A lot of small business owners have no choice but to wear a lot of hats. One of those is probably the marketing hat, which every once in a while we dust off (why is there dust on it?!) and put on to see what kinds of things we can do to generate more customers and leads coming in. Today I'm going to give you some things you can do to spruce up your website, but first...
How My Broken Car Is Like Your Website
A few days ago my wife called me, frantic.
"There's a problem with the car. I was in the construction on Highway 40 and I must have hit something. Now the car is making a loud noise."
She was able to make it to work, and I made my way up to the car. Turns out the catalytic converter has a hole in it and needs replaced.
Calling a few dealerships around town netted me a few estimates from as low as $775 to as high as $1500.
Now, I'm a do-it-yourselfer, and I'm not afraid to get a little dirty. Turns out I can get a catalytic converter that fits my car for less than $200 bucks plus shipping.
Looks like I'm doing this one myself.
Just like most small business owners, we look for opportunities to save money and still get a pretty good bang for our buck. We understand that time is money, so we don't want to waste time on tasks that we don't think will net us a decent return down the road. So let me ask you this...
If Your Website Were a Car, How Would it Run?
Would it be an efficient machine, getting your business where it needs to go and taking your business to places you've never seen? Or would it be extremely inefficient and maybe even smell a little bit?
I'd be willing to surmise that most small business websites might be running like a car, but not a new, shiny one...
More like an old jalopy that drains your wallet and doesn't treat you well.
Luckily, it doesn't have to be that way.
If you think your website is an old jalopy, that's ok - a few 'tune ups' and some 'body work' and you'll be happy to be seen with it once again.
Website Tune Up 1: Your About Us Page
Let's start with your most neglected and under utilized page on your site - your About Us page.
Did you know that during a visit to a website, when a purchase is made, that nearly 40% of those visits include a stop on the About Us page?
That means that 40% of purchasers are using that page as part of their purchase decision.
Your About Us page needs a few key elements to encourage potential customers to do business with you:
It should tell your story
- Why are you in this particular business?
- What special things does your business do?
- Do you donate to kids charities? Military veterans? Support breast cancer?
- How did you come up with the name and/or slogan?
It should explain your company history
- Can you use the local angle? ie "30 Years in St Louis"?
- Can you talk about your humble family beginnings, maybe even add some pictures of grandpa working behind the counter?
- Is there some other intriguing tidbit that made your business what it is today?
- Did you 'stumble into the business' on accident? How?
It should include pictures
Pictures of your staff or building says "hey, we're real people!" ...and people like to do business with real people (and therefore avoid giving money to corporations)
It should have links to staff bios
Remember, bios aren't resumes, they're explanations of their expertise in your industry. Pictures/headshots make it even better.
Website Tune Up 2: Your Thank You Page(s)
Another often overlooked and neglected page is the Thank You page - a page that visitors typically see after they've taken some sort of conversion-related action. It could be a purchase, a download, newsletter signup or social media action.
When a user sees this page, they've just converted. That means they're in a good state of mind (assuming they had a good experience before the conversion) and are more willing to convert in the future.
This is the time to ask them to do something else - LIKE you on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter (which has a coupon towards a future purchase) or upgrade their purchase at a discount.
So many people leave money on the table because they're just happy to have a purchase. Wouldn't you be happier if your conversions stayed the same but your average per-sale revenue improved? Of course you would.
Tune Up 3: Calls to Action (CTAs)
This is a pretty easy one and won't take you long to identify/fix.
Take a minute and look through your website. Pick a few random pages - is there something on these pages that direct the user to do something? Have you clearly defined (and made obvious) their next action?
Depending on the purpose of the page, it should either prompt them to give you an email address or take a purchase-related action. You'd be surprised how many websites don't ask for the sale!
The Johnson Box
Here at Red Canoe Media we love plugins that help with building 'optin boxes' - in fact you'll see one in this article in a few minutes. These plugins let you build a themed Call to Action, often called a 'Johnson Box', that prompts readers to do a particular thing - download a free report, join the newsletter, whatever. They're an integral part of our lead generation system and work quite well.
Think about it - if you've written a blog about, say, green widgets (which you sell), and a visitor comes to your blog to learn more about green widgets, wouldn't it make sense to put some sort of offer in front of them that encouraged them to learn more about your business and perhaps even purchase a green widget?
Get that email address or purchase after you've hit them with some great information. Hit 'em while they're hot and boost your conversions.
PS... are you a Red Canoe Elite member and want to learn a lot more about conversions? Check out our 6 Tips for Better Conversions tutorial. Not a member? Join the community and see over 100 how-to marketing videos on everything from SEO to Google Analytics.