It’s the foundation of all of your marketing efforts. Your first impression. The hub to all of your marketing spokes. In my estimation, the most important, and most neglected of all.
It’s your website.
Having a clean, well designed and modern website that performs its purpose, is intuitive to use and that supports your strategy is just table stakes right now. If you haven’t done that, you’re not really in the game.
Website Aesthetics Matter
Your site’s design can set the tone for your brand’s identity, influencing the perception of potential buyers who visit. Your design, and the content on your site, should reflect your brand’s identity. A user should get a feel for your culture and position in the marketplace after just a moment of browsing. Afterall, that’s all you really have to get their attention and keep it. Just a moment
Last year I was at CompTia’s ChannelCon and heard the channel chief of a very large equipment manufacturer talk about how the first thing they do when talking to a prospective partner is look at their website. They think that if the partner hasn’t invested the resources and effort in at least having a modern, updated website, they probably won’t be a good performing, committed partner either.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’ll admit we often make quick judgements based on appearances. While we’re being honest with ourselves, answer this: what does your website say about you? Would you buy from you?
Make sure your website is following modern design practices. Good use of white space. Clean, flat graphics, Don’t go crazy on bells and whistle, like parallax scrolling. Design isn’t as superficial as many think. Good design can engage a prospect and encourage conversions.
Make sure it is has responsive design, meaning it is coded in such a way that they layout changes based on the type of device it’s being viewed on, so it is always optimized for the user.
These are table stakes, if your website isn’t objectively up to par in this area, you should consider making a change.
Built With Purpose
When I mentioned earlier that your site should support your strategy, what I mean is this: Websites should be built with a purpose. The purpose of your site will probably fall into one of these categories, and should be defined by or aligned with your sales and marketing strategy.
The three primary types of sites you’ll find in our industry are:
- Content Driven
You can have a brochureware site, where the primary goal is to provide credibility and substantiate any messaging claims you’ve made in other marketing channels or throughout the sales process. This is probably the most common type of site I see used by partners, But I think probably not intentionally. You’ll see a 4-5 page site that includes a homepage, about us page, services, solutions, and contact. Now this is a perfectly legitimate strategy, as long as you have the right expectation, that this is not going to generate leads but rather assist in the sales process. If you think having that type of site and a newsletter is going to bring you new leads in the door, you’re going to be disappointed.
An example of a good use case for brochureware is when you have a sales driven organization that is cold calling, working referrals, etc. When they engage with a prospect, the first thing the prospect will do is check out your website. They will make a quick assessment to see if you look legitimate, credible, and that you’re the type of business they would want to work with. They’ll also be looking to see if your website backs any claims or positioning, expertise, features, etc, that the salesperson made.
Next up is an ecommerce site, which is relatively rare in our industry. You’ll see it sometimes with MSPs selling RMM or VARs selling UCaaS services. The goal here is to get users to complete a purchase right online.
Last is a content driven website. A few years ago, Google and CEB published a research report that found that 60% of the sales process is now done online, before the prospect ever even talks to your sales team. A content driven website emulates your sales process in the virtual word as your users are researching for solutions like the ones you can provide. You better make sure they can find you, and the information they need.
If the type of site you have now doesn’t match the purpose of the site, you should, again, seriously consider making a change. If your expectation is to generate leads from your site, but it’s brochureware, you’re going to be in for a bad time.
Consider the website type when you evaluate new website development vendors or services. Many will happily sell you an inexpensive template based website, but it’s almost always brochureware. That’s fine if it fits your strategy, but if you’re trying to generate leads from your site, you would be wasting your money.
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