According to a Stanford University study, 75% of consumers judge a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.  When it comes to this key marketing tool, it’s not set it and forget it. Reviewing your website performance with a professional marketer is just like checking your profit and loss statement with your accountant.
Essential Marketing Components
On this week’s Small Business Radio Show , Beth Thouin, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Web.com outlines the essential marketing components of any website that wants to attract new customers. She explains you should start by determining what narrative your website is telling people that visit. A narrative is a story that evokes some type of feeling that promises to solve a customer’s problem. As Beth reminds us, the narrative is not about your company, but your customer. You want them to self-identify with the value you are offering.
Beth explains that the first part of the value proposition  must appear at the top of section of your website “above the fold”. This is called the “hero panel” and it gives you 10 seconds for the visitor to understand how you will “delight them”. It encourages them to want to continue to scroll through your website. You achieve this by painting a picture of how your product or services will impact the visitor’s life. This could be an explanation of your process, pictures of your products inside real life settings, or a demonstration video.
Taking the Next Step
The next step according to Beth is to have proof that you have helped other customers. This is best shown in customer video testimonials or credible reviews from well-known third-party websites.
Beth points out that the one element that many websites lack is an effective “call to action”. Customers are not always ready to buy now, so what can they do next so your company can continue to nurture that relationship until they are ready to buy? Many sites use an “ethical bribe” where they ask the prospect to opt-in to their email mailing list in exchange for free information now. Other calls-to-actions can offer a follow up call, a free month or another way to sample the company’s service.
Competitive analysis is also important. Beth recommends writing your narrative first before checking out your competition, so you’re not overly influenced by them. If you’re not sure who you are competing with online, open a Chrome Incognito window so your cache browser history does not influence your results. Then search a keyword that your prospect would use when they are looking for to solve a problem that your company can help with. Once you know who you are competing with online, compare websites.
Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show  here.