3 Secrets Web Design Agencies Don't Tell You

By GEOF BOWIE

There was a time when just having a website was pretty cool.  Today a website is your very best salesperson.  Your website is home to your company identity.  Your website is WAY more than an online brochure or business card.  Unfortunately too many businesses fail to see the potential even the simplest website can have.  The impact on those who choose to take advantage of this potential is huge.

This simple guide is your start to understanding how you can take your website from business card to highly effective sales team.  I wish you luck but you won’t need it if you follow these simple rules.

Agencies benefit when they keep the “secrets” to themselves.  It’s why they don’t just do “website design” anymore.  The magic is gone.

Secret #1: What you say matters

Humans are hard wired to look for predators, not do research.  We got good at it, but it takes work!  That’s because we are focused on achieving those things which will help us thrive and survive.

While having scary pictures pop out at your visitors MIGHT engage that fight/flight reaction, what we want to achieve is much more subtle and powerful.

Your goal is to give a condensed version of what you do and why it should matter to your visitors.  And it should be right up front in big letters. 

The problem we see over and over is twofold:  First, websites try to cram in tons of information about products, services, features, benefits and resources.  I hate to break it to you, but your visitors do not care about these things unless they have already done all the research they plan to.  These people exist but they are a far smaller subset of the population.  Wouldn’t it be nice to appeal to those on the fence?

The second problem is the other direction: Messages tend to be cute, clever and general.  Ever seen a website with a headline that says something like “We create value for life!”?  Those things SOUND great but what do they really mean to the new visitor?

The fact is, your visitors will stick around on your website on average no more than 6-8 SECONDS!  What you say to them when they first get there is crucial.

Secret #1 therefore is to ensure that you make it dead simple for your customers to know what you do and why it matters to them.  Only then will you be able to tell them your story.

Secret #2: What they see matters

Much like the first, our second secret is more subliminal.  People like to know how what they buy will affect THEIR lives.  Yet so often a website presents pictures of the company, the product, the business plan or even a picture of the outside of their building.

Think about it: If you are an attorney and want a client to call you, what do you think will be more compelling?  A picture of you with a bunch of law books behind you (maybe even you reading one?), a photo of your law firm’s office building OR (and this is the right answer) a photo of a person or people looking very happy or satisfied with a positive outcome to their case?

We cannot help putting ourselves into any situation that we see and the photos you use on your website tell a story.  If you can tell a story about how people benefit from working with you (or buying from you) then you cut right past the analytical part of the brain thinking about how you compare to others and into the emotional side.  

Notice the images directly above this section:  These people are in on a secret and even though they aren’t part of Iron Egg, your subconscious cannot help but resonate with the faces and body language.  Compared to an image of a website we designed, which do you think people will remember?

Secret #2 is to always use pictures of happy people in your hero images.  Sure you can be in there as well as long as you aren’t the focus.  And other places on your website are appropriate to put those pictures of your food, building, cat, etc.  Just let the first impression be about your potential client/customer.

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Secret #3: How you ask matters

Finally, you have told your prospective buyer what you do and told them that THEY are what is most important to your world.  What do you do now that they have decided to stick around?

NO.  The correct answer is NOT to tell them why you are so awesome.  They will find that out once they talk to you.

You now must make it clear to them that you would like to connect.  Think about this in terms of marriage.  Maybe someone has come to you with a real need and happens to be ready to spend whatever money you require.  They are ready for wedding bells.  Ask them to marry you!  Maybe this is asking them to book a call or fill out a contact form.  Maybe it’s showing them how to make a purchase.  Just avoid the pitfall of working hard to get them to stick around and then act like you aren’t really all that interested in talking to them.  You have to let them know.

Then you also need to date sometimes before proposing.  Also offer your prospective clients/buyers/customers a way to get to know you a little better.  Maybe it’s a copy of your ebook or checklist (like the one you are reading now). Maybe it’s an invitation to a webinar or happy hour.  Whatever it is, don’t let the undecideds slip away, give them a reason to get to know you.

Regardless, these are your “Calls to Action” and they should be large, colorful (or otherwise attention getting) buttons ON your hero image and UNDER your awesome messaging.

Secret #3 is to make it clear you want them to work with you, even if it’s not today.  This leads into your email marketing and we think email marketing is just the bees knees.  Nothing is more powerful than being able to email your raving fans, whether they know they are or not.

Conclusion:

Your website is just the hub and home of your marketing engine.  And getting these three elements right will massively expand your ability to grow and reach more of who you want to talk to.

These three secrets will maximize your efforts to get more traffic to your website.  Imagine spending thousands of dollars on SEO, AdWords or other paid advertising only to lose a large percentage of visitors because they are confused as to why they are there? 

Remember, humans are not always rational.  What you think is simple or obvious is not to the uninitiated.  Keep them in mind. 

I once got to work with a National Geographic writer who explained that the copy in NatGeo had to be written for someone at an 8th grade level.   At the time I thought that this meant people had to be talked down to because they weren’t educated.  But I learned since that no, it’s just too much to keep people working hard throughout a magazine article that has a ton of beautiful pictures. 

Good luck with these and as always, if you have questions or run into trouble PLEASE shoot me an email.  

3 secrets Website Agencies Don't Want You To Know

Learn them before buying.