Website design requires the consideration of dozens of details, all of which are important.
And then there’s SEO. Search engine optimization is required today, if you ever want any prospects to find you. With hundreds (or thousands) of other companies competing for your potential customers, you have to find ways to drive traffic to your site.
But sometimes we get so bogged down in all these website design details that we forget about the importance of conversions. In fact, if your website’s design doesn’t lead to conversions, your website is little more than a digital paperweight.
This might seem like a basic question, but it’s relevant to this discussion.
In the wide world of consumers, one subset is your prospects, or potential customers. The purpose of SEO is to seek out and drive these potential customers to your website. But once they get there, your website’s design must engage them and lead them through the process of making the decision.
In some cases, that decision may be to open their wallet and buy a product or service — ideally from you. In other cases, your website design may lead them to make the decision to call you to schedule a free consultation, or make a reservation for lunch or whatever your business model and marketing plan call for.
When a prospect makes the decision we want them to make, whatever it may be, we say that you have converted them.
Let’s say your SEO does its job and drives tons of traffic to your site every day. But despite all these visitors, your sales aren’t increasing. That may mean that your website design is not effective for converting those visitors.
To solve this problem, marketing pros use something called a conversion funnel. Into the wide top of the funnel, we toss in a group of consumers we call suspects. Suspects are people who might have become prospects, but for whatever reason, didn’t find what they were looking for.
Those people who do find something to engage them move further down the funnel in pursuit of their desire to learn more.
Finally, when they become convinced to act, they move through the bottom of the funnel, converted to a customer.
Now, how do we incorporate this concept into your website design?
If your business can solve a prospect’s problems — whatever they may be — you have an excellent chance of converting them. But you can’t expect them to assume you can help. Instead, you have to prove it to them. And you have to make it easy.
So imagine that someone in your area has a leaky sink in their kitchen. They do a Google search looking for advice about this problem, and they find your website (hopefully, you’re a plumber). The prospect clicks on your site, but then what happens?
If the prospect sees some photos and maybe your logo and not much else, they may go back to the search results and try another company. But if your website design does its job, they might see a great blog on how to troubleshoot plumbing leaks. This piques your prospect’s interest, and pushes them a little further down the funnel.
When your prospect takes a look at this helpful, well-written blog, you demonstrate your company’s expertise and willingness to provide a solution to the problem. And the prospect goes a little further down the funnel.
Now imagine that this content has a convincing call to action and a well-designed, prominent display that shows how to contact you. The moment this prospect clicks that button or dials the phone, they fall out the bottom of the funnel as a conversion.
It can be challenging for business owners to look at their own website design and determine how effective it is for converting prospects. You know what your business does, and things look different to you than they do to someone who knows little or nothing about your company or what you do.
The best way to approach this question is to work backward — or up the funnel, so to speak.
What is the goal that makes a prospect complete the funnel? It might be a phone call or submitting a contact form. It might be signing up to receive a free e-book, or if you have an e-commerce site, it might be making a purchase online.
Whatever the goal may be, try to connect the dots between that goal and all those prospects that might need your product or service. When they arrive at your website, what are they looking for? More information? Advice? A subject matter expert?
Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and ask yourself what they are likely to want and need. Then adapt your website design to meet those needs.
Remember that not every prospect will want or need the same thing, so you will likely have to provide a variety of solutions. You will also have to revisit these questions periodically, as your business model evolves, as your prospect profile changes or as your prospects’ needs change.
Finally, don’t forget about those pesky technical details. A site that loads too slowly, is hard to read or has grammar or spelling errors can easily put off a good prospect. If your menu structure is bad and a prospect has to work to hard to find what they need, it can cost you conversions.
The bottom line is that the conversion funnel is a complex concept that weaves its way through every facet of your website design. Great SEO will bring prospects to your site, but unless your site is designed to guide them down the path to purchase, you won’t see that reflected in your bottom line.
Be Locally SEO assists businesses of all sizes and types with SEO, online marketing and website design. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help you grow your business. Using the latest technology and design techniques, we can help you incorporate a highly effective conversion funnel into your website design.