The problem I see with many websites is they don’t have a clear communication path that grabs the attention of potential customers. It might be cool looking and have really neat gadgety features, but sites often don’t have an approach that converts browsers into buyers.
I think my background as a salesman and a sales trainer mixed with working in marketing gives me a unique insight. I have trained hundreds of salespeople over the years and have written sales scripts, marketing plans, and sales funnels. So today, I am going to teach you how to make your website flow and make sales much more effectively.
I would guess, though, that you can probably think of a time that you were lost on a website trying to figure out where to get the info you needed. Or were so unimpressed with a website that you decided to look elsewhere. Your prospective customers might be doing the same thing on your site.
One common trait of a great salesperson is they know how to take a prospective customer by the hand, guide them down a path, explain the features and benefits of a product, and ask for the sale. So today, let's talk about how to convert your website from an information page to a sales page.
One of my favorite business books is Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. He gives a simple way to frame your messaging so it's customer-focused. In brief, any good story has some crucial components. In the story of Aladdin, there is a hero, Aladdin. He has a problem. He wants love, and he wants to defeat an evil wizard who is trying to take over the world. He meets a guide, the Genie, who has a plan on how to reach his goals. Then there is a call to action and a celebration of success. In sales communication, the hero should be the client, not the company. The client has a problem, and the company is the guide with a plan to fix that problem.
Marketing is like a first date. If all you do is focus on yourself,
there won't be a second date. - David Bebee
The story brand framework is a great guide for building out the flow of your website. Most companies start by bragging about themselves first. They talk about their expertise, their skills, and their work, and while those things are valuable, they are not the best place to start a sales presentation. To follow the story brand framework, you will start by displaying your story’s hero and the problem that they have.
If you own a marketing company, start with a picture of a business owner who needs more customers. If you own a babysitting business, show a ragged set of parents who need a date night. For a coaching service, show someone who is facing the challenge you are able to help them with. If you own a plumbing company, show someone who has a flood in their bathroom. Start with the hero of the story.
Then, show the browser that the answer to their problem is you and your business. This is where you, as the guide, get to show off what you do and how well you do it. Make it simple to understand how you can help or how someone can get started working with your business. I like websites that are so clear you don’t even realize they are guiding you to a purchase, or an engagement of some sort, like setting an appointment. It just happens naturally.
So, think like your ideal customer. What is their greatest reason to buy from you? You can use this worksheet to help define your WHY if you don’t know it already.
Then think of a way to communicate this problem simply, followed by an example of how your company solves this problem. Follow that with a buy or book button. Something that gives your customer a call to action. Then, follow that with a repetition of the same in case your first ask doesn’t work.
Back to the plumber example, if you show the picture of a flooded bathroom, show another picture or an animation of the picture transforming to an after photo that shows the result of working with you.
Once they are ready to buy, make it easy to do so. Most local businesses are not e-commerce sites. They are not usually set up to make a sale through the website and even if they are, it isn’t the most common way they do business. Most local businesses need to be in contact with the customer. So have a chat box, a lead form, a clickable phone number, and an online booking calendar. All of these pieces will be used by people. Everybody is a little different, but one thing is common: if they want help, and you seem to have the answers, they will reach out.
Once you have a clear story that features your hero and their problem, followed by a clear explanation of how you solve those problems, it is time to dig deeper into the psyche of your potential customers. When you come across something new or are looking for a change, you have a decision-making process. You probably Google it, you may look at social media for ideas, or you might talk to someone you know who did something similar. The best way to be found is to show up with proof of your expertise in as many of those places as you can.
Showing up well during the research phase of someone’s buying decision is key. You can’t just feature your 6 best reviews and expect that to be enough. You should nurture your online presence with Google reviews, as many as you can possibly get. You should put together a social media presence so that people know when they find you that you are legit. Online reputation management should be part of your marketing plan, but it is not necessarily the first contact where these pieces matter. It is in the second phase, the research phase.
Once you have a story brand website flow and a powerful online presence that establishes your reputation, then it’s time to work on your sales funnel, the path you take people down once they become a lead. We will cover that next week.