For years small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have been told that they need to push prospects and customers to their websites if they want to survive in the digital age.
As a result, a lot of businesses have spent significant amounts of money building their websites—and trying to get customers and prospective customers there. Some have paid for search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click.
Some have invested time, energy and money in posting blogs that drive people to their website. Others have used Twitter, Facebook or some other social media tools to get people to visit their site. And those are all good things.
But for many SMBs, all this “driving traffic to the website stuff” has been kind of done on the backstroke. Businesses did it because someone said it was the right thing to do. And it really wasn’t their first marketing priority.
The folks at searchenginewatch.com recently posted an article that highlighted three reasons SMBs should have a “Website First” marketing strategy. You can read the whole article, but here are the three big reasons they give for having this kind of approach.
- Reason 1: Your Website Represents Your Brand
- Reason 2: Prospective Customers Interact With Your Website
- Reason 3: Your Website Facilitates Conversions
The thing is, your website isn’t really the final destination. The goal isn’t just to get people to your home page (no matter how sweet it is). The goal is to get people to engage with you. You still need to help them find the information they’re looking for—because that’s why they come to your site in the first place. That’s how people use the Internet. Their initial foray to your site more than likely isn’t to buy. It’s to gather information.
Is your website set up so that potential customers can find the information they want easily? Are you answering the questions they’re asking? Good websites are never simply a digital corporate brochure that sings the praises of you, your products and services.
How can you engage visitors to your site? How can you find out if they might be serious leads—and not just casual browsers? One way is by having compelling calls to action strategically placed throughout your website that offer valuable, helpful information about things they want to know in exchange for their contact information.
When you invite guests into your home, you don’t leave them standing at the front door. You invite them in. You ask them what they’d like to drink. You engage them. It’s the same way with your website. Find out what your guests want—and then give it to them. And then find out if they’d like more.
Of course none of this will happen if you regard your website as a “necessary evil”—something you’ve heard you have to have.
If you’d like some help turning your website into an engaging place where prospective customers will enjoy spending time, we invite you to download our free 10 Step Web Design Checklist. This free e-book will help you evaluate your site and look at changes you can make to turn it into a place for them to engage with your—and ultimately become customers.