As a digital marketing agency for companies with small marketing departments, we take over a lot of underperforming websites. Websites that are static and sad, and that barely ever bring in an online lead.
When we dive deeper into the problem, it almost always comes back to the website’s planning and problems with the planning team’s focus.
What do I mean? Let me tell you a tale of how most websites get planned.
Three executives are sitting in the boardroom for their company’s monthly leadership meeting.
The President of the company starts the meeting and says, “Did any of you see?!—Our competitor just launched a brand new website.”
“It’s modern and it’s bright and it has one of those flashy video background things. Our website looks so old in comparison.”
The VP of the company nods enthusiastically. “Yes! We absolutely need a new website to stay relevant. And did you see how they added a big page about company culture? We need to do that too.”
The Manager in the meeting can’t help but agree. “I also really think we need to talk more about how we’re offering this new service.”
Here’s what they unfortunately didn’t say:
Our website is underperforming. We need to determine what our customer is looking for and make sure their needs are being addressed with this website’s content and structure.
What will fix the site’s underperformance and make more people take action?
Like this website planning team, most businesses focus on website features and content before thinking about their target visitor.
Does Your Website Planning Sound Like This?
- What do we need to write on the About page?
- Should we update our History section?
- Which services should we highlight?
- How do we show our expertise?
- Which photos make our office look best?
- What colors do we like?
Stop, stop, stop.
If the ultimate goal of your website is to get your visitor to do something, here’s the number 1 thing you need to realize:
Your Website Isn’t About You
If you want your website visitor to take action, your website can’t be all about you.
Your website needs to be about your customer or visitor. Here are some of the right questions to ask:
- What are our target customer’s needs and problems?
- How do we help them solve those problems?
Everyone wants to jump right into picking photos and deciding on content without really defining the goal of their website project.
Before you get into anything about content or design, you need to create an engaging offer and suggest the right next action.
Here’s how you can get your website visitor to take action, with three steps.
The 3 Planning Steps to Get Your Website Visitor to Take Action
Step 1: Define Your Target Customer
First of all, if you want your website visitors to take action, you HAVE to know who you’re talking to.
There are some great resources out there on developing buyer personas if you want to take a deep dive into your target customer.
But at a minimum, let’s simply describe your target customer, a little more specifically than “Anyone who will buy from us.”
Think about that person you want to reach. Define them as narrowly as you can, using demographics, interests, and challenges.
Target Customer for Julia’s Fitness Studio
To give a concrete example, let’s look at how I might counsel a fictitious client named Julia who owns a fitness studio.
Julia might identify that there are lots of possible targets for a fitness studio:
- Bodybuilders who want to compete
- Runners who just need a treadmill
- Senior citizens who want to build muscle
- People who want to lose weight
There is quite a range of options here, and trying to address everyone’s needs in Julia’s website messaging would be really difficult and confusing.
Instead, after more consideration, Julia might narrow her target customer down like this:
Our website is targeting moms ages 28-45 who want to lose 10-40 pounds. They’re frustrated because other gyms feel intimidating. They want a place that has a sense of community and fun. Their challenge is limited time, so they need convenience.
I want to point out that if Julia wants to, she may still attract people who don’t fit this description exactly. But the people who do fit the description will feel very well served and know this is the right place for them.
Your turn: pull out a piece of paper and make yourself some quick notes describing who you are trying to reach with a project you’re working on. Be as SPECIFIC as possible about who they are and what their challenges are.
Step 2: Define Your Ideal Next Step
Now that you’ve defined who you’re talking to, you’re prepared to craft a compelling call to action. This is the next best step to get your target customer to buy from you or reach your goal.
Don’t feel afraid that you will sound pushy or salesy. Your website visitor wants to be led to the solution to their problem. Tell them what that step is, and it is better for you and for them.
So what is the best first step to get that visitor to buy from you?
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- Contact us today
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- Book an appointment
Call to Action for Julia’s Fitness Studio
At our client Julia’s fitness studio, she has found that the best way to get moms to sign up for membership is to give them a personal tour.
Because her mom target is frustrated with intimidating gyms, she needs them to come in and see the fun, welcoming atmosphere.
Since her target is pressed for time, she’d want to address that hesitation in advance by specifying that the tour is short.
So she might define her call to action as:
“Schedule a Tour”
“Let us give you a no-obligation, 15-minute tour of our fun and friendly studio.”
Let’s consider how POWERFUL this call to action is for the type of person Julia wants to attract. It addresses their concerns and shows that this is a place that understands them. Other gyms may just say “sign up for a membership today,” but that’s likely to scare off this buyer.
Your turn: What is the next best step for your website visitor to take?
Step 3: Make Your Call to Action Irresistible
Now that you have a statement for your call to action, what do you do with it?
I recommend that the call to action is visible on every page. Put it in the sidebar, header, or footer.
Make it stand out without letting it be overly distracting. Use a unique accent color, unique button styling, or unique spacing. There are many ways to make a call to action stand out.
Examples of Calls to Action
Above is a call to action to “Request a Quote” implemented on a client site we designed for Peterson Spring in 2015.
The client’s previous site did little to suggest a next action. We set a goal to increase quote requests, and put simple buttons in the website’s footer and sidebar on every page.
This simple change resulted in up to a 1600% increase in quote requests year over year.
As a second example, this is a call to action for a website we designed for a medical equipment rental company.
Their call to action asks the site visitor to call them for help selecting a rental package. The company identified that customers often don’t know what package to choose, which is why we designed this call to action to appear helpful and address that concern.
As a secondary option, we included a prominent button that suggests the visitor can also reserve online.
It’s Time To Make Your Website Work
It’s so important to remember that if you want your website to work for you, you have to define your target customer, craft a call to action that solves their problem, and lead them straight to take that action.
Your business and your ideal customer will both thank you for it.