‘Me too’ websites? Yes, the pressure to become modern pushes some people to create websites for their businesses. Imagine a situation where 60% or more of your customers are convinced by your website to work with you! ‘Me too’ websites are the reason why people don’t experience these possibilities.
‘Me too’ websites are those created because everyone else seems to have one. These are websites created without a clear measurable business objective.
A website is a business tool that has the capacity to either contribute to any business. In some cases, websites become the centrepiece of the business. When done right websites can become so essential to the business such that they make it into the monthly reports generated by CEOs for their board of directors.
Here are twelve signs of ‘me too’ websites, you do well to take notice of them. These are all actionable things that you can choose to improve on or implement right away. If you are planning to create a website, make sure you align your ideas with these pointers. Let’s get started.
When people visit a business website, it is important to encourage them to take an action towards their goals in business or life. For example, when you get to an airline website you are encouraged to book a flight.
So you are thinking, ‘well that doesn’t work for all situations’. That’s true but there are businesses that could have very solid and handy call to actions. The point of having a call to action is to make potential customers have an interaction with your website now. The information gathered in that interaction can be used later. That interaction can be the beginning of a future transaction.
On the website, the following call to actions make it more useful for both the owner and the customers:
• Downloads – free EBooks, course outlines, guides or product manuals.
• Buy – for online shops.
• Place an order – for integrated commerce businesses (where the orders can be created online but confirmation and payments are done offline).
• Booking – a ticket, venue or even meeting. Quite underutilised.
• Watch a video.
• Join competition or contest.
All business websites without a call to action are missing a great opportunity. Having no call to action is an inconvenience to your customers.
These are websites that describe details about the business (owners, history, why they are the best and about us) but say very little about the products. Why do people come to the website? To do business or find solutions, not for history or the business leadership structure.
Don’t get me wrong, all that business information is very important. It makes sense to also give great details on what the business actually does. Failing to do this makes the website not helpful in growing the business especially with regards to visitors who are meeting your brand for the first time online.
Useful websites serve clients with every detail they need to know about the product or services. This allows buying decisions to be made while someone is looking at your website.
Describe your products and services in detail on your website – it becomes useful.
Can you direct people to your website to get more details about what you sell or offer in services? If not that website is useless.
There is a difference between a list of facts and sales copy. Content on the website is supposed to help people to make sales decisions.
For many websites, the content comes from the company profile. The company profile was prepared by a designer too…they know very little about your business. In the end, the website is a ‘me too’ project definitely not a business tool.
The content on the website should be sales oriented content. It should make people want to buy what you are selling. Otherwise, the website becomes useless.
When there are no efforts to measure website performance then the website is nothing to that business. If the website is very important then the KPIs for the website become important.
The KPIs of a website can include the following:
• The number of monthly visitors. This is the total number of people who visited the website. Notice that this is different from the number of visits to the website or page views.
• The number of conversions. A conversion is when a person responds to your call to action and successfully completes the action.
• Traffic sources. How many people are coming from social media, search engines or your current campaign? These numbers are important to help you decide where to increase or decrease your efforts.
• Average time spent on the website. If you have a website where people come to interact with others or consume content, then the time they spend on your website is important. This is a measure of user engagement.
• Popular pages on the website. So where do people spend most of their time on your website? And what is the most popular piece of content on your website?
There are many more statistical elements that can be collected and analysed about a website. These numbers become more or less important depending on the type of business and how the website is contributing to the business.
Blogging has many advantages for any line of business. Blogging can be used to achieve the following:
• Educate your prospective customers. Blogging gives the business a chance to speak to prospective customers and teach them why they need your services. With blogging, there is a huge opportunity to write to target audience specific articles.
• Help current customer get the most out of your services. When customers have bought your product or service, they can get more information from you on how they can benefit from your services through your blog. This includes tips, strategies, testimonials and use cases.
• Position yourself as a ‘go to’ person in your domain. When you know a lot and don’t share no one will ever give your business on that topic. When you blog you begin to network with the right people in your industry including clients and other experts – this is good for anyone.
• Show that you are an expert. There are people who are buying expensive services from other countries because the local experts have no voice online to show their expertise. The internet is the source of most of our answers today. When you have no voice there you are choosing to remain unknown for what you do.
• Digital corporate social responsibility. I believe that it is a digital social responsibility for companies to share information online as much as they can. If your business is doing CSR offline it can also be done online.
A website or business without a blog is missing a big way to contribute to the business. Blogging helps the business generate more solid leads, keep existing customers and position the business from a vantage point.
This is typical of websites that were created with no strategic position in the business. Marketing campaigns are created, published and run with no word about it on the official website. That is a grave mistake especially considering that the campaign advert mentions the official website name in the contacts.
Your website is more important than your social media page. Ideally, press statements should be found on the website to validate any other place you may want to push them to. The business website should be current and help people validate anything that the company is publicly doing.
In doing business online, the bigger the audience the less costly it is to advertise. Anybody who comes to the website must be given a reason to join your community. Websites which do not encourage subscription or downloading of free resources are missing out a huge opportunity to reduce their costs of reaching potential customers.
Create content and activities that will make people join your online community. There is a huge advantage in creating that audience around your business.
Not all business can have customers paying them online for their products and services – it is not the best for every business. For those businesses where it is not reasonable or are not ready to receive payments online for the products and services, it is important that people initiate the process from the website.
They may not buy but they should place an order or book a meeting with a consultant. The whole sales process may not be done digitally but I am sure it can be initiated there. There are highly regulated businesses where services should be rendered in person. Businesses in such situation can heavily benefit from automated online calendar management. This gives customers a chance to book meetings with the right people at the time of their convenience.
Have you tested the contact form on your website recently? Try it out and see the whole process that customers go through to get in touch with your business. When this is neglected we lose customers.
Most people do not expect to get a reply when they send emails to addresses displayed on the website. Many marketers do not know which numbers and emails are listed on their websites. Make sure the address, phone numbers and emails displayed on the website are valid and working. For emails use emails forwarders for all public emails.
Your website must be very good to customers. It should help them buy from you. When your website helps people coming for interviews at the expense of customers it is not a great thing. This point is meant to emphasise the need to give greater details on your products rather than the company history, leaders and other details about the business.
From my experience, websites which are managed by developers have very little business sense on them. The developers or programmer are fascinated with anything else on the website except content. The customers are interested in nothing else on the website except the content and usability.
In my opinion, you are free to disagree, websites should be managed by the marketing department. By website management I mean adding, editing and removing content (text, images and videos) from the website. All websites managed by ‘IT people’ have most of the signs of uselessness listed above. I recommend that business get their team trained on how to manage websites for effective digital marketing. I recommend that all ‘digital marketers’ learn how to manage the website so that they can control for their campaigns from end to end.
I hope you found these points useful. If there is something else, which you feel will benefit other people you are welcome to share your thoughts in the comment section below.