Consider this: There are about 700 million websites. But to most of us, only a tiny fraction of those sites exist because 56% of searches on Google have a local intent.
People are loyal to websites that draw them in because, simply put, the majority of those local websites sites are just plain bad. Of millions of websites analyzed by Marketing Grader, a whopping 72% received a grade of 59 out of 100 or below, which essentially means 72% of websites are failing to attract new visitors and convert leads.
Small business owners across the Mid-Ohio Valley are constantly asking us, “How can a website fail?”
Although websites were introduced over 20 years ago, the vast majority still function on old-school paradigms established in the 1990s. Most websites today act as digital brochures, offering little substance. Even if a website has a good balance of design and utility, few companies are building websites that serve their primary purpose: to attract visitors, convert leads, and delight customers with rich, relevant, and valuable content.
What is worse – InSilico Media Group has discovered most of the other web development agencies locally can’t even custom-code a website. Many competitors are relying on outdated Content Management System (CMS) tools, or are using programs like Adobe Business Catalyst or other drag-and-drop design software. To put it simply: many agencies are disguising themselves as “professional web developers” while using only a small number of website templates from CMS themes that are often already outdated, or even worse, graphic design software that has no ability to adapt to today’s ever-changing technology.
InSilico Media Group believes a website should be a company’s salesperson, and it should be the core of a firm’s marketing machinery and thought-leadership strategy. In short, a website should be as dynamic as your physical location. For companies without a physical office location, a website is mandatory to establish credibility and act as your virtual sales floor to showcase your products or services.
We see a lot of companies getting hung up on one aspect of their website that needs fixing, such as better SEO or a sleeker design—one of those old-school paradigms. Today’s buyer is looking for a website that delivers a personalized, integrated experience every step of the way. Today’s buyer doesn’t care about your jingles, nor do they care about the nostalgia of buying from an established, “pillar of the community” brand. They care about price and convenience.
Here’s where most websites are getting it wrong and how you can get it right with your own site.
1. Most websites act like an online brochure instead of a thought-leadership resource
You’ve spent all this time and money building a beautiful website, optimizing for search and testing the paid advertising waters. But your bounce rate is high, you conversion rate is low, and your traffic and leads are flat or dropping over time. What gives?
Even with a sound SEO strategy and user-friendly design, a website is an engine that runs on remarkable content being continuously pumped into it day after day. If you’re not managing your website on a continual basis, you’ll quickly become irrelevant. That’s why InSilico Media Group offers low-cost options to have our team manage your website, keeping it up-to-date with technology so it functions perfectly, while also ensuring it will continue to attract the right visitors.
As I noted earlier, the primary goal of a website is to attract visitors, convert leads, and delight customers. Your business won’t see those benefits unless you turn your website into an inbound marketing machine that presents your brand as a thought-leader with fresh offers, landing pages, calls-to-action, new media, social conversation, and other content assets. By creating such content, you grow traffic and leads organically, without having to rely on paid campaigns.
In the end, you want to own the Web, not rent it. A website that harnesses inbound marketing attracts customers to your business and turns a static site into something visitors actually want to “consume” and interact with.
2. Most websites are one-size fits all instead of dynamic
Back in the day, websites were created with a “set it and forget it” mentality. Like advertising, corporate sites were a vehicle for broadcast, not conversation. But in this attention-scarce economy, buyers expect to receive relevant information that’s tailored to their specific wants and needs.
Many website development companies immediately fail their clients by only providing a small number of theme options. There is no “one size fits all” in web design, so companies like Dex Media, that use only a small handful of website templates do their clients a disservice when it comes to web development. If you are an HVAC contractor, you don’t want your website to look like the dentist across town, the roofing contractor down the road, and your biggest competitor in the region who also used their web design services. You are investing in a website that represents your company – that focuses on what sets you apart from your competition… that is easier to navigate, more appealing, and more credible than your competition. You want a website that will leverage you as the local leading provider of your product or service through quality, custom content.
Though many companies begin by investing in content marketing, that’s only half of the equation. Content plus context delivers a personalized experience to people who interact with you online. Many marketers today think of context only in the form of email. They obsess over list segmentation and relevant copy to specific audiences. That works until the person receiving the message takes any action outside email and finds a non-contextual website, mobile app, landing page, and call-to-action.
Today’s buyers require a personalized experience. They don’t like to be treated like everyone else. They don’t want to buy from a company that looks like everyone else. They want a unique, custom experience that will keep their attention, and make them want to come back for more. Context helps marketers gain a larger share of attention from prospects and helps move buyers down the funnel.
3. Most websites are built for the company, not the customer
If you’ve ever been involved in a website redesign, you know the process usually involves many stakeholders, from senior leadership to internal employees and perhaps an agency. But when was the customer—the person you’re supposedly building the site for—ever asked to weigh in?
Many websites do a great job of highlighting how awesome they are; but, I hate to break it to you, your customers don’t care… They land on your homepage hoping to solve a problem, answer a question, buy something, or to be entertained. They aren’t there to hear you talk about yourself, to see how many awards you’ve won, or to put your product pages on their must-have reading list.
Your website may be pretty, but if it doesn’t provide what the customer wants, despite how much marketing power you put behind it, you will have failed. Do you really want to end up like Digg, Pets.com, or the original MySpace? All of those websites offered good services and were powered by advertising. But, in the end, they couldn’t retain their audience.
A customer-focused website makes it easier for you to earn someone’s interest than to buy it.
All it takes is a little bit of research and the decision to create a more user-centered design. Do so, and your customers will love your website and think, “This is for me!”
One thing we learn when conducting market research, time and time again, is that customers are frustrated when they can not find the business, service, or products online. Did you know 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase?
Some people say “the website is dead.” Is it, really? Sure, the website may be 20+ years old, but in today’s convergence of Web, social, and traditional media, your website is more vital than ever.
If you don’t avoid these three deadly mistakes, your website will struggle to see results. The key is to not think of a website as just a website. Think of it as a media channel. An extension of your brand. And a voice for the customer.
If you focus on creating a website that harnesses content plus context and puts your customer at the core, then you’ll experience an increase in returned visitors, leads, loyalty, and word-of-mouth.
Contact our team – we’re ready to build your company a website that will launch you ahead of your competition, and grow your customer base.