Pages on Purpose Produce Profits

You are here:
Module 2: How to Plan a Website That Sells
Section 1: You and Your Website
Post 3: Pages on Purpose Produce Profits

We started out this Module discussing the purpose of your website. Now we want to turn our attention to the individual pages on your site. Here’s the thing:

You should also have a purpose for every page.

Let’s look at the pages of your website, one at a time. Some of them may not be appropriate for your business, but certainly most of them will.

Every page (almost)

First, let’s talk about what needs to be on every page of your website. Actually, there are a few exceptions which we’ll highlight as we discuss the individual pages below.

Other than that, every page should have your business name and logo, navigation (tabs for the pages of your site), and the footer. Beyond that, it depends on your business.

If you want people to call you, your phone number should be clearly visible. If you want people to visit you, your address (and even a map) should be prominently displayed.

If you blog or otherwise have a lot of content, you have multiple points-of-entry. People may find you in search and not hit your Home Page. So you may want your primary call-to-action on every page as well.

Now we’re ready to talk about the individual pages. Before we start, though, we’d just like to share one caveat:

Mentally think “in general” before all the suggestions below. You may break the rules if you find something that works better. Remember – if it works for you, it works!

Home Page

Your Home Page is the most important page on your website. The reason is simple – most people will likely land here. They’ll come from search. When someone links to you, they’ll likely direct people here.

You get the idea. It’s the page which will most likely get the most traffic. With that background, you may find what we’re about to say kind of ironic. For most businesses…

You want to get people off your Home Page as quickly as possible!

People hitting your Home Page are likely either loyal customers who know their way around or first-time visitors.

You don’t have to worry so much about customers. They’ll navigate their way to where they want to go.

It’s the first-time visitors who spell opportunity. They’re in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.

They’re aware of you now, but that’s about it. Your job is to create interest.
The easiest way to do that is with a single message and a single call-to-action.

For example, you may “sell” signing up for a downloadable report. Instead of relying on them to come back to your website, you send email messages to their Inbox. It gives you more control.

For most businesses, an effective Home Page includes most or all of the following:

  • Headline: grabs attention
  • Sub-headline: clarifies
  • Introduction: 2 to 3 sentence paragraph
  • Bullet points: highlights benefits
  • Visual: supports the message
  • Call-to-action: so they take the next step

Tiplady Fine Woodworking is a great example of a service business which does a lot of things right on their Home Page. The owner is Michael Tiplady.

Home Page

  • He identifies his company, what he does and who he serves
  • He quickly gets to the point
  • The copy highlights his key differentiator – quality
  • He offers a guarantee
  • The photo is him (so you know who you’re dealing with)!
  • He clearly displays his phone number (twice!)

Note that he goes instantly for a phone call. We wonder if he could get better results by building an email list.

He could share project stories, hints for hiring a contractor (which of course would all be favorable to him), etc. But judging by his website, we bet he has all kinds of people who recommend him.

About Page

About Pages get more hits than you might ever imagine. For example – we have nearly 13,000 pages on BIGG Success as we write this.

Our About Page ranks #19 of all of them for page views this year. This illustrates an important point:

People want to know the people behind the business.

Yet most About Pages are horrible. They miss the opportunity to truly connect with the visitor.

Some sound like corporate dribble. They appear to be written more for competitors than customers. This tendency often gets carried site wide.

They often don’t talk about people at all. It’s as if the business runs itself!

If they talk about the person behind the business, they’re often written in the third person. So the reader feels like they’re reading about somebody instead of communicating with somebody.

Others talk about “I” but never say who the “I” is. Worse yet, many don’t even include a photo so you never see the person.

Your About Page is the soul of your website. Its purpose is to deepen the relationship between you and the reader. Your About Page may contain any or all of the following:

  • your what (vision)
  • your why (mission)
  • your hero’s journey (history)

Yellow Leaf Hammocks provides a great example of an About Page. Here’s a snippet:

About Page

  • Their graphics are great
  • They use real images, not stock photos
  • They connect you with a cause instantly
  • They tell you about the company and the people behind the company

Note that they talk about the owners in the third person. But it seems natural flowing out of their conversation about the company.

Contact Page

The purpose of a Contact Page is pretty simple – to make it easy to contact you. It doesn’t mean it’s the only place you put this information.

But people are used to seeing “Contact” in the navigational tabs. When they’re ready to reach out, you don’t want to slow them down.

Your Contact Page should include most or all of the following:

  • your email address
  • your phone number
  • your mailing address
  • your physical address
  • a contact form

Max Saunders covers the bases this way:

Contact Page

He provides every form of contact we suggested. The only thing we don’t like is that he’s looking away from the content in the photo. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.

We’ve now talked about the three staples, which are part of every site. Now, let’s look at pages you may elect to include. Note that this list is not exhaustive. You may need a page not listed here.

Products Page (i.e. your online store)

You may want a page to showcase your products. Its purpose is clear – sell more of them. Of course, you may just do this on your Home Page.

A Products Page should be very visual. Its feature should be images of the goods you sell.

But many people make a common mistake on this page. They cram too many products into too small of a space.

We have looked at dozens of studies about image size. As size increased, sales rose by at least 9% and as much as 63%.

We recommend that you:

  • place no more than three products across the page
  • use images as large as possible
  • concisely describe the most significant features and benefits
  • show the price
  • link to a dedicated page or use a pop-up (if more information is needed)

Here’s an example from handmade jewelry designer Kim Knoll with RFRM:

Products Page

Her products are obviously the star of this page. The images are clearly prominent. We also like her use of white space.

When you click on the product image or price, you go to a dedicated-product page. This keeps the Products Page cleaner.

With some products, multiple views may be desirable. You can either show those on a dedicated page or include thumbnails below the main image.

One final note, we said earlier that every page of your website should have certain staple elements. We also noted there were a few exceptions.

Your Products Page is one of them. If this is where you make sales, you may want to remove the navigational links. You’ve got people where you want them. Don’t let them get away!

Services Page

You may sell services instead of products. In that case, you may want a Services Page. Its purpose is simple: sell your services.

Having looked at thousands of websites, we have to say the Services Page almost never hits the mark. People generally make one of two mistakes:

  • They treat this page like it’s a yellow page ad

Many people just list their services. But you’re not limited by space on your website. So you can actually sell them. However, read the next point before writing your copy.

  • They yammer on and on

A wall of text won’t sell anyone on anything. You need to get to the point. And the point is: How will this service benefit your potential customer?

We recommend that you:

  • list your services vertically if you have offer more than three of them
  • include a relevant visual for each service (but not a cheesy one)
  • concisely describe the features and benefits in no more than 3 – 4 lines
  • link to a dedicated page or use a pop-up to provide more information

Here’s a snippet of a nice Services page for a digital agency, 352 Media:

Services Page

Before we talk about their page, we want to highlight one thing – the tab they use for this page doesn’t say “Services.” They refer to it as “Solutions.” We’re seeing this more and more.

You’re seeing their first two services in the photo above. (They offer a total of six.) Notice that they talk about benefits in their descriptions, which they keep to three lines. Then they link to a dedicated page.

Speaking of dedicated pages, here’s an example from H. BLOOM. It’s the page for their subscription flower delivery service.

Services Page-Dedicated

They target affluent homeowners with this service. On the page above this, they offer a sign up form to schedule a complimentary design consultation.

Note how simply and clearly they describe their process. It’s all sounds so easy. All you have to do is fill out the form!

Can you explain your process so succinctly? If so, it’s a great way to bring down the sales resistance.

Before we move on, we want to give you one more thing to think about. It’s a trend we’re seeing on the rise.

“Services” can be tough to sell. Services are intangible.

Products are tangible. Products are easier to sell. So it raises the question:

Can you productize your service?

If so, you may be able to realize the dream of every business owner and professional: make more money while working less.

But we anticipate that you may have a question: What does “productize” mean? We’re so glad you asked!

According to Investopedia, the definition of productize is:

To take a new service, product or product feature – that a company has provided to a single customer or a few customers on a custom basis – and turn it into a standard, fully tested, packaged, supported and marketed product. For example, a person can productize their expertise by putting it into a tangible object by creating a product based on that knowledge.

The Brand That Sells program is an example of this. We’ve turned what was exclusively a coaching service into the product you’re using right now.

When you sell services, your upside is often limited to the amount of labor you can provide or recruit. You’re like a machine shop.

When you productize your services, you’re a branded manufacturer. You can scale your business much easier.

How can you put this principle to work in your brand?

Pricing Page

Before we get to the Pricing Page, let’s answer an important question: Should you post your prices on your website?

We believe it really boils down to two things which may be related: complexity and cost. More complexity and/or greater cost generally mean you shouldn’t post your prices.

You probably want to use your website to “sell” free information or free trials. Then you can focus on getting them to pay.

Now let’s talk about the Pricing Pages. Its purpose is to take away the price objection. Depending on the nature of what you sell, it may not mean they’ll buy.

But they’re more likely to take the next step. As we discussed in the last post, the next step may be a sample (e.g. a free trial).

Interestingly enough, you often see this Page referred to as the “Plans and Pricing” Page these days. We want you to emphasize the “s” in “Plans”.

Do you sell one thing one way? If so, think about how you can add options.
For years, product sellers have used good-better-best pricing. Now service providers are catching on. Here’s why this is so important:

Itamar Simonson is one of the world’s leading researchers on decision-making. His studies show that people prefer what he calls “compromise choices.”

A compromise choice is the option which falls between what they feel they need (which sets their minimum) and what they can afford to spend (which establishes their maximum).

Source: Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

[George] I was first introduced to this concept through one of the franchises I owned. I couldn’t believe the results. We quickly started using it in my other businesses with similar outcomes.

If you only offer your potential customers one product or service, they have a choice: No or Yes. Most will probably say “No”.

If you offer two options (A = good, B = better), they can say: No, A, or B. Most will choose A, the least expensive option. So you will likely get more customers. But you can do even better.

If you offer three options (A = good, B = better, C = best), most people will choose the middle option. It’s the compromise choice.

Studies have shown (and we’ve witnessed it ourselves) that the numbers break down something like this:

10% – 15% of people will pick A. They’re price shoppers.
75% – 85 will pick B.
5% – 10% will pick C. They only buy the best.

From this you can see that Option B should be your most profitable offering. Keep the price relatively close to Option A, but include one or more high-perceived value, high margin add-ons.

You can have a fairly significant price spread for Option C, since these customers will buy the best no matter what. So pile on the benefits!

If you offer a service, consider giving customers a choice of service levels. See what it does for your business.

Here’s the Plans and Pricing Page from Pipedrive. They sell customer relationship management software.

Pricing Page

Note that they have one service, but offer three levels of pricing. They put them in a table so it’s really easy to understand the differences.

They also highlight the one they want you to buy. This is a fairly recent trend, but it makes sense and cents!

But also note what they’re really pushing here: sign up for a free trial. Why go to all this trouble to sell a free offer?

Simple – it helps people feel like they can take the next step. One step at a time leads to BIGG success!

Resources Pages

In the Information Age, people want information! No surprise there – but here’s something a lot of businesses miss:

The buyer’s journey may involve information beyond your business.

Here’s a personal example: A friend told us about a lovely little place with cabins right on Lake Michigan. It sounded like a great getaway.

So like most people who hear about a business these days, we went to their website. We learned we learned what we needed to know. It looked nice. The prices seemed reasonable.

However, we didn’t know anything about the area. This was a small “resort” in a small town. We wondered: What else is there to do in the area?

We looked at their site for links. Nothing.

Guess what we did then? Do you think looked for information about the community? Well, we didn’t. Guess what we did do?

We looked at their competition.

We found a place we liked better. The place “felt” nicer looking at their website.

Not only that, they provided links to attractions and other fun things-to-do in the area. They linked us to the Calendar of Events page of their local tourism agency.

Both resorts had all the information we needed about their place. But that’s not the only decision you make when deciding on a weekend away.

You also want to know about the surrounding area. The second place won us over because they helped us find this information.

Sure, we could have found it on our own. But they know the area; we don’t. They acted as our guide, our planner, our concierge – call it what you will, they made the experience easier.

So as you think about your ideal customers and their buyer’s journey, ask this question:

What’s the “surrounding area” of your business?

Most businesses just provide information about their product or service. You’ll win more customers by providing information about everything they need to know to make the buying decision.

It’s the purpose of a Resources page. Here’s a snapshot of one. (We’ve left out the header. The list also continues below what this photo shows.)

This comes from Darren Rowse (aka ProBlogger). He’s providing information surrounding the subject of blogging:

Resources Page

Note that you don’t have to write a whole post. You just provide a link. Of course, you can add some a short insight along with the link. Yet you’ll win favor with your potential customers because you’re helping them get the information they crave.

There’s another way you may use a Resource page. That’s why we used the plural in the header of this section (like we did with landing pages).

You may create a Resource page (or pages) for your own content. This works especially well if you have a blog. Pull in all the posts about a particular topic on one page.

That’s what Stephanie Brandt Cornais has done here on her Mama and Baby Love site:

Resoruces Page

This page features links to other Resource pages around the topic of “Real Food”, using her word. She has three other pages like this with different themes.

It’s a great way to help your site visitors quickly find information which they may find helpful. Of course, you’ll want to make sure it’s all leading them down the path to a purchase.

Landing Pages

We’ll start with a definition. A landing page is simply a dedicated page designed as a follow-up on a previous activity.

Perhaps it’s best explained with an example. Let’s say you run an ad on radio station WABC. You don’t have to say everything in the ad. You can just build curiosity and then send them to your website for more information.

Most businesses don’t capitalize on this tactic. Most of the ones who do make a critical mistake – they send people to their Home page.

Here’s the problem: Visitors quickly get frustrated and click away. On the Home page, they can’t find the information they want.

Fortunately, there’s a simple, inexpensive answer:

Create a landing page specific for what you are promoting.

Don’t send them to: yourbusiness.com
Do send them to: yourbusiness.com/wabc

We’re using “special” as the name of the landing page. You can use any name you want. It just needs to be short, simple and easy to remember.

Note in this example, we’re using the radio station call letters. It meets all three criteria we just listed.

Now, visitors will come to your landing page instead of your Home page. So you can:

  • speak directly with the kinds of people you expect to respond to your ad
  • talk about the specific topic of your radio ad
  • naturally continue the conversation you started with your ad
  • likely turn more website visitors into customers
  • make more money, more dependably!

NOTE: We’ve used radio as an example here. But this tactic works the same with all media, online and offline.

Your website is an excellent tool to compliment your other marketing efforts. When you do it wisely, all your advertising will be more productive. We’ll talk more about integration in Module 3.

On your landing page, you’ll want an attention-grabbing headline. As with all headlines, it sells reading further.

You’ll also want to demonstrate quickly that they’re in the right place. Acknowledge the place they came from. Note: You won’t do this in the headline. However, you’ll want to mention it early in your copy.

If appropriate – and it would be in the example here – you may want to include a logo or other graphic related to where they came from. For example, you could use WABC’s logo.

Perhaps more importantly is what you don’t include. With certain landing pages, you’ll want less navigation – if you have any navigation at all.

Here’s a snippet showing how we use this concept in practice:

Landing Page

Whenever we give a presentation, we create a landing page for the sponsoring organization. Then we can talk more personally with visitors who show up.

We can also track results. That’s another advantage of using landing pages – you’ll know what promotional activities are working and which aren’t.

Note that we’re not trying to make a sale. We’re “selling” a FREE Special Report (it’s pictured below this copy along with a sign-up form). It’s the next step forward in our process.

In general – the lower the price of your product or service, the sooner you can sell. Just remember – you want to make offers aligned with the level of trust you’ve built.

Also note that the only navigation is the tabs for our site. (There may be times when you even want to remove these.) In this case, we’ve removed our side bar. We want people focused on the copy on this page and nothing else.

We want to share two more thoughts before we move on to the next type of page:

  • Technically, every page is a landing page

A person may arrive at your Home page as a result of a referral, your business card, a Google search or more. They also may arrive at another page as a result of a search or a link on your site or someone else’s.

  • Note we said landing pages, not landing page

It’s plural. You’ll likely have more than one landing pages. In fact, you’ll likely be adding landing pages frequently if you’re aggressively marketing your business.

Other Pages

We’ve hit the most common pages but you may require something special. We’ll share a few examples, but this list is by no means exhaustive.

Press Page
Have you been quoted in the newspaper, in a magazine or a blog? Have you been interviewed on the radio or TV? on the news? Would you like to be?

If so, you may want to consider a Press Page (sometimes called a Media Page). It accomplishes two things:

It leverages your media exposure and helps you get more. Your credibility is enhanced in the minds of both visitors and media contacts.

So remember – you have two audiences for this page. Keep that in mind as you think about what you want on it.

You may just include links to the original content. But consider upping the ante. Here are some examples:

– Pull out one of your quotes from an article and turn it into a photo
– Embed a video of your appearance on a TV show
– Include a slideshow with a radio interview
– Aggregate all your press releases

News Page
Do you have newsworthy activities? Before you say “No”, we’ll rebut:

Almost every business has newsworthy activities. However, most businesses – especially small businesses – don’t realize it.

Now, you may not have news of interest to the major networks. (Although, don’t dismiss that either – a subject we’ll cover in Module 3.) But you probably have news that’s interesting to people who are interested in you.

Speaking Page
Are you a speaker already? If not, do you see yourself on a stage, sharing your wisdom with an audience hanging on to your every word?

If so, you may want to consider a Speaker’s Page. Your main audience on this page is people in charge of organizations who serve your ideal customers.

Blog
Do you blog? Do you plan to? Here’s something to consider – research shows that on average:

A business with a blog gets 55% more website traffic.

So – if you and your competitor match up in every area, but you have a blog and they don’t – you can expect 155 leads for every 100 they get.

Does that make you a little more interested in blogging? We thought so. Your blog is a simple way to showcase your expertise, add value in your relationships, and help prospects get the information they need.

We’re not saying it’s right for you. We’re just saying you should consider it. We’ll talk about this more in Module 3.

You may have ideas for pages which we haven’t covered here. Study your industry online. See what your competitors are doing well and not doing well.

Then determine which pages you need. And remember – the wonderful thing about the kind of website you’re getting as part of this program is that it can always be changed with little cost and effort.

Next Step

Congratulations! You’ve completed the reading for Part 1 of Module 2. Here’s what to do to complete it:

  • Go to the You and Your Website Guidebook. Complete Part 3 (if you’ve been doing each part as you go) or Parts 1 – 3 (if you read straight through).
  • Then you’ll be ready to move on to Section 2 of this second module – Your Customers and Your Website.

Of course – if you have any questions, email us at
bigginfo@biggsuccess.com
with “BTS QUESTION” in the subject line.

The Formula for a Website That Sells

You are here:
Module 2: How to Plan a Website That Sells
Section 1: You and Your Website
Post 2: The Formula for a Website That Sells

A high-performing website is a complex creature. One little tweak here or there may make a BIGG difference.

We want to take all the complexity and reduce it down to a simple formula:

Sales = (Traffic x Subscription Rate x Conversion Rate) x Average Sale

When you look at that formula carefully, you realize it’s been the formula for success in business all along. It’s true offline. It’s true online.

The terms may be different, but the principles are the same. For example – in some businesses, “traffic” has traditionally meant “incoming calls.”

Let’s talk about the three factors inside the parenthesis – traffic, subscription rate and conversion rate. Each one represents a challenge to optimizing how much money you make.

Traffic

The more people who visit your website, the better.

Right?

Wrong!

The wrong people get in the way of the right people. That’s why we started with who you do NOT want to serve when we discussed attracting customers in Module 1.

Here’s what you really want – visitors who fit your customer persona (the one you developed in Module 1).

These people represent high quality traffic – often called “targeted traffic.” This is the traffic you want. The more the merrier – as long as service doesn’t suffer.

Subscription Rate

There’s a second caveat to that last sentence – as long as you have a website that sells. Most websites don’t. Your website will.

It starts with knowing what you want them to do. (That’s why we discussed the purpose of your site in the first post in this Module.). Then you have to get them to actually do it.

We call this next step “Subscription Rate.” It’s the percentage of visitors who take the next step in your sales process. It’s the main action you want a person to take when they hit your site.

For example, you may want them to sign up for your email list. In other cases, it may be a free trial. These are examples of the sale before the sale.

Many business owners and professionals don’t understand why this is so important. Buyers today want to learn as much as they can before talking with a company representative. Content or sampling does the selling.

  • Content

In the first case (content) – if you don’t provide the information they want, they’ll find someone who will. The business with the best content wins!

Businesses have been providing content for years. Now there’s a critical difference – it needs to answer questions early in the buying process, not just late.

But old habits die hard. One study showed that over two-thirds (68%) of most firms’ marketing materials are late stage. Yet as we’ve already said, research shows that four out of five of your future customers will find you before you find them.

If all your marketing focuses on your product or service, you’re marketing to the late stage. You’ll turn away many potential customers who are looking for the right firm to give their business to.

You’ll succeed by providing information which matches a potential customer’s place in the buyer’s journey. A visitor turns into a prospect when they opt-in to an offer which allows you to continue the conversation.

  • Sampling

The second case (sampling) may seem odd at first. But it also has its roots in the real world. Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies) built her business on it. Jimmy John Liautaud (Jimmy John’s) did too, only with sandwiches.

But restaurateurs aren’t the only ones who use sampling. Manufacturers do it too. You’ve probably sampled a product at the grocery store.

As with these businesses, you’ll likely gain more customers by giving them a little “taste” of your product or service.

What’s a good subscription rate? It depends on a number of things – one of them being your traffic. Higher quality traffic generally leads to a higher subscription rate.

However, it’s also important that you have a compelling “offer.” So really think about what you can do to entice visitors into giving you their email or signing on for a free trial.

Even then, it’s important to realize that the business is a numbers game. Many online businesses are happy with a subscription rate as low as 1% to 2% of unique visitors. Now you understand why traffic is so important.

Conversion Rate

Your Conversion Rate is the percentage of “subscribers” who become paying customers. It should be higher than your Subscription Rate, but it may still be a relatively low number.

Prospects turn into customers when you make the right offer with the right message at the right time. The simplicity of that statement masks the complexity of its execution.

So you always need to be testing and tweaking for two reasons:

  • even though it’s working well, something else may do better
  • what works today may not work tomorrow

The key here is to really understand your customers. Think about your customer persona, the buyer’s journey, vital moments and your HIPODs.

There’s a conversation going on in your customer’s mind. In the past, marketers tried to interrupt it which is why people tune it out.

You’ll be most successful if you add to it. Speak their language. Prove that you understand them. Discuss their alternatives. Acknowledge their objections. Answer their questions. Stamp out their doubts.

Conversion is about leading subscribers through the buyer’s journey. It’s a nurturing process. Focus on building the relationship and the transactions will take care of themselves.

Baking up the formula for success

We thought it might be helpful to share an example of the formula at work. To make it more interesting, let’s look at how the same business could use it in three different ways.

We’ll look at a business you’ve probably patronized – a bakery. In its simplest form, it’s a retail business. They sell baked goods in their store.

  • Option 1: Site visit to store visit

In this case, the main purpose of their website is to spark store visits. So they may feature today’s special prominently on their site.

  • Option 2: Sign up to store visit

Another way to accomplish the same purpose would be to ask site visitors to sign up to receive notice of the daily special. These messages could be sent out via email or text.

  • Option 3: Sign up for “BIGG ticket” purchases

Yet a third possibility would be to have a sign up form for prospects considering a BIGG ticket purchase. Think wedding cakes for brides-to-be.

Upon registration, future brides could download a guide which helps them avoid mistakes. The bakery could follow that up with a series of emails which feature options, tell stories, and help them select the perfect cake for their BIGG day.

This example demonstrates that, even in the same business, there are many ways for your website to work for you. Think about what you want from your site and then determine how to guide people to do it.

Next Step

With this background, you can either go through Part 2 of the You and Your Website Guidebook or go on to the next post. (We recommend that you dive into the Guidebook, but it’s up to you!)

Also note – if you have any questions, email us at
bigginfo@biggsuccess.com
with “BTS QUESTION” in the subject line.

The Key to a Website That Works for You

You are here:
Module 2: How to Plan a Website That Sells
Section 1: You and Your Website
Post 1: The Key to a Website That Works for You

Your website must serve you, your customers and search engines. In this Module, we’ll take these one at a time in Sections 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Then we’ll bring them altogether in the 4th section.

We start with you.

It’s not because we think you’re selfish. It’s just that we believe in win-win. We bet you do too. It’s who we attract as clients.

So here’s something really important to frame our entire discussion in this Module:

If your website doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work.

There are two ways to read that last sentence. We mean it both ways.

  • It needs to stand in place of humans

In days gone by – when people wanted to buy a product or service, they contacted you and your competitors. You answered their questions.

Now nearly 9 out of 10 consumers use search prior to making a purchase. They talk to you later. They’re better informed.

Your website is the primary spokesperson for your business until they contact you. It must “sell” where humans once did.

  • It needs to produce the desired results

Ultimately, you need to make sales. But is that the purpose of your website? This highlights the key to a website that works for you:

You need to define your site’s purpose. What do you want it to do?

We find it’s often easier to use real world examples to highlight virtual world principles. So let’s step-away from the internet to elaborate on this point.

What’s the purpose of your advertising?
Many business owners make a critical mistake when they advertise: They don’t know what they want the ad to do.

The result? An ad that does nothing!

Whether we’re discussing an ad or your website, it’s all about communication. Unclear communication is costly.

Picture this – you’re given directions for a task. The person explaining them gives you all kinds of details. But they never tell you what the end result should be. Isn’t that frustrating?

The same is true with all your business communications. You need to determine your purpose first.

You need to know “the why” before you build “the what”.

[George] I used to own businesses that served homeowners. Our ads had a single purpose – to prompt a phone call. If I had those same businesses today, our purpose would be to drive them to our website.

On the other hand, retailers of all types advertise to drive traffic to their store. Ecommerce businesses (today’s version of a mail-order firm) advertise for sales.

With that as background, we’re ready to talk about the purpose of your website.

Many business owners and managers still don’t understand how this basic principle of effective communications applies to their website. For example, research shows 7 out of 10 websites selling to businesses have no clear call-to-action.

Obviously, your website is more complex than a single ad. So it can serve more than one purpose. But it should serve at least one, unlike the sites reflected in the statistic we just quoted.

10 business purposes for a website
So what do you want visitors to do on your site? You may want them to:

1. Buy
If you are “pure” eCommerce site, this may your goal. However, most visitors won’t buy on the first visit until your brand is established. Even then, this is not the primary purpose of most sites.

2. Visit your real world place of business
People may primarily visit your site to find out about hours, specials, menus, your location, and those sorts of things. If that’s the case, you’ll want these things prominently displayed on your site.

3. Contact you
You may want visitors to call you or contact you via a form provided on the site. Once again – if this is your primary goal, you’ll want your phone number highly visible on your site.

4. Schedule an appointment
If your main goal is to get an appointment, you may want to allow visitors to do it right on your website. Many people prefer this today.

5. Sign up
You may want to capture the email address of your site visitors. So you’ll place a sign up form front and center. (Well, not necessarily center – we’ll talk about placement in Section 2 – Your Customers and Your Website.)

In exchange for their email, you may offer people who sign up access to special deals or additional information (e.g. a special report). This gives you the ability to spark sales activity and/or build trust over time.

6. See you as a credible source
You may publish content on your site which showcases your credibility and may even help you become a thought leader in your field. If this is your goal, you may want to consider a blog and/or podcast. We’ll talk more about these media in Module 3.

7. Subscribe
Another possible purpose is to get people to regularly consume the content you create. You may want them to subscribe to your “feed”.

For example – if they subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed, your content automatically goes to their preferred place (e.g. email) whenever you publish. It’s a great way to build a base of loyal fans over time.

8. Interact with you
You may want visitors to interact with you. For example, they may comment on a blog post. This can provide “social proof” – showing other visitors you have a community – which helps build trust.

9. Follow you on social media
Yet another goal for your site may be to get more followers on social media. Why would you care about this? One word: leverage.

Social media followers have friends and followers. You get leverage when they follow you because their connections may see it and follow you too. It’s word-of-mouth…on steroids!

10. Share your content on social media
Closely related to the last one – your visitors can also share your content on social media. This is a great way to attract attention without spending money on advertising.

(NOTE: Just read through the following for now. Then go to Part 1 of the You and Your Website Guidebook which will walk you through the three questions.)

One. Two. Three. Questions to ask about your website
The list above isn’t exhaustive. You may have other reasons.

The key is to determine what specific result you’re looking for from your website. The design and content should fully reinforce that specific purpose every step of the way.

While you should focus on one goal, you may have up to three. To discover what you want your website to do for you, ask yourself three questions:

  • What is the primary aim of your website?
  • What is its secondary purpose?
  • If there is a third reason for your website, what is it?

Know exactly what you want your website to do. It’s the simple key to getting it to work for you.

Sample Purpose
We’ve learned the lesson presented here the hard way. Our site got better with its second iteration. Now we’re on its third and we’re seeing much better results.

We have one overarching person for our site: to get people to sign up. We give them a Special Report for free in exchange for their email address.
We certainly don’t hide it. It’s:

  • featured on our Home Page
  • on the side of every other page, with few exceptions (which we’ll explain in Part 4 of this Section)
  • at the bottom of every blog post
  • in a box that pops up under pre-determined conditions

Real world business owners miss a critical point which every successful online business owner knows: Your list is your greatest asset.

We’ve learned the lesson. Now our list grows every single day.

We communicate regularly with the people on our list. We offer them products and services.

Then we send them to our website to get more information. This highlights the second purpose of our site – to make sales to people on our list.

So our first purpose (sign up) is for people who don’t know us. They’re in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.

The second aim (buy) is for people with whom we’ve built trust. They’re in the middle to late stages of the journey.

A minor third purpose is to build our credibility. Our site is the one of the main ways we’ve done that. It now ranks in the top 1% in traffic of all websites in the world.

You can do it too! Determine what you want your site to do. To do that, think about your business model and where your visitors are in the buyer’s journey.

What do they want? How much trust have you built?

Construct offers which fit their level of trust and you’ll get customers ready and willing to move forward!

Next Step

With this background, you can either go through Part 1 of the You and Your Website Guidebook or go on to the next post. (We recommend that you dive into the Guidebook, but it’s up to you!)

Also note – if you have any questions, email us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com with “BTS QUESTION” in the subject line.