It is hard to believe that websites have been around for 20+ years. I remember reserving my company’s domain name, sherware.com, back in 1994 when I started the software company. My how things have changed since then.
Websites used to almost always be “brochure” style sites. I think the reason for this, besides there not being any good ways to make a website dynamic, was that we all had printed brochures that we had worked hard to develop. A brochure contained all of our marketing copy and so it was just natural to put that great copy out on our newly minted websites.
That worked great back then. There weren’t that many websites available so there wasn’t much competition. Also, there was no Google and we hadn’t even thought of search engine optimization. You handed out your web URL just like you used to hand out your brochure. It was just another place to get information on your company and products.
Now days that won’t work. There are over 300 million domain names registered so the competition for site visitors has become fierce.
Your Website has Between 2-3 Seconds to Make an Impression
Besides all that you have to go through to get your site listed on the first page of search rankings, (we’ll discuss that in a future post), you only have between 2 – 3 seconds to grab your site visitor’s attention. If they can’t figure out what your site is within that 2 to 3 seconds, they’re going to “bounce” on to another site. That means that your site needs to grab that visitor and draw them in.
How do you do this?
As with all things marketing-wise, there’s a formula you can use when designing your site. When someone comes to a website, there’s three questions that they subconsciously ask:
- What is it? – What is this website about?
- Why does it matter to me? – Is the site relevant to the visitor?
- What do I need to do? – If I view this site, what are the next steps?
If they don’t get answers to these three questions in the first 2 -3 seconds, they’re gone.
Let me give some examples. Here are three different versions of the SherWare website. Which do you think generated more leads?
This was our website starting in 2010. It was pretty, but in context of answering those three questions, how did it do?
- What is it? – No idea
- Why does it matter to me? – No clue.
- What do I need to do? – Evidently read if I want to find out anything.
Here’s our next generation site:
This was our website starting in 2015. Only one short year ago. How’d we do in answering the questions this time?
- What is it? – Something to do with oil & gas accounting.
- Why does it matter to me? – Could make my work easier?
- What do I need to do? – Either request a demo or learn more, I can’t decide
This is our current site:
This is our current website. We put this one up at the end of 2015. How did we do this time?
- What is it? – Something that makes oil & gas accounting easy.
- Why does it matter to me? – I can enjoy my work, get things done and beat my deadlines.
- What do I need to do? – Request a demo.
What do you think? If you guessed the last generation of our site, you’re right. You’re also not dumb, because why would we go backwards in trying to generate leads? Ha!
We’ve seen a jump of almost 25% in leads since we put up the last design.
There’s a lot more to designing your site to convert visitors into leads, but if you pass your site through these three questions, you’ll definitely end up with more leads.
In future posts we’ll look at some other changes you need to make with your site and marketing to generate more leads for your software company and eventually, more sales.