It’s probably been drilled into you how important a website is for your business. And not just any website—a really good site that functions well, loads quickly and presents lots of information in a persuasive way structured to help prospects self-qualify and sign up. You’ve invested time and money into a site that represents you well and tells your story, focusing on value and benefits to the customer. Maybe you’ve even added video, testimonials and case studies, photos and graphics and a big “buy now” button. All well and good—but it may not be enough to make the sale.
Believe it or not, many customers still want old-fashioned human connection, and if you can’t or won’t provide that, they’ll go elsewhere.
One of the most common—and easiest to fix—problems is a lack of contact information. If someone wants more information, is your email address and phone number easy to find? Personally, I prefer a real email address to a web contact form. A contact form feels impersonal and I’m always skeptical about whether or not it will actually reach a human being. If you’re worried about spam, talk to your web designer about ways to make your email address readable by human beings but not by spammers. And while no one likes spam, a little junk mail is a small price to pay for a stream of potential new clients.
Phone numbers are important, because they suggest that you are approachable and that a real human being is involved. If you’re impossible to reach before the sale is made, how confident will a prospect be that you’ll be responsive after the deal is signed? The truth is, despite all the technology, most people long for the ability to shake hands on an agreement. Barring that, a phone call overcomes the impersonal distance of email and provides reassurance. We can read a lot about a person from how he/she sounds on the phone, and a good phone call can lay the ground for a long-running business relationship. Might you get some unwanted sales calls? Sure. But that’s the price you pay for being in the marketplace. You get junk mail from the Post Office too, but you don’t remove your mailbox!
Let’s go beyond email addresses and phone numbers to other ways prospects decide whether or not you’re a good fit. Do you answer inquiries from your website promptly? Who handles inquiry emails? Do they view them as an annoyance or a source of future revenue? If you have a voice mail system, make sure someone is checking and returning messages with minimal delay.
Do you make it easy for people to find your company online? Is your website information easy to find on your card and other materials? Do you list your email and phone number as well, or make them dig through the materials to find it in very small print on the last line? Even your social media profiles should direct people to your website for more information. Don’t miss an opportunity to make it easy for people to learn more about you!
Does your website have an “About Me” (or “About Us”) page to introduce you and your main customer-facing staff? Photos and friendly text go a long way toward starting a new relationship on the right footing. If you’re worried about being pestered on email and by phone answering basic questions over and over again, create a Frequently Asked Questions page to help prospects get that information easily. Realize that prospects ask questions because they’re motivated to find out more—and that means they’re contemplating taking action. Welcome the chance to provide answers!
No matter how fantastic your website is, remember that it doesn’t take the place of interpersonal communication, and it won’t get you off the hook from needing to talk to prospects to seal the deal.