Websites can be a powerful tool for growing your business – or so you’ve heard.  Chances are since you created your website, you haven’t seen substantial growth.  You might be tempted to throw up your hands and declare, “Websites don’t work!”


Wait!  Don’t give up yet!  You can still turn your website into a valuable asset, one that works for your business.  


You might feel skeptical since you haven’t seen the growth for yourself (yet), but it’s true.  But your website can help your business if you create it with intention.


In this two-part series we’ve put together some mostly non-technical tips you can follow to turn your website from a source of frustration to a source of valuable leads and growth.  Part one will focus on really understanding your business’s goals, who your customer is, how you define success, and communicating better.  Part two will also talk about communication and provide tips about winning customers over before they even contact you.


Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.  When we talk about the success of your website, what does that really mean?  


The short answer?  It depends.


What Does “Success” Mean to Your Business?


As a service-based business, a successful website is usually one that helps to generate leads.  When someone visits your website and then contacts your business, that is success, that is your website working for you.


But, as the saying goes, different strokes for different folks!  There are many different ways to define success, and it differs from business to business.  It could be newsletter sign ups, content downloads, or survey responses.  


You have to decide how you measure success.  No one else can do that for you.  But no matter what definition you choose, write it down, share it with your team, and keep track of how you’re doing!


Now that we’re on the same page and you know what success means to your business, on to the tips for how to boost your website and grow your business!


#1 Knowledge is Power


This idea, that knowledge is power, might feel like a cliche, but it’s true.  If you don’t know what has, or hasn’t, been working for your website and your business, how can you make improvements?  A general feeling of discontent or frustration won’t help you decide where to focus your energy.


Without defined goals and metrics of success you’re just stumbling around blindly, hoping you’ll run into a solution.


Without data about what is or isn’t working, it’s hard to know where to start or what changes to make.  


One of the best places to start gathering information is by looking at your customer list.  Who are your best customers?  What do they have in common?  How can you find more customers just like them?


Define Your Customer


You’ve been in business for quite a while, so you must know your customers pretty well, right?  


Try this exercise.  Get all your top employees together in a room and start writing down everything you know about your best customers.


  • What problem do they have?  What keeps them up at night?
  • Why did they come to you initially?
  • What words do they use to describe their problems and frustrations?
  • How do you know when you’ve solved their problem?
  • What words do they use when their problem has been solved?


Now, take that information and look at your website with a new pair of eyes.  Does your website immediately address your customer’s problems?  Does it talk about how you can help them?  Is your website aligned with how your customer thinks?  Are you using their vocabulary?


If not, you’ve found one area you can improve right away: the content.


#2 When it Comes to Content, Clarity Always Beats Persuasion


Did you know that the average B2B buyer has completed 57% of their buying before they even make contact with a company?  That means their sole source of information is whatever you have online.


That’s it.


Buyers are making decisions about whether or not to call you based only on what they find online.


So that begs the question, how clearly are you communicating your value to your prospective customers?  How much of your website is written with selling (instead of informing) in mind?  People can spot sales copy from a mile away and are far more likely to leave your site without getting in touch.  Nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to.    


Think about this for a second.  When you go to buy a new car, do you immediately sign on the dotted line because the salesman tells you how great the car is and that his dealership is awesome?  Or do you shop around, reading about the different types of cars, going on test drives, asking questions, and negotiating the best loan?


Even when the purchase isn’t a big as a car, people shop the same way in today’s connected society.  They look up reviews, ask peers for recommendations, read about features, check guarantees.  


Don’t make your potential customers have to sift through slippery sales pitches before they can find the information they’re truly after.


Very clearly convey your value, up front.  Back it up with proof in the form of testimonials, case studies, accredited logos, or other trust-building factors.  Show, don’t just tell, that you’re trustworthy and, voila, the clarity becomes the persuasion!


Clarity in Web Design


While one of the easiest ways to be clear and build trust is through content, there are some ways you can also do so with design elements.

  • Add customer testimonials to each page, especially near a CTA.
  • Show customer data in your text (for example, “58% of our clients report immediate relief from their problem”).
  • Start the content with a testimonial that speaks to the biggest problem your customers have (for example, “I’m so glad I didn’t waste my money buying equipment.  Renting was faster, cheaper, and much, much easier”)
  • Make sure your website looks like it was built in the last 5 years.  Your customers have been trained by countless other online experiences and if your site looks dated or doesn’t work, that’s a huge red flag.
  • Put your contact info front-and-center on every single page.  Help your customers get in touch with you.  If they have to look, you’ll lose them.


So Ends Part One


We just covered a lot of information about defining two of the most important aspects of your business: your goals and your customers.  It’s imperative that you have a deep understanding about who your website is talking to and how you’ll know if your website is successful, otherwise how will you know what needs fixed?


In part two we’ll go into more detail about making sure your website is communicating with your potential customers in the best way possible.  Don’t miss out!