The Role of Your Website in Directing the Customer Journey Written by John Jants Read more in Duct Tape Marketing
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Today’s customer journey is more complex than ever. From social media to paid search to offline marketing, there are dozens of ways someone can find your company. The main role of your website in this winding journey is to have a solid central point.
While prospects can find your brand anywhere, you want traffic from those disparate points to drive back to your website. Your website is an online asset that you have complete control over, and a well-designed website is the key to guiding the customer journey.
Let me walk you through the role that your website can and should play at each stage of the customer journey.
Know and Like
Prospects search for brands through all kinds of channels, and it’s entirely possible that your website isn’t the first place they’ll meet you. It could be through a local listing service like Yelp, or it could be on social media, or maybe they saw a truck with your logo on it driving around town—who knows! But every other channel where you are present should include your website URL, so that it is easy for potential people to go there and learn more.
Additionally, there are steps you can take to give your website the best shot at becoming the first point of contact with your brand. Undertaking keyword research allows you to see the actual words that searchers use when looking for the solution your business provides. Once you know that information, you can optimize your website so that it ranks for those terms. Couple keyword research with some effective, descriptive metadata, and you’ll be on your way to generating more website traffic through organic search results.
Once prospects have visited your website, you want to greet them with messaging and design that helps them to know and like your brand more. Your homepage should include a promise to visitors, front and center. Must demonstrate promise that you understand their pain points and know how to solve them. Follow up with a call to action; Something that drives them to take a logical next step with your brand. It could be something like signing up for your newsletter or a free trial—nothing that involves a huge commitment. After all they met you! You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you at the end of your first date.
I recommend many other elements, including the homepage, but most importantly, share what you solve for your customers and how you can help others solve the same problems.
trust and try
Once a prospect puts your brand on their radar screen, your website can help solidify their trust in you until they eventually decide to give you a try.
There are many confidence-building elements that you can and should include in your website. Testimonials and case studies are a great way to demonstrate the value you bring to other customers. They help build an emotional connection with the prospect, who can see themselves reflected in the needs and struggles of your existing customer.
Content is also an important element in building trust. Blogs, podcasts, and videos are all ways to share meaningful content with your audience. Your website should be the central place where all of your content resides, so that anyone interested in discovering the wealth of knowledge you make can discover the knowledge you bring to the table. I also strongly advocate creating hub pages. These pages bring all your content together on one centralized topic on one page. They establish you as an authority on the topic (and they’re great for boosting your SEO, too!).
Once those trust elements have won over your audience and they are ready to give you a try, you want to greet them with an appropriate call to action (CTA) that will guide them to the next stage of the customer journey. guides. Include relevant CTAs on your trust-building pages. At the bottom of your Hub page, provide free access to paid reports. At the bottom of your testimonials page, include a CTA to schedule a free consultation.
You have reached the moment of truth! Your prospect is ready to become a first-time customer, and helping you accomplish that again depends on your website.
At this stage, it’s all about reducing friction in the buying process as much as possible, making sure you don’t lose any willing prospect at the last minute because of a frustratingly complicated buying process. If you have an e-commerce shop, reduce the number of clicks it takes to add items to cart and complete check-out. Ask for as little information as possible to complete the sale. When customers get stuck along a long form or a winding route to check-out, it’s possible you could lose them in the moment of truth.
If you have a service business, create a simple online sign-up form so that potential customers can easily make an appointment. Use a platform that doesn’t require registering for an external app or service to schedule them. And including thoughtful touches, like a system that automatically links a confirmed appointment to your customer’s calendar app of choice, is a good way to make the buying process as seamless as possible.
repeat and see
Once you’ve won a new client, your website doesn’t end there! There are opportunities to turn that one-time customer into a lifelong customer—the person who refers friends and family along the way.
A well-designed sitemap can help encourage repeat purchases. When you’re building your website, think about the best way to showcase related products and services. Attracting customers who are already shopping in another area of your website that covers a complementary offering is a smart way to increase sales and repeat business. A CRM tool synced with your website is also a great way to keep track of past purchases so you can use email marketing to send relevant offers to interested customers straight to their inboxes.
Your website can help you collect feedback and reviews, which in turn can generate referral business. Through your site, you can link to your profile on Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook, making it easier for your existing happy customers to share positive feedback about your business on these other platforms. You can also solicit testimonials from your existing customers, which you can display on your website.
Your website is the center of your online presence. It needs to be ready to work for you and your customers at any stage during their journey. Whether they just found you through a new search or are coming back to make their 100th purchase, your website should make it easy to find all the information and help they need.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design and the Small Business Guide to Shaping the Customer Journey.