Plan how you intend to build credibility with potential customers so they are convinced you can solve their problem

Is the purpose of your website to get sales leads, or to sell products? Although SEO can tell you how to get to the top of Google, it can’t define your company’s goals or your potential customers. For this reason, you need to have a clear vision of your sales funnel starting at the customer needs and then proceeding as follows:

Google search query → landing on your website → sales inquiry → back and forth → actual sale

Let’s get started!

Define Your Business Value Proposition

What does your business sell? Who wants it, and why?

A “business value proposition” or BVP for short, is a statement briefly describing the value your business delivers to customers. For example:

  • Like taxis except for cleaner, safer, cheaper, nice smelling and they actually arrive – Uber
  • Like hotels except you get more for less – Airbnb
  • Like post-it notes, except on your computer – Trello
  • Like your brain, except you can’t forget – Evernote

If the part after the “except” is something customers care enough about to talk about, then you are off to a good start. If your business has no unique value customers care about, then you are in trouble.

You provide something that other people want, what is it?

Define Your Business Value Proposition

One way to help define your BVP is to look at other businesses on the Web, and “reverse engineer” their BVPs. Here are some examples

  • For a computer repair shop located in York, the business value proposition is it provides computers and laptop repair services to people living or working in York who need to get their devices repaired quick, efficiently and at an affordable rate.
  • For a Liverpool based mortgage broker, the business value proposition is to help people get cheap mortgages easily.

For any business, a BVP is your “Elevator Pitch” to a potential customer.

What do you offer, that they want?

Identify Your Target Customers by Segment or Personas

Your BVP clearly describes the relationship between what you sell and what the customer wants. Now dig deeper:

  • Segment your customers into groups or what is called “customer personas.”
  • Think about a potential customer.
    • What does he/she look like?
    • What does he/she want?
    • What are his or her pain points?

Think about their unique characteristics and needs. And how your product/service addresses those needs. A watch repair based in Leeds might segment its customers into the following personas:

  • Leeds office workers who are seeking quick and convenient watch repairs on their lunch hours (Budget and time conscious).
  • Leeds residents who own stylish, luxury watch brands like Tag Heuer, Breitling or Rolex watches looking for expert repairs. (Luxury watch lovers).
  • An estate agent based in London might segment his customers by space need – office, warehouse, retail. There might be a segmentation based on people looking to rent vs buy.
  • A Swindon based divorce lawyer might segment his customers or clients into male vs female, or people with substantial property vs people without, people who have children vs people who do not.

In conclusion, a “segment” or “buyer persona” is a group of like-minded customers.

Establish Marketing Goals

Now it’s time to think about realistic goals or actions for your website. For most businesses, a good goal is to get an email address or an inquiry in exchange for something free such as a free consult, eBook, or webinar. With this in mind, a divorce lawyer might want a possible client to reach out for a free phone consult, and a computer repair shop might want people to call or email to discuss their laptop and computer repair needs, or maybe to ask for directions to the repair centre. Consequently, most marketing goals on the Web usually boil down to

  • A website registration, contact form, or email via the website – for a free consult, a software download, a free e-book download, a newsletter sign up, etc.
  • A sale – an e-commerce transaction such as the purchase of a fishing rod on an e-store, or an iPhone cover via PayPal.

Here’s a screenshot from https://www.moneysupermarket.com/mortgages/, one of the Uk’s top sites for the Google search “mortgage,”:

Google Search My Money Supermarket Money Super Market.com knows what it wants: in the first place, to rank at the top of Google search for “mortgage,” secondly, to get the click; and thirdly, for a potential customer to start towards the goal, i.e. the process of finding a lender (and giving the website his name, email address and phone number for a sales follow up!). Your process and goals are perhaps as follows:

  1. Rank high on a Google Rank high on a Google search query (“mortgage” in this case).
  2. Get the click Get the click from Google to your website.
  3. Take the “first step” or “goal” When they land, get them to take the “first step” or “goal” (usually fill out a feedback form, send an email via the website).
  4. Follow up Follow up with them by email or phone, if necessary, to complete the sales process.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_5″]

The Marketing Hourglass

You’ve probably heard of a marketing or sales funnel, right? New leads pour into the top and funnel through a system and subsequently out of the bottom as new customers/clients. In this modern age of marketing, chasing customers is out, and developing long-term relationships with repeat customers is in. Leads convert into loyal customers. Consequently, your profits increase through repeat sales without the cost associated with acquiring new customers. There are seven phases to the marketing hourglass.

Know > Like > Trust > Try > Buy > Repeat > Refer

The Marketing Hourglass As you can see, the process is self-explanatory. The goal is to convert customers into brand advocates so they refer you to more customers. In due time this will help your business grow organically online.

Make your own “first step” non-threatening, and easy!

Don’t attempt to go from a website landing to a significant purchase; instead break the process into smaller, more manageable, and less intimidating “baby steps.” One of the best early steps in your goals is to give away something like a free consultation, free eBook, or free Webinar.

IN EXCHANGE FOR CONTACT INFORMATION, GIVE AWAY SOMETHING FREE

People love free stuff and will give away their email and phone contact information for something free that is also useful. From your viewpoint, this then gives you their email and phone number for you and your sales staff to follow up on. For this reason having something free (a free consultation, a free e-book download) is a tried and true way to make the first step of your ladder easy and non-threatening. In light of this, think of a free sample or money back offer, anything that reduces the risk of making the first buying decision. Using this strategy, make the first step of your sales ladder exciting, enticing, and free!

Don’t Make Customers Think!

Your customers are busy, stressed people. The phone is ringing, the baby is screaming. They’re busy people. Therefore the design of your website needs to be easy and non-threatening from the viewpoint of a customer. Think about this “as if” you were “inside” the head of the customer, using the example of a person who has international tax problems and is looking for an accountant with knowledge of international tax issue. She would be thinking something like the following:

1. The customer identifies a need. “I have income tax issues concerning international taxes. I need help doing my bookkeeping and preparing my taxes for the UK, and international tax compliance.”

2. The customer turns to Google. “I think I’ll search Google for ‘international tax accountants’ in London, UK” (which is where he lives).

3. Customer refines his keywords. “I will type into Google searches such as ‘international tax accountant,’ ‘accountant for International Tax problems’, ‘accounting firm overseas taxation in London.’”

4. The customer browses Google results. “I will browse the first three or four listings on Google (ignoring the ads), and click over to the first website at the top of Google.

5. The customer clicks FROM Google TO each site. He thinks to himself, “Hm. This website looks interesting! They seem to do international taxes, but I don’t know…what else is on this website?”

6. The customer sees a free offer, or first easy step on the sales ladder. “Oh look, they have a YouTube video that explains their company, let me watch that.”

7. The customer takes the next easy, non-threatening step on the sales ladder. “That was pretty good, but oh look, they have a ‘free consultation by phone’ offer. Let me fill out the feedback form with my name, email address, telephone number, and a good time to call.”

8. The customer transitions from the Web to human to human interaction. Ring, ring. “Who is it?”

“ABC Accountants, we see you are interested in our free 20-minute consult.”

“Yes, I am… I have these international tax problems”. The conversation with the customer begins.

9. The customer completes the sale. Once you establish trust, the customer signs up for the service. By the time you get to the end of the process hopefully, the lead turns into a sale. With this in mind, take out a piece of paper, and outline steps similar to the ones above. Work backwards from 9 to 1, and customise the process for your own business, product, and service.

Don’t make customers think!

Don’t make your site hard to navigate! Take a moment and look at your web pages from the perspective of a Google searcher. Does it answer a search question? Is the “next step” or “goal” easy to see? Does it look easy or free to take that “next step.” Don’t make customers think! Don’t make customers hunt for goals, or they’ll bounce back to Google and be gone. It’s a good idea to get friends, family, or others outside your business to come in and have them look at your site, and attempt to find your goals. If they have trouble, then you need to review your website to make it easy.

“KISS: keep it simple, stupid” is a good slogan for effective website design!

If the average people can understand your website, and can clearly see the “next step” that they should take like a free consultation, free webinar, or free eBook download, then your website works. If not, you need to redesign it.   To-do List:

  1. Define Your Business Value Proposition
  2. Identify Your Target Customers by Segment
  3. Establish Marketing Goals

Goals and measurability go hand-in-hand. [et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_5″]