Your Website Strategy Has to Match Your Business Strategy

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By Charles Bevier, Bevier Creative

If you forget everything else in this blog post, don’t forget this: Your website strategy has to match your business strategy. Simple concept, but it’s as deep as the ocean in terms of wisdom.

What does it mean? In countless usability studies, people visiting a website for the first time devote, on average, about eight seconds to scanning your site before deciding if they are in the right place. If they don’t see what they like, they are out of there. Eight seconds. That’s a brutal deadline.

If you haven’t articulated what your business strategy is in the past, this is going to make creating your website that much harder. So here are some tips to hone in on your message

Define Your Audience
Who are your biggest money makers? What’s your niche as a home builder?

Are you after the first-time buyer? Move-ups? Remodeling? Or are you building high performance homes? Whatever your niche is, communicate that you serve that niche quickly and clearly in eight seconds or less.

Does this mean you have to ignore new services or products that may increase your business in the future? Not at all. You can devote pages to those products or services. In fact, it’s an excellent strategy to measure if they have potential. But bury them inside your site. Concentrate on your biggest money makers first and foremost, on the home page and main navigational links. This will help you earn more income.

Specifically how does one capture visitors’ attention within that eight seconds? There are any number of ways, but perhaps the easiest is to have a series of slides in your banner that identify who you are and what you do. Make these visually engaging with catchy headlines and strong visual graphics. Have the slides rotate fairly quickly, perhaps a four or five second pause before transitioning. Your web developer can also have the slides pause if the visitor put their cursor on it, by way of example.

Ensure Your Visuals Match Your Target Market
If most of your business of late has been 1,200 square foot log cabins, you don’t want to have multimillion dollar log palaces at the only imagery on your home page or within your sliders. You’re chasing away your target audience by broadcasting the wrong message.

Provide Clear Calls to Action
Within those slides in your banner, have clear calls to action about what a visitor should do, what’s available to them and how they can learn more. How? A simple button with easy to understand phrases, including ‘Learn More,’ ‘Discover Why,’ ‘Tell Me More,’ or even a simple ‘Click Here,’ are quickly comprehended and acted upon.

Provide Reassurance
If you haven’t noticed, we live in scary times. Institutions we thought were solvent and strong, now look darn right shaky. So you need to communicate in those first few seconds that you are a stable and respected company.

How do you do that? There are a number of ways, but here are a few suggestions:
Testimonials
Display snippets of testimonials on your home page, linking to a testimonial page with photos of happy clients in front of their new home.
Certifications & Degrees
Your prospects want to know they are selecting an expert to make their dreams come true. If you have earned certifications from the NAHB or have degrees from institutions, use these to convey trust. Use images of the degrees whenever possible, including the logos of the institutions.
Awards from Industry Peers
If you’ve won design awards, now is the time to brag about it. Use these photos and accompanying copy describing the event to communicate that you are an award winning builder or contractor.
Customer Rating Services
Consider using third party agencies to promote your business. There are scores of these out there, everything from the Better Business Bureau to http://www.guildquality.com/

Have Multiple Ways for Visitors to Learn About Your Service
People are diverse. Some like to read. Some people would rather watch a video. Others are more visual and prefer pretty pictures. Your website strategy has to accommodate all these visitor preferences.

So below your banner sliders, I would suggest more bulleted points for those that prefer reading. If you have youtube videos on your business, link to them from the home page, either in the slider themselves or somewhere else on your home page, serving those that prefer video.

KISS Principle
Rarely do visitors read everything on a site. They tend to scan, looking for keywords that they are after. So make it easy for them by keeping it simple.

When it comes to design, there is a definite trend in website design toward less is more. This means don’t overwhelm visitors with too much information on any one page, provide just a taste and then lead them further into your site. Then too, don’t bludgeon visitors with gaudy colors that distract from your message.

One client insisted on solid black type on their website. Solid black is just not good. It’s very hard on the eyes. Look at any major news site and you’ll see gray type most often used for page content; it’s much easier on the eyes.

Try to reduce the noise wherever possible. Don’t, by way of example, have songs playing on your website. If a visitor wants to listen to music when viewing your website, they’ll be listening to their own music.

Have a Lead Capture Offer
Make them an offer that’s tempting in some way, so you can capture their email. You’re only limited by your imagination here. It can be anything, 10 Tips for Designing the Perfect Kitchen, or Why Now is the Time to Buy, or 7 Strategies for Reducing Construction Costs.

Have Sales Automation Set Up
Once visitors to your site respond to your contact form or your lead capture offer, have a sales automation campaign in place. This will help funnel them through the sales process and keep them engaged over time. Again, here you are only limited by your imagination. This can be a series of short emails, or as much as a e-newsletter blast every week.

Now go make sure your website strategy matches your business strategy.

Bevier Creative offers website development, marketing automation and public relations. Call 303.985.3564 or visit http://beviercreative.com/

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