Need More Leads? Fix Your Web Site
Follow these seven tips to improve your company's online presence and ensure your prospects become customers.
- By M.H. McIntosh
- July 01, 2005
No matter how your prospects originally learn about your company
and its products or services, your Web site is now frequently the
first place they go to learn more. And what they see, learn and
experience when they get there will help them move forward with
their consideration and buying process. Or it will scare them away.
In short, your Web site has become critical to your company's success
in generating sales leads and closing sales—and needs to be
Your prospects have many other choices available to them, including
other Microsoft Partners, other hardware options and software applications.
With the resources of the Internet at their fingertips, the prospects
are now in control. They don't have to identify themselves unless
they want to. If your prospects visit your Web site and it doesn't
do its job, they leave and sales opportunities go with them.
By now, you're starting to see the absolute necessity for an exceptional
Web site, one that helps move prospects from simple awareness to
serious consideration. Your site should answer enough of your visitors'
questions to keep your company from being prematurely disqualified
from a short list of candidate companies. It should encourage prospects
to identify themselves by responding to your offers. And it should
make it easy for prospective customers to request additional information
or contact from your sales representative.
So, you say, "How do I accomplish all of this with my Web site?"
Here are seven recommendations.
1. Buy the book Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
It's a quick read, yet full of helpful hints and ideas to make your
Web site easier to navigate. It even made me laugh out loud at times,
something I've seldom experienced when reading a business book.
It's available at most online bookstores or at Krug's Web site:
2. Be sure your Web site quickly makes it absolutely clear what
your company does and for whom it does it
Most Microsoft Partners are pretty good at describing the products
or services they provide and the applications they support. Most
of their Web sites, however, fail to clearly describe the types
and sizes of businesses or institutions they serve and the geography
they cover. Be sure yours does, as your Web site visitors are trying
to quickly figure out if your company is a good fit for them.
3. Clearly explain why your company is a better choice than
Your prospective customers are trying to decide between your company
and many others. Help them along in concluding that your company
is their best choice.
4. Back up your claims
Everyone in this business claims to be great at what they do. Stand
out by proving the claims you make on your Web site. If you're a
Certified or Gold Microsoft Partner, say so. If your people have
years of business and technical experience, and advanced certifications
of their own, mention it. If your company has won awards from Microsoft
or your clients, say so. List a sampling of clients and industries
that you serve to prove that you already know a visitor's business.
5. Tell site visitors what it will be like once they become
Don't just explain your support and training resources. Salt and
pepper your pages with testimonials from happy clients as proof
that your customers really are satisfied.
6. Include lots of offers on every appropriate page of the site
This is the key to getting prospects to identify themselves and
starting sales-winning relationships. Use multiple offers—each
designed for different stages of your prospects' buying cycles.
For example, offer such information as white papers or info kits
for those just beginning the process. Offer checklists or Webinars
for people further along in the buying process. And offer in-depth
seminars, demos and on-site evaluations for those well into the
7. Make it easy for your prospective customers to take the next
Make sure to list multiple ways to contact you (phone, e-mail, links
to request forms and such) on every page of your Web site. Don't
just bury it under a "contact us" link hidden in the margins.
And, finally, a bonus tip: Do your best to make most of the information
discussed above available in the headlines, main body copy and menus
of your home page, so prospective customers can't miss it.
About the Author
M.H. "Mac" McIntosh has been providing marketing and sales consulting services for Microsoft and many of its partners for more than seven years. More than 1,000 Microsoft Partners across the United States and Canada have attended his Marketing Boot Camps and Marketing for Leads (tm) live and Web seminars. You can contact Mac via www.sales-lead-experts.com.