If people come to you mainly through referral will a website really make any difference to your sales pipeline?
Putting together a good website takes a lot of work and investment. If your sales machine is working without one, then really, what’s the point?
Why bother about your website?
This website cynicism is common and understandable.
In some people the dislike of websites stems from a distrust of marketing in general. They don’t want to push themselves forward, they hate the spotlight and would far rather just quietly get on with what they’re good at and what they’ve always done.
For others, it’s the reverse. They are confident in their own abilities, don’t mind the limelight, but just choose not to put themselves in it. They see websites as a bit mundane and boring. Not having a website is a mark of difference. They like the ‘best kept secret’ aspect of building a successful business under the radar. Ambitious and rebellious, they like challenging the status quo. If everyone else is doing something, they get a kick out of doing the opposite, just because, why not?
And other leaders we’ve met are just not excited about digital, and can’t build up much enthusiasm for the effort they know a serious web project would entail. They recognise it is important to have an online presence so they have a website that ticks the most basic boxes. Often these websites are pure brochure sites that don’t pull in leads, which compounds the idea that websites just aren’t worth the investment.
All these people are great in a sales meeting. Put these founders face-to-face with a potential new client, and they consistently win work. They believe that this is the only way to win serious business. It’s down to experience, chemistry, creativity. They just can’t see how a website would help.
10 serious reasons to take your website seriously
The “why bother?” question is always a fascinating one to unpick. So here are our views.
- Your website matters even if you win business via referral. Over the last 10 years there’s been a fundamental shift in buyer behaviour and expectations – how people look for suppliers, what they’re want from them, how they make their selection. Clients have more choice and more control than ever. It’s a dwindling and ageing pool of people who take a referral purely on face value these days. The majority will ask their friends and colleagues as they always have but most will hop straight to your website, and most likely to your social media channels too. If the site isn’t active or the story doesn’t stack up there they may well rule you out straight off the bat without you even knowing it.
- Get it right and your website CAN bring you a stack of good inbound leads. A good website is way more than an online brochure. Check out local information security consultants Ascentor’s approach – The case for valuable content. Results from Ascentor. They’ve invested heavily in their website and content over the last few years and it’s reaping big rewards in terms of leads and sales.“Now people are coming to us instead of us always going to them. We’re seeing loads of inbound enquiries, 24 in the last month.” Dave James, MD.
- A good website makes the selling process easier. Equipped with the right content it makes for better conversations and relationships. This blog is in response to a comment made by a valued client in a meeting today. We’re writing it to help one person, but know that it’s relevant to lots of other brilliant people on our radar too. Publishing articles like this on our website gives us the opportunity to easily share our thinking with the world, and start more useful conversations.
- It’s not just about winning new business: a good website helps those you do business with to be more successful. First and foremost we see sharing useful content as a part of our service. We write for our clients – for those we are helping with content and business development strategy. We write to add value to their experience as clients of Valuable Content. If they’re struggling with an issue or we want to embed the learning and advice we’ve given them, we’ll write something just for them. We send them links to our content directly and make our ideas available to others too, which brings us neatly to the next point.
- Clients want you to have a wicked website. They want to see their chosen suppliers marketing actively – it proves they’ve made a smart decision to work with them. Your website is the visible face of your communication. If it’s up to scratch it makes your clients look and feel good.
- A valuable website will filter leads and save you time. When you’re clear and upfront about the work you really want, you save yourself time and energy. (See: Not more clients but the right clients)
- A good website delivers a big confidence boost for you and the team. It’s something you’re proud to share. Sometimes the people who claim that they don’t really see the point of a good website are embarrassed about the website they do have. They know it’s ‘just not us’ so don’t encourage people to visit. Once it’s right everyone breathes a big sigh of relief, and walks a bit taller.
- It’s a way to spread your mission. If yours is a business with a purpose bigger than profit, your website is your platform to seed the change you want to see in the world. (If you want to see purpose in practice, look at Hiut Denim, The Blurt Foundation, and The Get Real Project for starters.)
- There’s nothing like a web project to sharpen your business strategy and force you to take action. Committing your proposition and services to online written copy makes you reconsider the most fundamental business questions. Who are our ideal clients and what are we selling to them? This new clarity is transformational.
- A good website skills up your team. A website needs feeding with insightful content, and that comes from you and your team. Writing, collaboration, creative thinking, listening, research – having an effective website creates tasks that enrich your team and makes them better at what they do.
Sales and beyond. The ultimate purpose of your website
Your website has a big job to do. We all need the right people to know, like, trust and remember us when the time is right to buy. The website has a key role to play in that business development journey – from getting the right people to be aware of us, to turning them into happy customers, to inspiring a tribe of raving fans of our businesses: a marketing army who spread the word on our behalf.
The ultimate purpose of a website is to build trust and grow the love of your business. Get it right and you’ll make selling easier, attract the right people and repel the wrong ones, draw in the right talent, and build confidence, clarity and pride in your team.
Raise your expectations around what your website could do for your business, and it becomes way more valuable. See it as a turbo-charged lead generating, confidence boosting, trust building, team strengthening, client serving, customer delighting, relationship developing platform and it’s worth the investment.
Where to start to improve your site
- How to get your new website right
- 6 questions to ask to put your website project on the road to success
- The ultimate website checklist from Gill Andrews
Want some help with your website thinking?
Even if we’ve convinced you that investing in your website is a smart idea you may think it’s just too big a task. You’re not a new start-up with a simple proposition, Yours is a complex and multi-faceted business. The idea of trying to capture what you do in a handful of web pages makes your head spin. Don’t just dive in, slow down and think hard.
Just think about it. If you were king or queen of your own digital marketing universe, what could a website deliver for you and your business? Treat it as a commercial business decision and create a solid business case for investment in the site.
And if it turns out that you can see the benefit of having a great website, get some help to shape it. An outside-in perspective on your value, and what your best clients want from you will show you what’s needed. Work on your positioning and purpose first. Once you’re clear what you want your website to do and say, then get the designers and tech team on board. but not before.
Join us at Pub School or Virtual Pub School and get your thinking straight and website plan sorted. We love to help good businesses translate what makes them great into websites that really deliver results.
If you’d like an honest view on how your website is doing now, and where the potential for change lies, ask us about our Website Review service.