Think about when a prospect first goes to your web site. Are they researching you and your competitors? Do they know you and therefore type in your domain’s URL, or did they find you through a search such as google?
Make sure that your web site offers something for everyone along the sales cycle.
Web site design for those ready to buy (short sales cycle)
Some businesses have short sales cycles. Online retailers are usually in this category. We go online to shop when we’re ready to buy. A large purchase may take a few visits to gather information, but for small purchases we are often ready as soon as we jump on the computer. It is a matter of finding the right site and then completing the sale.
In this case, it is important to:
- appear credible and trustworthy. This can be done with testimonials, credentials such as BBB seals, and also high-quality professional design. If you don’t appear trustworthy, they will go on to the next site in their search list.
- make it easy for take the next step. Move someone from reviewing your information to taking action. This can with easy-to-find buttons, and clearly suggesting what action someone should take.
- close the sale. For e-commerce site you want to optimize the shopping and payment process. For other sites, check through your entire process of what happens after someone fills out a form. Do they get a confirmation on screen, or by email? How quickly do you follow up?
Web site design and content for long sales cycle
On the other hand, some businesses have a long sales cycle. Many small business web sites are not transaction-based sites and therefore fill a much different need.
Catching people early in the sales cycle means that you need to have a method for following up and keeping prospects engaged. Three good ways to do this are with:
- a blog
- a newsletter
- with social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or YouTube
Make sure you have these options quickly available to viewers, and give them a good reason to engage.
Near the end of the sales cycle, prospects are looking for affirmation before closing a deal. Visitors who are ready to ask for an estimate, or may have already gotten a proposal from you, may need assurance that they are making the right choice. It is the time when their logical side wants reassurance that their emotional side is making the right decision. Good way to make people comfortable with their choice is:
- case studies
- client lists
- portfolio samples
These all help validate their reasoning and allow themselves to close the sale.
Prepare your web design and content for more than one audience
When you establish goals for your web site, figure out who your typical readers are and what are the one or two key places in the decision making process that you need to be ready to reassure the prospect. What information do they need to feel comfortable and what prompting do they need to move forward?
You will likely find two or three scenarios that a typical user will follow. Make it easy for them to find their way.