Many business owners focus on one thing when it comes to their website: Does it look pretty enough?
They spend countless hours (and dollars) making sure every design, image, color and layout looks just right, but they are missing the most important element of a truly effective website: Is it bringing in new clients?
Sure, aesthetics do play a role in a website's performance. A professional-looking site might give a visitor more confidence to make a purchase, but there are far more important website features to focus on.
If you want a site that sells, ask yourself these four critical questions:
1. Is It Obvious Who Belongs Here?
When someone first lands on your website, they should instantly know whether or not they are in the right place.
Your site headline, copy, and images should all assure your ideal client that your fitness services are perfectly suited to meet their unique needs. In short, your website should be built for your niche.
For example, when someone lands on my website, here’s the message they see:
“What’s Blocking Your Fat-Loss?” makes it pretty clear that this site has something to do with weight-loss. Bodybuilders and athletes do not belong here.
But “fat-loss” is still pretty general. It’s not a niche. You’ll see how I get more specific at targeting a specific clientele in section No. 3 below. Hold tight.
ACTION: Look at the homepage of your website. Does it clearly target your ideal client?
A site built for a specific audience is much more likely to convert online sales than a site that tries to be for everyone. The old marketing adage is true: “If you try to target everyone, you end up targeting no one.”
2. What Are They Supposed to Do?
Now that a visitor to your site feels at-home, it’s your job to make their experience easy. Don’t give them any room to guess or make their own decisions.
Take a look at many fitness sites, and you’ll see the opposite happening. There are buttons, offers, articles, videos and products all vying for attention. The more options you present, the less control you have over your visitor's direction.
Instead, take a look at my home page again. What do you notice?
There are two distinct calls to action: “Begin Assessment” and “Start Here.”
In both cases, the visitor is taken on the path that I want them to travel. They are being directed toward making a purchase. There is no room for error.
ACTION: Go back to your website. If you landed here for the first time, what do you think you would do?
Even better, sit down with someone who has never been on your site, ideally someone in your niche, and ask that person what they think they’re supposed to do.
If the answer isn’t clear or if it’s not the action you want them to take, it’s time to rethink the messaging on your site.
3. How Are You Going to Follow Up?
Although it would be amazing if your website visitors made a purchase the first time they landed on your site, it’s unlikely to happen. The sales rule of thumb says it takes at least eight touch points to convert a prospect into a paying client.
This is why it’s crucial that your website provides a way for your visitors to be followed up with. But how?
The call to action on my website directs visitors to an assessment that allows me to follow up with them via a series of automated emails. Through those emails, I develop the more than eight touch points needed to generate a first sale.
During this process, my niche becomes clear. The assessment is labeled for “women only,” and the content is geared toward the specific age demographic of my niche.
Now, you don’t need an online assessment like the one I use in order to generate follow-up potential from the prospects who visit your site. There are many options, but here are three of my favorites:
- Give away a lead magnet to gain email addresses
- Use the Facebook retargeting pixel to reconnect on Facebook
- Offer a free consultation to build rapport with your leads
By now, you can see the flow of an effective website. Make people feel at home. Direct them to the pages you want them to see. Then, improve your odds of making a sale by following up with them in the future.
ACTION: Does your website offer an easy way for you to follow up with your ideal leads? If not, how would you like to follow up with them?
4. Why Should They Buy from You?
The last step in this online sales process is to convince your site visitors that you have what they need.
In most cases, this is achieved by delivering useful content, resources or direct assistance.
For my audience, I’ve found that offering a free webinar works really well.
In this automated presentation, I build my authority and trustworthiness so that prospects who don’t know me will feel like they do by the time the presentation is over. At that point, they’re often ready to buy.
Do you need to create a webinar to nurture your website leads? Absolutely not. You build your relationship with them in many ways:
- Send a series of your best blog posts
- Direct them to your Youtube videos
- Show them a case study from your most successful client
- Give them a download of a relevant podcast interview you did
Your goal is to automate the warming-up process so that your website visitors become comfortable with you and your brand. Then, when you make a sales offer, they’re ready to purchase.
ACTION: Take a look at your content and select three pieces that people in your niche will love. These should form the foundation of your lead nurturing process.
If your website isn’t selling, what is its purpose? Too many fitness sites look great and give away tons of amazing content but never do what a good website should do—sell.
A strategically designed website can do so much selling on your behalf. The best part? It can all be automated so that you don’t lift a finger.
Use the four questions we just covered to analyze your site right now. What tweaks can you make to turn your site into a selling machine?
Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as Canada’s Top Fitness Professional in 2013. He shares health and weight-loss tips through his blog and podcast at makeyourbodywork.com and helps fitness professionals grow their online businesses at onlinetrainersfederation.com.