The Internet has changed the way we shop
Websites play a central role in the customer acquisition process. A brand’s website engages more prospects on a daily basis than a sales team possibly could.
Today, buyers use the web to research, compare and buy products. Information is available freely to internet-connected buyers, and buyers shift from mobile phones and tablets to desktops throughout their research process–day and night. Purchase decisions can be made on impulse or over the course of days and weeks, but access to information is a constant in the world today.
The internet contains a wealth of information and tools that support the customer buying journey. In today’s marketplace, the customer is in control.
Search, social, email, texting, blogs, websites and web-connected tools act as digital centers of influence. According to data from HubSpot, a marketing and analytics software company, 78% of users conduct product research online. This research behavior also greatly impacts eCommerce and online transactions with 64% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices to shop online (Source: eDigitalResearch ). According to a report by Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company.
Your best salesperson is your website
A brand’s website is central to the sales process–both online and off. A website needs to be more than what Ramon Ray described of many business websites: a “glorified brochure.” They need to express the personality of the brand, provide information for each phase of the sales process, and be integrated into marketing and sales meaningfully.
Websites are tools that influence all parts of the marketing to sales funnel. At the top of the funnel, websites attract prospects and introduce your brand to new potential buyers. Further down the funnel, websites reinforce a sale by providing trust-factors, field the due diligence of buyers, remove doubt and reinforce the value proposition of your brand and of your brand’s offering.
- Websites can attract potential customers
- Websites can educate, inform and inspire prospects–all prior to a prospect contacting a company
- Websites, in conjunction with marketing efforts, can build visibility and awareness for a brand in search, social and via third-party endorsements
- Websites can drive leads, which is a milestone towards a sale
- In many cases, sales can be fully automated through a website–depending on the type of business
Your website talks to way more people than your average salesperson does every day. — Pete Caputa, VP, Sales @ HubSpot
Websites need to be attractive, easy, useful, but also informative. Below is a graph from another Hubspot study on what users are looking for in a brand’s website.
How to make your website into a better salesperson?
Websites must evolve beyond brochureware. A brand’s website is often the first introduction a potential customer will have with a company. Positive first impressions lead to higher satisfaction.
A website does not perform well as a tool in isolation however. Websites are typically touch points that live at the center of a broad range of marketing activities, including advertising, social media marketing, search marketing, blogging and other methods of gaining brand visibility.
Here are a couple of considerations in order to improve the conversion rate of your brand’s website:
- Provide clear calls-to-action.
- Provide useful and relevant information based on the needs of your users.
- Keep the website design of a high quality and keep the design contemporary in style to build trust.
- Make it easy for users to find the information they are looking for.
- Make sure your information is up-to-date.
- Be compelling. Your website must demonstrate why your brand is the right fit.
- Make it easy to convert into a lead or buyer. Don’t hide your calls-to-action, contact forms or buy now buttons.
- Offer a clear and compelling reason to buy from your brand.
- Improve drop off points. Study your website analytics and user journey flows to find drop off points.
- Ensure your website adapts to desktop, tablet and mobile devices since buyers use all to search and evaluate