I commend her for doing this level of analysis, which is far more than what most people do. But even if you haven't gone to this extent, you can still do a lot to understand your Web site visitors and lead them on the right path.
The secret is to understand that everybody who visits your Web site is asking four key questions:
1. Why me? Why is this the right fit for me?
2. Why this? What are the benefits for me?
3. Why you? What is your authority to make these claims?
4. Why now? What is the urgency for me to take action?
They need to answer all four questions before they will be willing to buy (whatever "buying" means for your business - e.g. buying a product, phoning you, booking a date, registering for an event, ...).
Think of this like a picture frame, with the questions getting them in the right "frame of mind" before they see your product or service:
So let's look at these four questions ...
Why Me (Fit)?
If they have never seen your Web site before, their first question is whether they are even in the right place at all. So your home page should clearly identify your ideal site visitors and demonstrate your understand their problems or aspirations.
That sounds simple, but it's amazing how many Web sites fail to do this!
Look at your home page now and ask yourself whether it's about the site visitor first or about you first. If it's about you, change it!
For more about designing a great home page, read my article "Is Your Home Page Turning People Away?".
Why This (Benefits)?
After they are reassured they are at the right place, they then look around for evidence that it's worth digging deeper. Your next step is to clearly identify the benefits of your offerings.
If you know they are looking for your products and services, your home page can lead directly to sales letters or flyers for those offerings. If you think they need more convincing, the home page should lead to high-quality content that discusses their problems further, explains how they can solve them, and then leads them to your sales letters and flyers.
Why You (Authority)?
Before they make a decision to invest with you (even if it's just giving your their e-mail address or picking up the phone), they want to know about you. Why should they choose you over the gazillions of other options that are just a mouse click away? What makes you different? Do you have relevant expertise, experience or education?
This often appears on your About Me page (or About Us, if you have a team), so make sure this is well-written, and demonstrates your authority.
Why Now (Urgency)?
Finally, even if they understand the benefits and trust you, there’s still an in-built inclination to defer a decision. After all, if there’s no urgent need to make a decision, they might as well procrastinate. So your sales letters and flyers should explain why they should act now.
Some products have natural pressure built in due to a deadline or limit, and in these cases it’s easy to emphasise the urgency to take action (for example, early bird registrations, Christmas sales, limited seating, and so on).
Other products don’t have this natural pressure, and it seems contrived if you try to create urgency for no logical reason. In these cases, look for ways the environment might have changed for your site visitor, so something that wasn’t urgent in the past has now become more pressing.
So how does your Web site stack up?
Take a good hard look at your Web site - from your site visitor's point of view - and check whether you're providing convincing answers to these four questions. You might be reassured to discover you're already on the right track, and only need to make small adjustments. Or you might be shocked to realise just how much you're missing! Either way, you'll find this a useful exercise.
Ann Andrews CSP
Speaker, Author; Profiler, Team & Performance Management Specialist
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL SPIRIT OF
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