential for everyone. However, there are others which may not deliver a good return on investment, depending on your type of business and customer. For example, websites with embedded videos often get high search engine rankings (assuming the video is tagged correctly); but if that type of content isn’t suited to your products/services, you must weigh the possible SEO advantage against the weakening of your sales message and slowing down of your page load.
7. Pre-qualify your prospects
An important part of SEO is knowing what keywords people are using to search for what your business provides. When search engines find these keywords in your site content, they will include the site in the results they present to searchers. The trick is to choose words and phrases that accurately represent your business, so that only legitimate prospects see your site. If you’re a nail salon, using a specific phrase such as “nails manicure” would automatically screen out people searching for the kind of nails you hit with a hammer.
8. Make news
By news, we mean anything from a tweet to a major corporate announcement. The point is to post new content regularly on your site and keep visitors coming back to see what’s happening. This helps build trust in your organization. It’s also good SEO strategy, because search engines perceive frequent activity as a sign of quality and value. Bonus tip: You can set up your site so that content additions are automatically posted to your social media pages, and vice versa.
9. Tell them to take the next step
It may seem blatantly obvious that you want potential customers to contact you. And yet, many market research studies have shown that when you actually ask them to do so, response rates are significantly increased. Make sure there are plenty of in-text hyperlinks and “Contact Us Now” buttons on every page of your site, inviting them to initiate the sales process.
With these tips, your website can become a profitable member of your sales team. If doing all 9 seems daunting, then pick the ones that seem most likely to benefit your business. The main thing is to make a start, and let the results guide your next steps.
This is only the beginning of the Internet’s sales and marketing potential. Beyond your corporate website, there’s a world of opportunity in social media, review sites, networking sites, SEM and PPC ads, and more.