We have a more extensive article on this topic entitled "Web Design 101 - Why Have a Website" but I wanted to write something out that is a bit more short and sweet, something that is easier to digest these main talking points so you can get to the "aha!" moment a bit faster than with our more comprehensive guide, our almost web design bible.
Everyone "knows" they need a website and they have preconceived notions of the why of this, whether it be "because everyone else does", "somewhere to have my contact information", "I want to show people my product info" and while some of that is true there are much more important reasons.
After many years building websites and refining our process and really getting to the core of what they're all about (we thought the same when we started - people want websites and we like to build them so let's do it!) we've found it comes down to 2 powerful functions:
To build trust and become your #1 salesman
I'm going to break this down in a more technical fashion so that it's basically difficult to misunderstand.
Sales and marketing relies on influence and persuasion - the ability to nudge people to go with your products and services other someone else's. What principles do these tactics rely on?
In the book "Influence" by Robert Cialdini he lists the basic 6 factors of influence:
These all lead people to trust and be drawn to your products / services. If you'd like a detailed breakdown of how those all work this article at the Referral Candy Blog breaks them down well.
75% of people judge a business based on the design of its website. The influence principle used here is one of authority. If they see you put effort, money and attention into the representation of your business online they'll trust other aspects of your business are trustworthy as well. If you visit a Dr's website and see it's outdated, confusing and has inaccurate information they can wonder "Wow... do they practice medicine like this too"? or if it's a restaurant they could think "Their website isn't clean or well taken care of, I wonder how clean their kitchens even are..."
Testimonials / Reviews
84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Properly placed testimonials will massively increase someone's trust in you, making them much more trusting of what you're telling them and it's no surprise customer reviews create a 74% increase in product conversion.
This utilizes the influence principle of social proof and commitment & consistency
People buy from people and they want to get a feel from who they are buying for before they do so. It's like a psuedo interview for a job, but for your product / service instead. If you were going to hire someone for your company you'd want to interview them right? The same goes for getting a feel for a business owner who's product or service you might want.
Video creates a connection that is literally impossible through other means. They can get a feel for who you are through this medium. It's no wonder video conversion rates are upwards of 80%.
Case studies are usually closely tied in with testimonials / reviews. When you walk people through someones experience with your product / service step by step they get a detailed outline of how it would look for them if they went through it with you, they get to window shop. If you have great results from this with a glowing customer testimonial you can be sure they'll be dying to pick up the phone and call.
Social Proof Statistics
Information such as how long you've been in business, your rankings amongst other business in the same industry, the number of customers you've served, or the number of sales you've done can greatly increase customers willingness to work with you. Social proof, commitment & consistency, authority, liking.
If you've involved with other trustworthy companies or institutions is it to your advantage to list this on your website. If you've successfully worked with these other trusted industries, you must be trustworthy as well.
Client or Customer Logos
Visitors like to see others that you've worked with, and if you can show them at a glance when they first visit that you've worked with some high end businesses, they'll be more likely to work with you as well.
Partnership / Co-Branded Logos
Do you work with another company that is well known and trusted? You'd better be showing that off. Again, if they recognize and trust them but not you, that trust is now transferred directly to you as well.
Do you have certain certifications / licenses that display that you have the knowledge, experience and track record it takes to excel in your industry? Show it off.
Ratings From Review Sites
Do you have 100 4.5-5.0 star reviews on Google? You better believe that's going to be front and center. Google Reviews are notoriously difficult to fake (and they go to great lengths to ensure this) and people love love love reviews as we've mentioned.
Putting this altogether is going to make your website an absolute powerhouse in terms of trustworthiness.
What does this look like in the end? What does this all really mean?
Let's say 100 people visit your website this month while looking for your product / service. Without any trust signals let's say 1-2 people purchase from you or engage with you on the phone. With the trust signals let's say that 15 of them buy from or engage with you. If you're paying for marketing services such as search engine optimization, you're getting so much more from the money you've spent to get them there.
Sounds great doesn't it?
Answering customers #1 most common questions
How much time do you spend on email or on the phone answering the same questions over and over and over again? What if you could have someone that answers these questions perfectly every time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? That's what your website can do for you.
This also let's customers know you're an authority on the matter, that you've done this before, you understand the common pain points they have with their issue, and that you've also solved them before, so much so that you had to put a list of them on your website just to make it easier for the both of you.
That way by the time they get to the phone you're in the next sales cycle, you're not spending an hour answering questions your website could have.
You may notice that those who have spent some time on your website before calling seem to be a lot easier to sell to, they're just ready to go. That's because they've already learned whether or not you can do what you need for them or not and they're ready for the next step. Save yourself time, money and frustration by avoiding excessive time on the phone and in emails by having a website doing this work 24/7
The website will also qualify certain prospects, this means it filters out those who have discovered that you are or aren't a good fit for them and there is nothing wrong with that. You may receive less phone calls but you save time on the ones that were never going to convert to a sale in the first place. If it takes 30 minutes after having a friendly conversation to figure out that "aha" moment, the moment you realize you don't even have what they're looking for, that's precious time you will never get back that you could have spent on building your business and with your family.
This is why we so constantly emphasize that your website can be built in a certain way to actually be immensely useful, it's not just there to look pretty and list your contact information, if done right it can actually be a useful business tool - one that becomes precious to you over time as you realize its true potential.
It's fine enough to have your cousin's friends daughter who does web design while going to college make something pretty to get you started but it's critical to your business growth that you eventually get this right.
It's a shame that this is so misunderstood, and we spend a lot of our time on consultation calls referencing our educational content or educating them right then and there on this information, it is not common knowledge the power a website can have, and while we continually thump people over the head with these repeated slogans it is for good reason. We don't want to see so much potential wasted, it makes me cringe inside knowing how much people can pay for something that isn't properly doing it's job. Everything we do online are based on sales & marketing principles. It may appear on the surface that it's just nice and friendly but make no mistake everything is, it's purpose driven. If it's there, there's a reason we made it as we did.