Not long ago, businesses would hire a web designer to make a website “look pretty” based on the company’s personal tastes and preferences. The designer would design the site, and then the business owner would fill it with content. Once all was said and done, they’d “SEO it all” to get found online.
Today, SEO, content, strategy, user experience, website functionality and design are tightly integrated.
Because you really can’t have one without the other, SEO needs to be deeply integrated into the design process. In fact, many now believe that web design should revolve around SEO, rather than the other way around.
If you only focus on design, you risk losing business opportunities that would be easily available if you take a comprehensive and strategic approach to your website.
Needless to say, your website can no longer just be a brochure that looks nice for visitors. It must become a marketing-activated website in order to truly convert visitors into leads and paying clients.
Before you begin building your marketing-activated website
Your website is the center of your online activity and the hub for all of your marketing efforts. Attracting people to your website is great and all, but once a visitor lands on your site, you need to have a strategy in place to convert them into leads and paying customers. To increase the odds of conversion, you need to:
- Understand who your ideal client is.
- Understand your ideal client’s intent.
- Know your ideal client’s challenges.
- Know what your ideal client expects from a website like yours.
For customers, their journey starts by researching online. People are deciding for themselves whether or not they are interested in buying from a company far before the company even realizes they are being considered. Your business needs to be ready in the early stages of your customer’s journey and must be able to guide people through that journey.
As you put your marketing activated website together, keep in mind that it must tell an engaging story with a hero, a problem, a journey, a call to action, and the promise of a happy ending.
The story is not about you.
The story is about your customers and how they can find answers to the issues they are struggling with by using your products and solutions.
To help you build a successful marketing-activated website, below are some recommendations of what to include that will help you convert visitors into paying clients.
Creating a marketing-activated website
Your website has many jobs. It must:
- Get found
- Build trust
If your website is successful, all of this needs to be done without friction or confusion. To make sure you’re building a website that will actually convert leads, keep the following in mind throughout the design and development process:
In order for your visitors to convert on your website, they need to be able to find your website. Be sure to follow SEO best practices and conduct extensive keyword research to put you at the top of search engine results pages.
Visitors want to feel assured that when they visit your website, they’ll get the answers they are looking for. Let them know that’s exactly what they’ll find on your website. Make it clear what you plan on doing for them and how you can help them. The more confident they are that you have what they need, the more likely they’ll be to become customers.
A simple user experience
Make it easy for visitors to navigate around your website. Even if you have what the visitor is looking for, they aren’t going to buy from you if they can’t find it. Make it as easy as possible for them to get what they want.
By creating content that your visitors can consume, you’ll better establish your business as a credible thought leader within your field. If a visitor is in the beginning stages of the customer journey, be sure to provide educational content that can help them research the symptoms or pain points that they are experiencing. For customers that are further into the customer journey, provide information on how your solutions specifically can help them solve their problem.
Across every part of your website, make sure you are including CTAs that direct visitors to take a specific action. Think about what you want your audience to do, then create a CTA that encourages them to do it. Be sure that your visitor understands the value they’ll receive by following your call-to-action.
Ideally, many of the CTAs will drive to landing pages that host valuable content visitors will want to download in exchange for providing information the company is after.
There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a website and not being able to find contact information when you have a pressing question. Providing this information is important for all businesses, but it is especially important for businesses who are trying to attract local traffic. Why? Providing your name, address and phone number on your website (preferably on the homepage), will help boost your local SEO.
Design should not be the sole focus of developing a marketing-activated website, but it should definitely be a part of the puzzle. If you understand your ideal client correctly, you should be able to create a website that is aesthetically pleasing to them and visually helpful in driving them towards the solutions they are looking for.
Before buying products or services, it is not uncommon for people to look up reviews or testimonials on a company to ensure what they are purchasing will provide the value they are looking for. Consider showcasing these types of assets on your homepage so that they are readily available as your visitors come across your site.
Visitors want to feel an emotional connection with a company. The more they feel this connection, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you. The best way to establish this connection is by developing a personality for your brand that people feel they can relate to, and showcasing that personality throughout your website.
The number of consumers that are researching businesses on their mobile devices continues to increase year over year, without any signs of slowing down. Without making sure that your website is mobile friendly, you risk losing business from visitors who simply can’t read your website. Google is also penalizing websites that are not mobile optimized, which will impact your search results.
Measure and improve
Once your website is up and running, consistently track analytics to see which aspects of the site are working and which are not. Your website should constantly evolve based off your findings, ensuring that you are providing the best possible user experience.
The better the user experience, the more likely your visitors will convert to customers.
Your company website can and should be so much more powerful than an eye-catching digital brochure. When you integrate search engine optimization, prominent calls-to-action, and mobile friendliness into your design process, you’ll have an engaging, interactive website that acts as an automated lead generation machine.