Generally speaking, your website is going to be the hub of all your marketing efforts. Most, if not all, online and offline marketing activities (including your email workflows and social media) should funnel your readers, listeners and potential clients back to your website. And given that your website is often the first introduction that your audience will have to your business, it is crucial to present your unique brand in a way that will engage the right people. Now, while every website is different, there are going to be commonalities across the high converting ones.
Commonality #1: They crush the 5-second test
A person who comes across your website shouldn’t have to stumble their way through your website to understand what you can do for them.
Based on a few critical components like your image, color, and layout choices, navigation menu options, as well as the visual cues, keywords and phrases applied, your visitors will very quickly formulate an impression of your website, and those impressions dictate whether they decide to stay or go.
Your aim is to (within 5 seconds of landing on your homepage) offer visitors clarity around:
- who you are,
- what you do,
- who you choose to work with, and
- exactly how working with you will benefit them & improve their business.
In the online space, the opportunity you have on your homepage is a lot like those 5 seconds you have in an elevator. Your homepage needs to crush the 5-second test and make a great impression, without needing a whole lot of clicking and scrolling.
Commonality #2: Conversion rate optimization is a priority
In its simplest form, conversion rate optimization looks to isolate and remove those elements which slow down or stop the process of converting a visitor on your website. The way you optimize your conversions will depend ultimately on your goal (which could be to convert as many visitors into email subscribers, social account followers, PDF downloaders, paying customers and so on) but here are a few pointers to start you off:
- Help your visitor navigate through your website and consume your information in the order you prefer. After someone reads your home page, where do you want them to go? When they get to the bottom of your services page, what’s the next logical step towards working with you? This could be to fill out a contact form, click that button to schedule a free consultation with you or even to hit the ‘sign up’ button. Whatever it is, make sure your visitors know exactly what they should do, every step of the way. (Hint: A confused mind does not buy!)
- Look for problems in the flow and presentation of information across the different pages on your website. A great way to do this is to approach your website thinking like a visitor. Pay attention to those times in the process where you got stuck. Examples:
- Does your navigation bar clearly reflect what’s on the next page when people click through?
- Is your contact information easy to find?
- Do all your links take your visitor where it’s meant to?
- Does your opt-in form have too many fields?
- Is MailChimp not sending out your promised PDF for some reason?
- Have you excluded a payment method that is preferred amongst your target demographic?
- Is your call to action clearly worded and in a visible location?
- Does it match up with the visitor’s intent?
- Do the tags on your blogs make sense and speak to your audience?
- Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. Those are incredibly unforgiving stats. Whatever page your reader is on, the aim is that they shouldn’t need to resize the page, scroll in several directions or wait a whole lot longer to consume your content.
These small tweaks could make a huge difference to how well your site converts. But remember – this is an iterative process. Be prepared to test, learn, optimize, repeat.
Commonality #3: They leverage social proof
Confession time. Every time I land on someone’s sales page, I have a habit of scrolling right past all the fluff, reading the testimonials or past client results, and then deciding to make my way back up if I like what I see. Anyone else do the same?
I recently read that over 70% of us choose to read product reviews and testimonials before making a purchase. 70%. That’s a big deal. Doesn’t matter if your website goal is to generate leads or produce sales. You need to offer social proof because, unlike every other bit of content on your site, these testimonials, case studies, and past client results aren’t going to be written in your voice. They represent an unbiased account of what you, your brand and your product have to offer. But a suggestion here is – only feature testimonials that endorse the benefit you offer / pain point you tackle.
Visitors need to be able to relate to the problem that you solved.