They told you to build a website, so you did. They told you'd you get customers if you had a website, but that hasn’t happened.
We’ve been involved in building and marketing websites since 2000, here are some reasons why some websites succeed while others fail.
Most websites are written around how great you are and not what problem you solve. You want better skills and strategies for business? We’re here to help. That’s the challenge. Make your buyer the hero.
Focus on results, not features.
Tell your potential customers the benefits that your product or service will give them. A classic example of this is a drill. Customers don't want a drill, they want a hole in the wall. So focus on the quality of the holes and how easy it was to create those holes -- not the actual drill itself.
It's not about you! Focus on your customers, not yourself.
Your website isn’t bringing in customers because it’s focused on you and not your customers. Instead of focusing on what you do or what you sell or why you’re awesome, focus on why your customers should care. How do you help them? How do you shoulder their burdens? Ease their pain? Make their lives better/richer/smarter? That is your story.
Build your brand.
People are more likely to buy from you if the quality of what you sell is matched or surpassed by the quality of your brand identity. In other words, build a reputation around your company, products and services that is bigger than any of those things.
Get to know your customers before they need you.
People don’t randomly click on stuff and buy stuff. They favor the brands they know and love. Repeat visitors (people who have heard of you) have two to three times higher click-through rates than new visitors (people who are just getting to know you. So figure out ways to get in front of your target market before they decide they need to buy your products/services.
Help people to know, like and trust you.
Your homepage covers only the ‘know’ part. Trying to sell your services/products too early won’t get you great results. You first need them to like and trust you. You can do that by having an awesome ‘About Me’ page, by having them follow you on social or through getting them to subscribe to your newsletter.
Give them a reason to come back.
Your website isn't bringing in customers because you have given them no reason to come back.
If your company blog is updated just once per month and consists only of employee updates, why would a potential customer care about returning to your site? You convert leads into customers by earning their trust and educating them on why they need your services. Focus on producing content on your site that educates and engages your prospective customers so they keep coming back to learn more.
Attract the right crowd.
If the wrong people are hitting your website, it's all for nothing. For example, if you sell surfboards and your traffic is mostly dog walkers, no amount of conversion tactics will pay off.
To help turn visitors into customers, optimize your website’s design by asking yourself these questions:
Is there enough space to let the design breathe?
Is your navigation paired-down enough?
Are your call to actions strategic?
Do your call-to-action buttons contrast against the background?
Do you have (relevant) imagery to break up heavy content?
Are testimonials prominent?
Improve the user experience.
One of the biggest challenges websites face today when trying to bring in and retain customers is the user experience on the site.
The user-experience problem could be something as simple as having a slow website that discourages visitors from spending any time on your site, and improving it can have big results
Provide real value, right now.
Maybe it’s not your website. Maybe it’s your product. Companies spend far too much time trying to make their site ‘pop’ and stand out -- and often forget that they still need to build a solid product or service offering in order to provide something of true value to the customer. Forget the parallax banners and flashy, over-the-top ads and just build it. Ship it before you forget it.
Know your audience.
Maybe you designed your website to satisfy your staff instead of your customers. Don’t trust your staff. Trust research, data and the trial-and-error approach. Effective design begins with research. And continues with more research. And never finishes researching and iterating.
Make it usable first, then beautiful.
It's fairly easy to get eyes on your website. It's not easy to keep them there longer than a few seconds. The main issue I see with this is when design seems more important than usability. I've seen some beautiful sites that look unique and like a lot of time has been put into them, but I can't even figure out how to find the restaurant's menu or the contact us page.
Connect the words.
As the human brain is visually led, words take longer to process. To help the user flow through the website seamlessly, use a technique called ‘word-connect’ to avoid interrupting the flow. As an example, if a banner or call to action states, ‘View our buy-one, get-one-free offers,’ the user would expect to see a matching page titled ‘Buy-one, get-one-free offers’. If the page title instead reads, ‘Selected Discounts,’ the words do not connect and could potentially confuse the user.
Get your message across -- fast.
If your landing page/homepage doesn’t explain what you do immediately, you’re done. I close the tab and delete you from my world forever. This is happening millions of times every day. Fix the clarity of your value proposition immediately, or you lose.
Track the right metrics.
People tend to focus on the wrong metrics, such as traffic, presuming this translates to customers. The things you really need are a truly valuable product and the right quality of potential leads.
Ignore the ego boost of 100,000 freebie seekers hitting your site, and focus instead on attracting solid, laser-targeted potential leads. If you offer the leading gardening fork on the market, and 100 gardeners who have just broken their gardening fork land on your page, you’ll get customers.
Appeal to customers who are informed, afflicted and oblivious.
The informed know, like and trust you. The afflicted are people who have a problem and need a solution. The oblivious’are people who don't even realize that they're suffering from a fixable problem. And the No. 1 reason why most websites fail to make as many sales as they thought they should make is because they only appeal to one of these people when they should appeal to all three.
The No. 1 reason I see websites fail to bring in customers is due to a lack of focus. When potential customers land on your site, you want to push them toward your most important objective, which is usually selling them something. So stop inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter or read your blog. Those can all be secondary goals, but they should be eclipsed by your primary goal: turning site visitors into paying customers.
Your site doesn’t work on mobile. Everyone’s on mobile. Here’s some additional ideas that answer why your website may be failing:
You’re too focused on cliche words.
You’re not focused on free advertising: a social-media presence.
You forgot to build a brand.
No one knows how to find your site.