Are you making the most of your online brand and presence?
Is your consulting website engineered to build your authority status and provide you with a stream of leads?
Listing a physical address on your website clearly shows you’re not hiding something. That you are accessible.
If you are like most consultants, your website has vast room for improvement. So without further ado, let me share with you five steps that can turn your website from being an information source to a client generator.
1. Communicate Your Value
When a prospective client comes to your website it is critical that the first thing they see is your value proposition. Also called a competitive advantage or USP, your value proposition is a sentence to short paragraph that instantly articulates what you do, who you do it for, and what makes you a better choice than the competition.
Here is one website that clearly has thought out their value proposition and beams it right at the visitor the moment they land on the page.
Especially as an independent consultant, if you don’t show your face on your website, well, you remain faceless.
In the example below, although Aweber is a well known company to some, to others that land on this page for the first time…they might find themselves wondering what the company provides.
The stronger your value proposition, the more it will speak to your ideal clients. The greater chance you will have in pulling them deeper into your website to learn more about you and your services. And that increases your chances of landing a new client.
2. Design For the User, Not For Yourself
Here’s a shocker. People don’t read, they scan. Okay, maybe that wasn’t such a shocker, yet many websites are still designed with what the website owner thinks looks good…without taking into consideration how people actually use websites.
Jakob Nielsen, the godfather of usability, recommends that you make your text scannable. That means you should make the most important points (the ones you want the visitor to actually see) stand out.
You can achieve this by bolding certain kinds of text, like Michael is one handsome guy. See how that works? Drew your eye to it, right?
Another way is to make use of bullets and lists. The whole idea here is to break up your text so that it’s easier for the human eye to scan around your site and quickly pick up the most important information.
This is another reason that your font size should be large enough that your target market can actually read it. If your clients are 40-60 year olds, don’t use 8 pt font that only 8 year old kids can read!
Here’s a great example from Sensible:
Articulate Your Offerings
Because visitors don’t actually read everything on your site when they first arrive, be sure to also clearly list what it is that you actually do and your services clearly. Don’t plunge your service offerings into a pool of paragraphs and text. List your services out so the user can clearly see them.
3. Show Them You Are Real
Online commerce continues to grow and will do well into the future. That said, the biggest objection people have online is lack of trust. When someone visits your website, do you provide them enough information to know that you are who you say that you are?
Do you have a picture of yourself or your team on your website? If you work from an office with employees, do you show a picture of your office environment?
Especially as an independent consultant, if you don’t show your face on your website, well, you remain faceless. And in the consulting world, since your whole goal is to establish a relationship with a prospective client and then build that relationship, showing who you are is key.
Most of the time they will either leave the site making a mental note to come back to your site later or possibly (if you’re lucky) add it to their bookmarks.
Do you provide enough background on yourself, your accomplishments and background? It’s critical that you build credibility. You can show logos of clients you’ve worked with. Testimonials from your clients, case studies and more to prove the point. Remember, you want to do everything you possibly can to alleviate any hesitation or objection the visitor might have in doing business with you.
Two other ways you can effectively deal with this issue is to provide a phone number to your office. Even if you don’t pick it up. Even if it goes to voicemail…the idea that you have a number that people can speak with you on is huge. The second big one here is showing your address. Listing a physical address on your website clearly shows you’re not hiding something. That you are accessible.
These may seem like small things but the positive affect they can have is amazingly powerful.
4. Color Matters
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers recently created a video talking about the impact of colors on your website. I will include the video for you here, if you’d like to watch it all (it’s a great video).
To summarize, this is what Derek shares…
There are really two kinds of colors that you need to know about.
Passive colors – these are the colors that make up your brand identity and image. If the color you use on your business cards and logo is blue, then you’d likely incorporate blue into your website.
Action colors – these are colors that tell people that they can take an action. For example, you might use red or orange buttons or links on your website – which clearly tell people they will take an action (go to another page, etc) when they click on them.
The big mistake many website owners make is to mix their passive and action colors. That is, if their passive colors (brand identity) is blue, they will also make their links blue. This problem is compounded when you also have a headline or other text on the site that is blue, but that isn’t a link.
The result is that the user doesn’t know what they can actually click and what they can’t.
So be clear in how you use both of these.
Here’s Derek’s video:
5. Build Relationships
Let’s look at what happens on many websites…A prospective client visits your website. Maybe they found it through an online search, a paid ad, it doesn’t matter. They arrive on your site, try to figure out what it is that you offer, who you are, and can you help them with their problem. Most of the time they will either leave the site making a mental note to come back to your site later or possibly (if you’re lucky) add it to their bookmarks.
This process does little to nothing to start building your relationship with this prospective client. The better and much more effective approach is to capture the visitor’s information. It can simply be their email address, or you can get their name as well.
Here’s how it works. Again they come to your site and go through the same process. Except this time, they see that you are offering a free valuable report, audio, or email series on a topic that they are interested in. They enter their email address to get it (you can use a program like Aweber to do that). Now, even if they leave your site without contacting you, you can follow up with them over the next few days, weeks, months and even years.
[My colleague Tsavo Neal has curated a list of 64 methods covering how to promote your consulting website and use it to attract leads.]
This way, you can send them additional valuable information. Offer them a case study, send them a newsletter, or notify them when you’re offering a new service or special offer.
This is how you start to build relationships with prospective clients that are visiting your website.
There you have it. Five quick tips to help you land more clients through your website and increase your sales. Have you found any other approaches that have worked on your website? Do share them in the comments below….