Since I started E-Brand Promotion in 2012, I have had contact with no less than 1500+ companies/organizations and have successfully completed 350+ web design projects in-house and participated in over 300 other larger sub-contracted projects.
Throughout these past few years, I have picked up a few important lessons and these lessons I have learned are what I want to share with you in this article.
You will learn;
- What to do if your website is dormant and not converting visitors to customers/clients
- How to determine what type of website your company needs before you hire a web designer
- How to make your website more engaging and interactive
- What you can do to massively boost your company’s sales by making some simple changes to your website
- Important questions you should ask a web designer before hiring him and
Below are the 5 biggest experiences I gained from designing 350+ websites in the last 7 years;
Conversion rate optimization is everything in web development
If you already have a website or you are planning to build one for your business, the no.1 thing that should be on your mind is conversion rate optimization. This is the process and series of activities and features you put in place on your site to ensure that you convert website visitors to hot leads/customers.
In fact, in my experience, I can say with confidence that it is what determines if your website is going to be a total failure or a massive success.
I’ve had experiences with six-figure-ad-campaign-budget clients whose plans to drive sales through their website ended up in abysmal failure simply because their website was not optimized enough to convert the thousands of visitors they sent to it. On the other hand, some companies have performed wonders with shoe-string budgets.
The fact remains that even if you have the best strategies for attracting people to your website and you do attract millions; if you don’t take care of these fundamental issues, forget it. You will fail!
So if you want to hire a web designer, the first question you should ask should be “How are you going to optimize my website for increased conversion”.
Most clients don’t even know what they REALLY want
Of course, this may sound a bit outrageous to some people. But in my experience, that has always been the case.
It is one thing to know that your company needs a website to showcase your business to the world, but it is yet another to know what you really want to achieve with that website. If you cannot specifically identify your websites KPI before you start, chances are you will have a dormant website.
It is not always enough to have over-generalized goals like;
“I want to use my website to display my products,”
“I want to use it get more customers online”
Or really lame ones like;
“I want to expose my business to the world”.
When it comes to having a website, your goals should be ultra-specific. You have to know EXACTLY what you want the website to achieve for your business or organization. You must think of your website as a means to an end. Not the end in itself. It should be an in-road into a specific path in your sales funnel.
If you can establish your specific (or even ultra-specific) goal(s), optimizing your website for conversion will be very simple. It will help you create, with a high degree of accuracy, an ideal buyer persona so you can streamline your marketing to attract the kind of people who are most likely to buy from you.
The principle is the same even if you run an NGO or religious body. You must establish what your key goal is.
For example, at eBrand Promotion, our specific goal of having a website is to “generate leads”.
Take note, I didn’t say “generate clients” which, to a layman, should be my aim. A “lead” is just someone who has shown interest in patronizing you. Nothing more!
So every word we write on the site is geared towards generating leads, not customers. In order to achieve this, we use a tried and tested method – offer something of value to your prospect in exchange for her contact information.
So what do we offer?
We offer a detailed website design quotation because most potential clients don’t even have an idea of what it costs to design a website. Despite offering you this information for free, you are not compelled to do business with us. We also go the extent of offering to help people carry out an in-depth audit on their site so as to see areas that need improve and also make recommendations. In exchange, prospective clients give us your contact information.
The reason we adopt this approach is that I’m certain nobody will send me money to design a website for him on his first visit to our website. So instead we offer to establish a relationship first.
You must think through all these things or hire someone to work with you to set out your specific goals first before you hire a website designer.
Most companies generate zero sales through their website throughout its lifespan
This is a real tragedy.
When I first started designing websites for businesses in Abuja, I noticed a trend after the first 3-5 years. 30% of the companies refused to renew their annual hosting after the first year so their websites got pulled down. And they didn’t care. Then after 2-3 years, more than 50% had shut down.
They were uncannily giving me a very nasty feedback – “The website you designed for us has been useless. So no need wasting money on it”
This got me REALLY worried. I was having sleepless nights about this trend. Not because I so much cared about their success. My main worry was that 90% of new clients usually ask,
“Let me see websites you have designed before”.
I’m sure that if you own a website, you asked this question before you hired your developer.
So my desire to succeed was tied to my clients’ success.
After hundreds of hours dedicated to research on finding out what could be responsible for this awful trend robbing me of sleep at night, I discovered it was for one simple reason;
My clients were not getting any customers/clients online through the websites I designed for them.
And the reason?
I was designing websites like everyone else – Buy a domain name and host, install a template, create pages with information supplied by the client and after 5-10 days, BAM! A new website is born in the digital space and I was off to hunt for the next client.
To cut a long story short, in order to help my clients get better results, I decided to take courses in digital marketing. I learned how to work with clients to identify their specific goals, create sales funnel and optimize their site for conversion.
Since I did this, I have increased my retention rate to more than 90%. Some clients have been renewing their websites year in, year out for the past 7 years. And they warn that if anything happened to their website, they would use the police to arrest me – that’s how important it has been to them.
Most company’s business development people Never heard of “sales funnel” in website design prior to hiring a web designer.
Strange as it may sound, it is true.
A good number of people who have had the opportunity of doing an MBA may know what it is in a normal brick and mortar business set up. But a great majority of them have no idea about how to implement it online.
So, the result is that they, in turn, hire web designers who also have no knowledge of what having a preconceived sales funnel is.
Before I tell you what sales funnel is all about, I want to establish a fact upfront for you. 98% of the people who visit your website will NEVER become your customer on their first visit. They need to get warmed up and have a relationship with your brand and trust you explicitly before they open their wallets.
Having established that fact, let me tell you what sales funnel is. A sales funnel is the process of creating a relationship (filled with series of interactions) with an online user from the first day he visits your site up until when he decides of his own volition to buy your product or services. And it doesn’t end there. A perfect sales funnel ensures that you keep the client for several years and up-sell him on more products or services in the future.
I have several 5-year-old clients who I started a relationship with something as simple as quotation for website design or free site audit. Then I designed a website for them followed by offering web management services, digital marketing consultancy, etc.
Before going into designing or redesigning your company’s website, ensure you are dealing with someone that has a fair knowledge of how to create sales funnel that can help your business grow and flourish online.
Most Cheap website designers are amateurs – they deliver poorly
Finally, this is not to “spoil market” for web designers who are just starting out. Neither is it a justification for asking for an outrageous amount of money from clients.
I noticed this trend because, in the last 7 years since I went into web design full time, 60% of the jobs we get have been redesigning of existing website.
And when I inquire why they need a redesign, their stories always point to one particular line, “I hired a guy in our church/neighbourhood because the price was good but he designed nonsense”.
This is why I always encourage prospective clients to focus on what they want to achieve first before talking about pricing with a web designer. You have to ask the right questions to sieve out the good web designers from the amateurs. If the first guy, I told you earlier, that hired me for his website design job had focused on finding a website designer that understood his demands instead of going for the lowest bidder (after all, is it not just a website), he wouldn’t have hired me and in such case wouldn’t have ended up with an unusable website.
So my strong advice to you is this; don’t just hire a website designer because the price is cheap, always focus on the quality of the developer before you make a decision.
So there you have it.
These I believe are some of the biggest lessons I have learned from designing websites for hundreds of clients in the last couple of years and it is my hope that you have picked one or two things that will help you make better decisions in your desire to use the internet to drive your business/organization’s marketing effort.
AUTHOR: Dr. Smart Okpi is the Creative Director at eBrand Promotion. He can be reached via 08105882416 or 09034244099 or just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I normally reply within a few minutes or hours (on weekends).