Easy fixes for your website to increase your sales.

This is the fifth installment of our Snackable Series Live on Marketing Messages. The text below is adapted from our Live conversation.

Messaging needs never stop and they apply to different areas of your business. It’s an endless thing. And so today I’m talking about messaging as it pertains to your website.

Because unfortunately, what I see, and I say this with love my friend, I see a lot of websites that are falling down on the job. They’re not doing what your website really should do.

You’ve probably spent a good deal of time thinking about what your website should say, how it should look, and how the navigation should function.

And while those things are important and you should definitely take them into consideration, there are three common mistakes that I see over and over on websites that I know are costing you money and you’re probably ignoring.

They’re ridiculously easy to fix as well. And that’s what drives me insane about it.

I’m peeling back the curtain on those three big website mistakes, showing you what they should be, and hopefully giving you some inspiration to put it into action.

It might take, honestly, I’m not kidding about this an hour or less, to fix the three things that I’m talking about. And if it takes more time than that, it’s okay. It’s worth it. Because that’s what’s costing you money.

You see, a lot of websites make it a little too difficult for us to hand the provider money. And I know that sounds ridiculous.

But think about it this way.

If I was visiting a brick and mortar shop, a retail store, a restaurant, or a fitness provider, I would hope that that person, store, or retail outlet would make it super easy for me to hand the money. There would be a clear indication of what they did and where the cash register is. And I would be very, very clear on what they offered, and how I would get it.

But websites for some reason fail to capture this far too often. 

Problem #1: Your Website Doesn’t Clearly Explain What You Do

The first thing your website needs to do is pass what I call “The five by five” test.

You’ve got five seconds or less to explain what you do. And it should be so easy that a fifth grader could understand it and repeat it. That’s your five by five test.

Other people call this the Caveman Grunt Test of “what you do” and of “how I get it”.

And this is even more needed especially since we’re moving more and more towards a mobile forward, not just a mobile friendly, but a mobile forward or mobile first way of doing things.

As people are scrolling through their smartphones and other devices, they expect to see a page that loads quickly. They want to quickly understand, in five seconds or less, what you do and how they get it.

So I’m going to take that a step further. 

To make sure that your services are clearly explained, first take a look at your header.

Make sure that the “above the fold” section of your website, the thing that loads before you’ve done any scrolling, tells me what problem you solve and who you solve it for.

So many websites get caught up in being clever. They include a statement about what they do or what they are. But we leave the client, or in this case, the prospect, out of the conversation.

Talk about what problem you solve and who you solve it for.

Sometimes this is explained as:

“What’s the discipline you perform and the industry you do it for?”

So an example of that could be: “We are great SEO experts for b2b companies.

That’s the discipline you have for the industry. That crosshair, that’s your sweet spot. That’s your niche. And there’s a whole other conversation we could have on positioning, which I’m not going into right now.

But in that top section of your website you should make it very clear what you do and who you do it for. What problem you solve, and who your target client is.

Take a look at your website right now. If it’s not happening, you should be able to change that very, very quickly. 

Problem #2: There’s No Clear Explanation Of How To Work Together

The second biggest mistake I see happen on websites, is that there’s no explanation of how the prospect and the service provider will work together.

I know this sounds obvious, but again, think about you being in a live conversation.

If you and I met and I talked about a little bit of the problems that I solve, and some of the people that I solve it for, and then I just sort of folded my hands and shut my mouth but didn’t explain to you how we can work together, then my pitch wouldn’t be too effective, would it? 

To use the dating metaphor, if we’re chit chatting and chit chatting, but I never say “hey, do you want to go for coffee?”, or “here’s how we might get to know each other”… I mean, that’s not how you make babies. That’s going nowhere, right?

So make it very clear on your website. How will we work together?

There’s a simplified three step plan that is often used on websites. And here I’m talking about right there on the homepage of how we might work together.

This may look like:

  • Let’s have a strategy session,
  • Choose your path forward,
  • And then get awesome results.

That is intentionally high level. But it adds a level of confidence and clarity to what you’re trying to convey on your website so that a prospect knows what the process of working together looks like. 

Part of this is thinking about what your foot in the door offer might be, or getting really clear in your own mind about what’s the very first thing that a new client would probably do in order to complete a business engagement with you.

Is it shopping for sizes? Is it scheduling a phone call? Is it requesting a quote? Is it completing a survey? Seeing if you qualify?

Any one of those things can be the first step in what you do in working together. Maybe it’s a strategy session.

Think about a foot in the door offer. Identify a small piece of work that you do that you can sort of shave off and compartmentalize and say:

“Here’s a small purchase you can make before we both commit to this larger purchase.”

That could be a proof of concept idea or a prototype if you’re a manufacturer. 

That could be a limited time trial if you’re a software-as-a-service provider.

These are examples of foot in the door offers. And that’s the yellow brick road that you want to point everybody to and say: “Hey, if you don’t know what else to do, start with this, start here.

So, always remember to add a path for you and your prospect working together. What’s the plan for you working together? How would they get that started?

Problem #3: Your Call to Action Is Not Clear and Consistent

And then finally, make sure that your call to action is clear and consistent across the entire website. Far too often, I see calls to action that are kind of vanilla bland and wishy washy.

Very often I see a really open and vague call to action, like “Contact us” or “Learn more” or “Start here”. Again, not super helpful, because I am a very small brain.

And in five seconds or less, everything that I need to know needs to be clear as if I’m a fifth grader. Okay, now it could be a gifted and talented fifth grader, I’m not besmirching the fifth graders of the world.

The point is, we just junk it up with jargon on one hand, and then on the other hand, we don’t get up with being vague.

I can’t tell you the number of websites I’ve seen where on the homepage alone, there are like three different calls to action.

It may be “Contact Us” in the upper right hand corner of the page. It may be “Learn More” in the middle of the page, and it may be “Find Out Details” on a third place in the page.

If I was in the retail store, and the cash register looked different every place you go, it would be more difficult for me to complete my purchase. I don’t know, is that a cash register? Is that a computer terminal? I don’t know what’s going on.

Make sure that the call to action on your website is a button that is very clear, very consistent.

A button that always says the same thing, and it is a contrasting color to the rest of your website. This is where your designer can help you out. Because you want that call to action to pop on the website, you do not want to hide the cash register in a restaurant.

In a retail store, you do not want to hide the cash register, or whatever the closest thing to your equivalent is on your website. You don’t want to hide it either.

Put it in a bold, contrasting color, and it will stand out. Keep it the same all the way through your website, not just on the homepage. But let’s start there.

Okay, I’m trying to give you things that you can implement in an hour or less.

So those are the top three mistakes that I see made on websites. If you want to see a live Pitch Slap, watch today’s video (minute 9). There, I review a website from the audience, and identify what’s happening that could stand some improvement.