The Problem With Most Websites
A lot of small business owners launch their website with the simple goal of using the site as an information portal and a mechanism to talk about their company. It is basic human nature to be egocentric. The problem with this methodology is that it generic. Simply talking about yourself isn’t a differentiator for your website, product, or service offering. It doesn’t compel your website visitor to take action.
No matter what the search criteria is, a typical internet user can visit hundreds, no millions, of websites that all present the same type of information. Users are numb to this approach and their average time on a page supports that they are inundated with bland web copy. By following the same route as the masses, you lack the ability to grab anyone’s attention. Because I believe each and every website should stand out and grab attention, I’m a huge fan of presenting your offering via a mix of problems, solutions, and requests for action.
The Solutions for Marketers and Small Business Owners
In a recent blog post titled A Box for Every Website Visitor, I discussed segmenting your website visitors into personas or categories and then documenting each persona’s pain points or needs. That, my friends, is only the first few steps in my master plan of website design. In the next step, we must move onto brainstorming how your product or services offer a solution to each personas’ individual needs.
If you are a divorce lawyer, quantifying a persona’s needs is fairly simple. If you are a B2B company and you sell complex products, your task is a bit more difficult. That being said, this step in my web design process is still difficult for both the lawyer and the B2B marketer. Most B2B companies have an internal marketing team who is well aware of each persona’s needs. Generally they can articulate and document needs by a given persona if asked. The attorney on the other hand, doesn’t have to segregate his target market, but he lacks a pool of marketing professionals. Thus this task is difficult even though his offering is fairly straightforward.
So what’s the B2B marketer and lawyer to do? Both should create a matrix similar to the example I provide below. By forcing yourself (or team) or document personas, pain points, solution, and call to actions, you begin to formulate your future website map on paper.
Planning Your Website Based on Individual Personas
|Client||Persona||Pain Points||Offering||Solution||Call to Action|
|Divorce Lawyer||Husband or Wife||Finds divorce process confusing, scared of losing time with kids, wants child support, needs divorce expert, etc.||Retainer for Services||Will take control of process, will protect custody of children, will fight for support, experienced with local courts, etc.||Call for consultation|
|Document Management Company||IT Manager||Slow processes, data entry errors, poor visibility to data, high processing costs, etc.||XYZ Software Solution||Will reduce cycle times and data entry errors, increase access to data and reports, and most likely reduce headcount, etc.||View demo|
The Service Offering
Let’s dig deeper into a sample website design for a law firm. After populating the above table, the lawyer now has a clearer image of what information to present. Now he needs to consider how to present this information.
- If the attorney’s target is family law for women, he needs to immediately connect with the website visitor on the home page via familiar images and verbiage. One would imagine the images would include women so that a female visitor would immediately see the website in question provides services to women like herself.
- Once the website visitor has been “interrupted” with a graphic, the attorney can present compelling text to encourage the woman to click to a page that will provide further information about her specific pain point. We will assume our female visitor is already divorced and needs a post judgment modification of child custody, financial support, or parenting time.
- So assuming there was text on the home page to quickly illustrate this is an area of expertise and it had proper navigation options, we will also assume the woman clicks the correct link and moves to a page dedicated to this topic.
- Once on this keyword focused page, the website copy should quickly provide a synopsis of her problems and then provide the solution (or services) which will help provide resolution for her. In this specific case it would be modifications to her existing child custody or support ruling.
- Finally, after presenting the solution, the page copy should offer an appropriate call to action that will encourage the woman to immediately perform an act. In this case, I would imagine it would be to call the law firm for a consultation.
Assuming the law firm has done a quality job in it’s assignment, the website visitor should take action or bookmark the website for further follow up.
The Call to Action and Close
So how do you know if your current website manages this process correctly? Visit Google Analytics and view your inbound traffic by keyword, the pages visitors migrate to, and the pages of exit.
In our above example, we would view inbound traffic for “child support modifications” and review the path the visitors take. If you received ten visitors for this term and they never move beyond the home page or a keyword specific page, you know you have a problem. You – the lawyer – need to take your own action and you need to consider redesigning your website.
It is as simple as: Persona Identification -> Articulate Needs -> Identify Solution by Needs -> Provide Appropriate Offering -> State Call to Action.
When you break the process down, it is straightforward and very easy to execute.