If you’ve ever been involved in the birth of a website, you know how many moving parts and countless details are involved to create your online home.
Amid the rush to select colors, nail the design, and finish the copy, it’s easy to overlook some of the strategic elements you need to include in your site to ensure that it supports your overall vision.Clever copy and perfectly paired fonts don’t matter if your website lacks the strategy to meet your business goals.Click To Tweet
Our website helps us connect with our audience by providing a space where potential customers can browse or buy from us, but if we’re getting strategic with our website, we need to think beyond the surface and understand more about how people actually interact with our website.
How? It’s not a matter of just publishing your site and crossing your fingers. You need to define your customer’s journey – from the first impression all the way to signing up for your products, programs, or services.
When people land on your website for the first time, you’ve just ATTRACTED them into your business. Your next goal? Get them ENGAGED so they will continue to hear from you as you NURTURE the relationship via amazingly helpful relevant content. Then, only when they’ve actually had an opportunity to get to know, like, and trust you, is the time to INVITE them to work with you (where of course you DELIGHT them with your amazing product, program, or service).
Understanding the journey your dream clients experience is one of the best-kept strategic secrets in the online business space. And once you understand the journey, you can more strategically align your website to help guide visitors through your website.
Step #1. Define Your Customer Journey
Every single person that discovers your website is a potential client. But did you know that as many as 99% of the people who land on your website won’t buy the first time?
That’s right. 99%. So for every 100 people who land on your website, only ONE is actually taking action.
It might seem high – but consider your experience with other people’s websites. Most of us don’t plan to purchase the first time we land on someone’s website because we’re just getting to know them! We wanna poke around, decide if we even like them, and if it’s a yes, we start digging into their content more.
This is the first stage of the customer journey – moving from ATTRACT to ENGAGE. Attempting to jump straight into buying your thing is a BIG leap. It’s the equivalent to proposing to someone you just met on a blind date!
This leaves us with two options to grow your business.
Option 1: You continue to increase your traffic, crossing your fingers that sheer volume will work.
Option 2: You optimize your website to engage more people from the same amount of traffic.
I’m voting for Option 2! Why? Because with a clear strategy in place, you can quickly multiply the results in your business with a few tweaks.
Our goal after someone lands on your website for the first time isn’t to sell right away. It’s to establish interest and encourage them to stay in your world (aka to ENGAGE with our business).
But more traffic won’t grow your business if you’re sending people to a leaky website. Every website has points where they lose people on their journey. Dead end pages. Unclear navigation. No calls to action. Your aim should be to plug as many of these leaks as possible.
Start by looking at your homepage. If someone arrives on your website, do they instantly know what you do and if they are in the right place? Is there a clear call to action to continue hearing from you? As they reach the end of the page, do they know where to go next to continue learning about you?
The worst move you can make is creating dead ends in your website. You want to make sure you’re always answering the question, “Where do I go next?”. By creating two or three specific paths for them to take, you help meet their needs quickly and send them to the next step.
For example, on my homepage at RachealCook.com…
- Take the Business Sweet Spot Quiz: There is a constant call-to-action on the top half of the page inviting readers to take the Business Sweet Spot Quiz, a free quiz that provides them with their Sweet Spot Theme + delivers a custom PDF guide to help them align their strategy with their business sweet spot.
- Sweet Spot Book: We designed this website to make it incredibly easy to highlight what I’ve been working on – and with the launch of my newest book Your Business Sweet Spot coming up quickly, we decided to start an interest list for those who want to hear about the book launch.
- Sweet Spot Blog: For those who aren’t ready to dive right into taking a quiz, or just want to get a feel for what I cover here, there is a link to the latest posts on the blog. And when they click to read more content, there is another call to action to join my email list on every. single. post.
For my business (a 100% virtual consultancy), all roads lead to ENGAGING with my business by joining my email list (or checking out more free content on my blog or resource pages, where I’ll again invite people to join my email list).
This is the easiest way to move people towards the next stage of NURTURE – where I can continue to send them great content and they can get to know me. Your site should have content and design that helps support these steps in their journey.
Step #2. Follow the One Page, One Goal Rule
Here’s what happens when most people sit down to write the content for our website…
We get an email from the designer saying, “Hey! Your site is looking great but we need some WORDS on pages!”. Which leads to hours of alternating between staring at a blank screen and checking out a million other websites.
After looking at different websites, we come up with a list of all the content we want to include on each page. Need a bio here. A paragraph on who I work with here. An inspirational quote here. We start writing until it looks like there is enough.
While that approach isn’t wrong and it does give you a starting point, it often misses an important part of the equation – every page on our site needs to have a clear goal in mind.
What’s the one thing you want people to do when they’re done reading this page? When they’ve scrolled to the bottom, what’s the next step? Your content should be written and designed in such a way that it drives potential customers to that one action.
A page without a clear goal is a wasted page. You need to be specific about what the next step is and completely eliminate any guesswork.
If there are too many choices, people generally get overwhelmed and don’t take action.
If the page has a dead end (aka NO next step), then people are left wondering what’s next.
If the copy is too cutesy or clever (or just full of fluffy language that doesn’t really make sense), people will be confused.Want to grow your business? Remember that a confused website visitor always says no.Click To Tweet
We all know that the goal of a shop or work with me page is to actually buy something – but keep in mind that people who are checking out those pages are generally further along the customer journey. They’ve likely already experienced more of your content and are more ready for the INVITATION (aka to sign up for your offering).
What about your About page? Or your blog? What’s the next step? Chances are, it’s getting them to continue hearing from you (generally via an email list) so you can start NURTURING the relationship!
Step #3. Anticipate Questions
Ever heard of the curse of knowledge? This is a bias wherein our role as an expert in our field, we find it challenging to look at problems from the perspective of someone who simply doesn’t know what we do.
When we’re working on our own websites, we’ve all got a raging case of the curse of knowledge. We literally can’t put ourselves in our reader’s shoes so we make assumptions. And in this know-it-all state, we’re also known to use lots of industry jargon that the average person just doesn’t understand.
The end result is confused readers. They wonder if they are in the right place because the message isn’t clear to them. And when we aren’t answering their most pressing questions, we miss the opportunity to meet them exactly where they are standing, right now, to help them take the next step in their journey.
If you’re not sure what questions you should anticipate, here are a few ideas:
- What questions do you get asked by potential clients?
- What are some common objections why people aren’t signing up to work with you?
- What do people need to know before they work with you?
Start taking note of questions as they pop up and figure out how you can answer them proactively on your site.
Even better? Get on the phone and talk with some potential clients to determine exactly what they are struggling with and why they are looking for help.
This information is a gold mine of copywriting language! You can begin using this language on your website, in your blog posts, and anywhere else you’re writing to your dream clients to nurture the relationship to the next level.
Understanding the customer journey on your website is something that will pay off for years to come. As you begin implementing these small changes, the results will begin to add up quickly encouraging more people to join your community and become happily paying clients.
Take Inspired Action! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below – do a quick scan of your home page. Is there a clear customer journey? Does it follow the one page, one goal rule?
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