Your postcard marketing results have a lot to do with your website. You read that correctly. 95% of the people that are interested in what you're promoting will go to your website first - before taking any other action. What occurs for them at that visit will affect whether or not they do business with you.
Think about it: what happens when you visit a website? Don't you immediately begin to form opinions on that company, either subconsciously or consciously? Of course you do. We all do. That's why it is so important that your website builds trust and raises affinity with your prospects and visitors right away. If your site is too slow, hard to navigate or difficult to understand, you won't gain trust or build a rapport with the visitor and, as a result, lose business. You don't want that.
It is no longer a luxury for you to have a website,it is a necessity.
Consumers expect one.
But not only a website - an EFFECTIVE website.
Here are ten ways to go from "having" a website to having an EFFECTIVE website
(This minor education should help reduce the pain most people experienced in the development phase of their site as well!):
- Clean up your Homepage
Cluttered homepages have visitors running for the "back" button faster than you can say "there goes that lead." Your homepage should clearly and simply present who your company is, what you provide/offer, how to contact you and a reason to visit your other pages for more information.
- Don't over-design - it's not an art contest
It doesn't matter how impressive your fancy Flash introduction is if nobody knows what you can do for them. People use the internet to get information. Unless you are a graphic designer displaying your portfolio, keep the crazy Flash over-designing to a minimum. Make sure every graphic supports your message. If it doesn't - ditch it.
- Make it easy to navigate
If your "About Us" "Products/Services" or other pages are not clearly placed, people won't bother finding them. As a general rule, go by the two-click rule. Prospects should be able to get to any page on your site in two clicks. This is ideal. If it takes more than four, nobody will bother.
- Keep your URLs (website addresses) and links short and sweet
Choose simple, informative URLs for your site. You want your URLs to be easy to remember and contain keywords that are easily identified by search engines. Just to be clear - people type key words into Google searching for what you have. If you can incorporate one or more of those words into your website address you will be found faster than if you don't. For instance: my husband's company is called Blue Streak Docs. Even if you go to bluestreakdocs.com you will see the address instantly changes to bluestreakdocumentretrieval.com. Document Retrieval is what folks would search for when they need his service, so he has that URL.
- Show off those pearly whites!
Display a picture of you or your team somewhere on the site. Customers' trust levels increase when you appear "more human." Real photos are important. We all know when we're looking at some fake stock photo of a pretty girl.
- Never forget SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization means optimizing your site so that when someone types a key word into Google (a search engine), your site comes up on the first page. You need to ensure every word possible on your site helps people find you on search engines. For example, type in "postcard marketing" in Google and PostcardMania is in the search results. Remember, people searching for your product or service already want it... don't neglect them!
- Put in time behind the scenes...and get with the program
The coding and programming for your site are vitally important, though nobody can see them. Well-programmed sites can improve your search engine rankings and allow you to easily update your content. It's important that the person you hire to program your site is a professional that is up to date on the latest technology.
- Get their contact info
Placing a fill-in form on your site is an easy way to get a new lead's contact info. People won't give it away for free, so offer a free report or exclusive web coupon in exchange for at least their email and name (address and phone number are bonuses!).
- DON'T BE CHEAP!
Your website is not something you want to cut corners on! Your nephew who "knows computers" is not the man for the job. You need a website development company that offers the following services:
- Web Design
- Marketing Savvy
Your website is the link to a multitude of prospects that may be researching your product or service online. You need to make an impression and create awareness that your business exists. Again, over 95% of your mailing list that is interested will visit your website before calling or coming into your location - so it's important to make a good impression with professional web design.