The ugly storefront analogy.
Picture an ugly store front. The signage outside is broken, there’s a big crack in the window, dust on the shelves, and products are strewn randomly throughout the store. If you were selling $20 bills for $1, would that store still be at maximum capacity? Definitely. But you’re not, and your value proposition will take some more time to convince people it’s worth it. Every good business sells $2 worth of value for $1- that’s why people make the trade. But you’ll never give your customers a chance to take the time and invest in learning about you and considering you if your storefront makes you start on the wrong foot.
If you have an ugly website – I have some terrifying statistics coming up for you in an upcoming video. But let’s forgot numbers for a second. I can assure you that an ugly website will have more people ‘bounce’ (land on your site and then instantly click away), and then for the people that do stay, it will take you more effort, a better offer, lower prices, etc. to convince them to work with you. A very positive first impression can save you a TON of money in subtle drains of time, energy, and money in the future.
Just step back for a moment. Say you’re selling a $300 service. Not expensive, but not super cheap either. Will a potential customer really make a buying decision without any research of you online? The only realistic situation I see this happening is if a friend or trusted connection of theirs had the most unbelievably positive experience and so they come to you with their wallet open, begging you to take their money. That definitely happens. But I guarantee if your service is that good, featuring testimonials like that on your website will skyrocket your business. A website at it’s root is about scale. If it’s a valuable service that helps people, you’ll grow, if it’s a scam or not a good trade for people’s money, it may hurt you.
One mistake I see new business owners make often is they’ll say ‘I don’t get any leads from my website, it’s all from word of mouth, so I don’t need a professional website’. I tell them first, If you didn’t have any website at all, you also wouldn’t be getting any leads through your site, right? Of course a bad or non-existent website isn’t going to get you any results. BUT, I do understand what they’re saying. Oftentimes they have people come to them from word of mouth or networking, and those are the clients they get. It’s not like a complete stranger will find them on Google (as a new business owner) and hire them. I completely agree. However, I guarantee that everyone, when referred through word of mouth or through networking will look them up online. It’s 2022 now. Someone might not start their journey on their website, but I can guarantee that 90% of people, and 100% of people under 60, are going to do some research into you online.
Move visitors along (convert)
The staircase analogy + Choose your own adventure book analogy.
Your website isn’t meant to sell someone right away. The thing someone sees the instant they land – is it supposed to sell your service? Nope. All it’s supposed to do is have them stay 5 seconds. 5 seconds worth of skimming the homepage => that is meant to have them stay on your site looking through several pages for a minute or two. => Finally at that point that custom information is supposed to get them to contact you OR be prepared to work with you since chances are they’ve already been in contact with you through a referral or ads etc. and now they’re just doing research on you to make a decision.
The choose your own adventure aspect is about the structure of the site. I see the homepage as the table of contents, and then pages after that as a choose your own adventure story. Some people will really care about your about section, some about testimonials, etc. You want to tailor a custom journey for them, and when you’re starting out it can be super simple with 3 steps.
Split people into 2 or 3 groups and then try to filter them put on your homepage to go to relevant pages. Let’s say you’re a real estate lawyer- you’d have a group of people that are buying homes, one that is selling homes, and another of professionals like mortgage agents and real estate agents that want to partner with you. Don’t mix all your information together because if people do want to read everything about you, they can. It’s there on the site. For those that are busy, separate content into what is relevant for them.
Provide “teasers” on your homepage, just enough so that the right people click through to the right pages, and then once there you can speak to them directly. Isn’t it so much easier to speak to someone when you know exactly what that person’s looking for, what their pain points are, and what type of language/communication they prefer?
Your ’24/7 salesperson’ is also a customer service rep.
The past 2 points are related to a salesperson.
1 was ensuring your salesperson is presentable enough so that someone will stay and take them seriously.
2 was about having the salesperson make consistent small steps toward the sale, not Hail Mary’s, and they speak to visitors in a targeted manner, not with a shotgun approach.
This point is more about convenience for you the owner, and them, the buyer.
A customer service representative fields basic questions and keeps people happy. A website can serve the same role. What are the questions you always find yourself answering? You can use them as clues for what you can add to your site, or just outright add them in a FAQ section. On top of that, present that information professionally and valuably such that you won’t feel bad about linking them the page when they send you that annoying question.
You can really make whatever type of page you want on your site (because it doesn’t have to be in your menu and you can also ensure search engines don’t show it – so only people with the link can reach it). You can have a page devoted to just answering 1 question, for example.
You’ll know best what the best “scripts” you can provide your customer service rep are. Whatever problem you might be facing in your business- a page won’t fix it, but it can help. For example, do people express interest and then drop off? Try an enticing offer page with scarcity and urgency. Do people seem to not trust you? Try a page full of testimonials or a page devoted to one very in depth case study would help. Do clients have no idea what to do once they hire you? Try putting all the important steps, links, content, etc. into one page that they can bookmark.
Filter + Magnet analogy.
A good website filters out the people that keep your business stagnant, while pulling in the people that will take your business to the next level (with more revenue, developing unique experience, and extremely valuable social proof).
You aren’t meant to serve everyone, nor can you. Many business owners take all sorts of projects at the beginning, and that’s okay. That’s the journey of every business owner. Eventually, you will have to niche down to a specific type of customer. The sooner you get this, the sooner you can grow your business. If you don’t niche, you’re effectively saying you don’t have any type of client that is amazing for your business, or any type of client that is hurting your business. That’s just untrue – and that’s why the most generic (new) businesses are also the least profitable.
Your website is an amazingly efficient tool for filtering out the wrong people and pulling in the right people. I know I often talk about the importance of ‘1 on 1’ sales and focusing on delivering an amazing result personally to clients when you’re starting out. That still holds, BUT there is something lost in translation when YOU have to be the one to tell someone something vs when they get it from somewhere else. Ideally, you’d have an impartial third party that knows you amazingly well that will take the time to explain every relevant detail to an interested party. Barring that, a website is an awesome (and realistic) alternative. You get to speak to your ideal customer and really get them excited to work with you, while filtering out the non-ideal customers and setting expectations.