Your Website – The Crucial “First Step” of Marketing…
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
Last month, I wrote about the “3 Simple Secrets” for selling more swimming pools. I elaborated on the power of the “low risk offer” which then triggers an automated follow-up system with both the “now buyers” and the “future buyers” who are interested but not yet ready to meet with you.
But let’s be honest – people won’t grab your offer or get into your automated follow-up if they aren’t first intrigued and compelled when they visit your website. For these two elements to work, we’ve got to have an attractive and engaging website that gets them interested in the first place.
A low-risk-offer and automated follow-up
won’t work if you have a lousy website.
Remember that people who are searching the Internet for a pool builder aren’t thinking “I’m going to slog through this website no matter how hard and painful it is.” Quite the contrary! There are HUNDREDS of fish in the sea, so to speak. So if anything on a website turns them off, they’ll just bounce off it and move on to the next website. And I’m talking FAST too. It’s an easy, snap-decision that people can make within 5 to 10 seconds of landing on your home page.
If your website doesn’t impress,
the entire marketing process is dead in the water.
So how can you properly and objectively judge your website, if you’re not a marketing expert? Well here’s one quick and easy way I created a number of years ago. I call it the “5-point conversion potential test.” It looks at five basic fundamentals that will quickly tell you whether you’re in good shape, or have some serious problems to address. Quite simply:
- Does it look good?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Do you have good photographs that are displayed well?
- Does it “pull” the website visitor and compel them to take action?
- What does the rest of the world think of your website?
Want to score YOUR website?
Just use these self-explanatory guidelines.
Circle the number that most accurately represents the status of your current website in each category, and divide by 5 for your average.
FIRST IMPRESSION: Design/Style/Layout/Eye-Appeal
- No design; just a placeholder page.
- Layout is amateurish or rudimentary. Does not reflect favorably on the company.
- Basic template is in place, but lacks professionalism or broad appeal.
- Reasonably good-looking site. Some elements still need help.
- Good overall layout; professional look. No “killer issues” to detract from the visitor experience.
- Excellent layout. Immediately conveys “professionalism” and warmth. Makes people want to stay.
MENU HIERARCHY: Simplicity/Complexity; Sensibility; Readability; Location
- No calls to action, just a placeholder page.
- Unnecessarily complicated or awkwardly located menu.
- Understandable menu, but still somewhat awkward and illogical. Key menu items out of place.
- Reasonably clear, self-explanatory menu with key items in reasonably logical places.
- Clear, self-explanatory menu with key items in logical places, AND less than ten choices.
- “Idiot proof” menu. Short, simple, easy-to-read, and easy to find what you’re looking for.
CONVERSION POTENTIAL: Flow/Hyperlinks/Call(s) to Action
- No calls to action, just a placeholder page.
- Basic contact info is present. No compelling offers; nothing to grab “future buyers.”
- Contains at least one low risk offer for additional free information. But not as compelling as could be.
- Contains at least one compelling and obvious call to action in the form of a thumbnail or web form.
- Contains multiple thumbnails, hyperlinks and calls to action. Extremely easy for prospect to take “next step.”
- “Powerhouse” website. Instantly offers clear and enticing “next step” options for all possible visitors.
PORTFOLIO: Size, Structure, Quantity and Quality of Gallery Photos
- No photos. Homeowners leave unfulfilled.
- Static photos under 300 pixels wide; do not expand. Difficult to judge your quality and capabilities.
- Any of these: Poor quality photos, and/or awkward viewer, and/or photos expand into a new browser.
- Reasonably good quality photos that expand on the existing page. (Reasonably interesting gallery.)
- Good quality photos with slideshow option and large “zoom” option (>900 pixels wide).
- Top-notch gallery of professional photographs with text descriptions and your logo on every photo.
WEBSITE “POPULARITY” / ALEXA RANKINGS: What does the world think of your site?
- Alexa ranking of “No Rank” (Worse than 30 million other websites in the world. You’re invisible!)
- Alexa ranking <30,000,000 (Negligible website traffic; you’re nearly invisible.)
- Alexa ranking <20,000,000 (Getting some website traffic; probably fluctuates seasonally.)
- Alexa ranking <10,000,000 (Fairly respectable website traffic for most markets. You’re “in the game.”)
- Alexa ranking <5,000,000 (Excellent position; you’re a major player in your online market.)
- Alexa ranking <1,000,000 (Outstanding position! You’re dominating your marketplace.)
If you average 4.0 or above, you’re in pretty good shape. If anything scores less than 3.0, you need to take some action.*
If you’d like to get your hands on this easy-to-use worksheet in Excel format, just reply to this email, and we’ll get it right out to you. If you’d like us to conduct the website evaluation for you, we can do that also.
Ultimately, if you have ANY questions about your pool industry website,
just give us a call or send us an email.
Because quite frankly, and with all due humility, we really are experts at this.