The behaviour of our visitors on our website means we want to not only understand what our visitors are doing on our websites eg they enter our website by a certain page, then they go to a second page and then exit our website, but also we want to have our website gently steer visitors through a process we design for them so they are not just randomly visiting pages and then leaving.
There are 3 critical elements to obtaining the behaviour that we want from the “right” visitors … remembering that not every visitor is the right visitor. Some visitors will come by mistake or find that our website does not meet their needs.
That’s why the sales funnel is a funnel. We get the awareness of many people, some of those people are interested in what we have, of those who are interested only some will form a desire for what we have, and of those who form a desire, only some will take an action. It does not mean that we randomly just spray our site with random traffic and play a numbers game based on volumes…we actually want to attract people who may be helped by what we have to offer.
The 3 critical elements are:
- business credibility
- expert credibility
- social credibility
When people visit our website for the first time, one of the initial questions that needs answering is this: Does this business represent a real living business?
How do I know … with brick and mortar businesses I walk into the shop and see with my own eyes who I am dealing with … how do I know this business is for real?
Think of online dating as an example. You meet someone online for the first time..you’ve read their profile and they sound like the type of person you’d like to get to know…you send them a message and they reply…all good so far. You start talking to them and they still sound very nice and you start an on-going daily conversation with them …. but they don’t have a webcam so you’re totally reliant on their words as to who they say they are. Ooopss. eventually after sending money you find out you were talking to a Nigerian scammer who knew all the right words to say to get your confidence.
So, what are some of the ways that we can demonstrate to our visitors that we are a real and genuine business?
Make sure you have all the required pages on your website. These pages can include:
- legal pages like privacy notices, earnings disclaimers, terms and conditions,
- contact pages and
- about pages.
People get used to seeing certain pages on legitimate websites and they will look for the same pages on your website to get a feeling of legitimacy.
Site Design and Usability
A site that is well designed with the end user in mind not only increases the length of time visitors will stay on your website, it also increases their confidence that they are dealing with a genuine business who has taken the time to create a user friendly experience.
Some of the aspects that should be considered include:
- branding…consistent use of colour, logos and fonts
- real images used …. not cheesy stock photos that everyone has seen a million times
- ease of use … site navigation, site search, modern cross device design (remember its not all about desktops anymore)
- no defects on the site … no missing pages or broken links
Note: familiarity is also a great way to gain confidence. People have been trained by years of internet usage and particularly by companies like Microsoft and Google to expect certain things in certain places. Don’t buck the trend and try to be too fancy..give people what they expect and they will immediately feel comfortable and also will navigate your site with much more ease. For example, if people see a button with an X inside it … it means delete … don’t make it mean something else on your site.
Do you display proof from people and organisations that are outside of your business? These can include things like:
- “as seen in” where you have had articles in media sites or been quoted
- site badges like Better Business Bureau or a secure site badge
- a social conscience showing that you are not just in it for the money, you’re also using a share of profits to help those in need and the community
Always ensure that any claims you make are 100% genuine and provable. This includes testimonials and any signs of proof you add to your website. Be 100% transparent and honest when dealing with people, this is a long term business plan and anything short of 100% genuineness will only come back to hurt you later.
And finally is this website a living site and not an old abandoned website? Some ways to make your site look alive:
- keeping all information current
- making regular updates and blog posts
- using multi-media, so along with text and images, use of video and audio to supplement information
- and all the points raised above all make the site look alive eg modern design
Key points to consider about Business Credibility
- make sure the website looks like it represents a real living business that people can make contact with it necessary
- make sure the site design and usability are modern
- ensure you have external verifiable genuine proof from third parties
- ensure your website is regularly updated and old information is removed.
Here is an example of where a business recently lost credibility with me. I was in the market for a high end recording microphone with USB connection. I searched on Google and found a website which had what I wanted, their site displayed many high end microphones. I ordered the microphone on a COD (cash on delivery) basis … next day I had a phone call .. sorry we don’t have that microphone in stock….hmm…ok… so which of the 10 high end microphones on your website do you have in stock? None of those … just this one no-name low end microphone. If you want the microphone you ordered you will need to send cash up front and wait 3 weeks. Ah….ok…forget it….dodgy website and cash up front … no thanks….I don’t trust you.
Do you demonstrate expertise in this field or product or service? Visitors needs to know they are dealing with a credible and knowledgeable business/people.
Writing expert content is a great way to not only demonstrate your authority in your field, it also serves as a great mechanism for search engine optimisation and bringing of traffic to your website.
We use a multi-step process where content is created once and then repurposed into many forms for distribution in different medias across the web.
For example….assume you create a 5 minute video giving expert information about one topic. We would then post that video onto Youtube, extract the audio component and post it to a Podcast channel on iTunes, transcribe the audio and post the transcription along with links to the video and audio on your blog. From the transcription create some slides and post that to a slide sharing site and create an infographic for sharing on an infographic sharing site. You can further syndicate the content by sending an email to your list explaining the new expert content you have posted, post about the new content on your Facebook page, tweet about it on Twitter. Every sndication containing links back to the article on your website.
We always want to being people back to the website…we own the website…we only rent Youtube, Facebook, etc.
Your expert has only had to create the expert content one time … then we use virtual assistants to do the rest of the process for us. Get your expert to give video content on multiple topics all at one time … then you’ve got content for weeks to distribute.
Your expert credibility is a key way that we want to acquire visitors … bring them in with education, gain their trust through sharing our expertise first, before moving the qualified people down the sales funnel.
Social media sites can be used for a multitude of purposes, such as:
- social credibility
- traffic source
- operational activities like support and mastermind paid membership groups
In this section we are only concerned with social credibility.
We talked before about having visitors see what is familiar and expected to see…such as a contact page, legal disclaimers. Social media presence is also an expected to see.
I recommend just concentrating on the major social media sites.
Have a presence on:
- LinkedIn (if you are business to business)
- Youtube channel
Social presence gives the indication to people that you are a complete business and are not afraid to have people comment in public on your products and services.
For the sake of social credibility, you only need to maintain a minimal presence … post links to your expert articles, answer people’s questions, post some relevant information. A virtual assistant can keep all this side of the business in check without you spending much time on it.
Like your website…currency is important .. ensure there is some regular posting happening..otherwise you risk looking like a dead business.
Why didn’t we list Google+ above. You can add Google+ to the list if you feel strongly about it. What the future is for Google+ and whether it’s value to a business will get better is still to be determined. I personally still use Google+ primarily for the purpose of linking all my web assets together as a way to help Google understand my complete business. Afterall, we all rely on Google to some degree so we should not completely ignore them.
So, how does this all pertain to behaviour. Firstly all this credibility work is to ensure that the qualified people will actually stay on our website and not leave by giving them good feelings about our business. We are warming up the cold visitors by offering them free education and openly sharing of our knowledge with them in exchange for their trust in us.
Once they have decided to stay on our website and take in our information … then we want to subtly control their next moves. Don’t have so many distractions and places they can go that they just randomly move around the website. Keep the distractions minimal and offer them links that will take them deeper into your sales funnel.
You need to decide what actions you want for visitors to take and ensure that every page on your website has a defined purpose. Too many calls to action on a page is also as bad as too many distractions. Give people too many options and they won’t make any decision at all because it gets too hard to decide.
We need to have mechanisms in place that will qualify the right people and move them forward to taking the action we want them to take.
Document your entire sales funnel by creating a map of it step by step. Often times your sales funnel crosses over from offline to online to offline….look at your sales funnel from end to end then you will know which components of behaviour you want to promote within the website.