Inbound Success Playbook

Build the Perfect Inbound Website

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Years ago, it was enough to have a business website that was (for all intents and purposes) a digital billboard, providing a basic overview of your company and products/services, as well as contact information. But given what we know about how buyers have changed -- now turning to the internet and their search engines to find answers to their questions -- you need to think about your website differently.

Today, your website has the potential to become your number one sales rep -- educating tens of thousands of potential buyers with answers to their most pressing questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year -- never sleeping or taking time off for the holidays.

But how do you do it?

While what’s possible with web design and development is always changing, there are seven specific “evergreen” priorities you should focus on if you want to transform your web presence into a perfect inbound website:

  • Homepage design and messaging
  • Self-selection and configuration tools
  • Obsess over honest education
  • Premium education
  • Textual and visual content mix
  • Social proof
  • Site speed

If you implement the tactics and strategies we outline in this playbook on your website, you will position your company at the digital forefront of your industry.

Priority 1: Homepage Design & Messaging

Homepage Messaging

Take a moment and think about what you consider to be important when you’re visiting a business website. Are you more concerned about your needs, your questions, and what you want -- or are you more interested in learning about the company?

Of course, we care more about ourselves -- our priorities and our challenges.

But most businesses still talk about how great they are and why they are unique in their headlines and copy on their websites. Yes, these types of statements hold some value, but they should never be the primary focus of your brand messaging.

Because, when your buyers land on your website, they are only trying to answer one question:

“Can your company solve my problem or not?”

That’s it.

How to Answer That Question in Your Messaging

  • First, count how many sentences and headlines on your website include the word “you” versus “we” or “our,” as in “our company.” The ideal ratio is 5-to-1, meaning you refer to your buyers five times more than yourselves.
  • If you’re not meeting that ratio, you should rework your headlines and copy to lead with your buyers’ primary problems, needs, questions, or worries -- in their words.

This simple exercise and reworking of your website copy will make it so that your buyers are able to immediately identify that you understand their problems -- exactly how they express them -- and, because you have that understanding, you can genuinely help them.

Learn more about how we can help you with your brand messaging strategy.

Homepage Design & Layout

The goal of every single business website’s homepage -- no matter what your industry is -- is to get your visitor to page two. When we say page two, we simply mean that a visitor has taken an action -- an initial step beyond your home page -- meaning they are digging deeper to find what they are looking for.

Page No. 2 matters, because you won’t learn much about a website visitor if they spend 20 minutes on your homepage alone. They may have gotten bored and accidentally left the website browser tab open while they navigated elsewhere online.

But the more someone moves through your website -- looking at pricing pages, solutions overviews, self-assessments, blog articles on specific topics, and so on -- the more of a contextualized picture you will get about who your buyer is and what they are looking for from you.

How to Get Your Website Visitors to Page 2

First, understand that your website homepage should not exist to teach visitors everything they need to know in one place. Instead, your homepage should allow your website visitor to find exactly what they want as quickly as possible.

To do this, get your team together for a brainstorm in which you answer this question:

“What are the top actions, questions, or needs someone would have if they were to come to our website right now?”

From there, prioritize your list of answers in order of importance, and then consider whether or not your current homepage layout reflects what you’ve identified as the true wants and needs of your buyers.

What you determine at this stage will give you a clear roadmap of what changes you need to make. And by making those changes, you’ll put the priorities of your buyers first, your website’s “dwell time” will increase, and leads and sales will inevitably follow.

Learn how we can help you build a beautiful, data-driven website for your business that gets results.

Priority 2: Self-Selection & Configuration Tools

According to Google, online searches for terms that include “for me” have risen dramatically by 120%. But what does that mean? We used to search online for answers to purchase-based questions -- for example, “best inground swimming pool,” à la The Big 5.  

Now, buyers -- including yours -- want more specific answers, personalized to their needs. So, using our example, a search like “best inground swimming pool for me” is now much more common, where a searcher expects to be able to learn what's best for them without talking to a human first.  

In addition to creating video and text content to help your buyers find exactly what they need, based on their situation, you should consider developing interactive website tools that allow someone to answer a set of questions -- the same ones your sales team would ask -- with an output of a personalized recommendation of the right solution.

Yale Appliance’s grill configurator is a world-class example:

yale-appliance-grill-configurator

As is WIX.com’s website builder, which people can use to create their own website -- based on their specific needs -- before they become a paying subscriber of WIX’s services:

wix-site-builder

The three most common types of self-selection tools are pricing and cost calculators, design and build configurators, and customer onboarding tools, as they are the three that have proven to have the most impact on leads and sales. They make your sales conversations more productive since, in order for a buyer to make their selections, they will have to do some research, which moves them further down the sales funnel.

Tools of this kind average between $5,000 and $15,000 to build, although this price will depend on the needs of your project. Learn how we can help you create a self-selection or configuration tool for your website.

Priority 3: Obsess Over Honest Education

We’ve covered the “why” and “how” of obsessing over honest education in our playbooks on creating content and videos that drive revenue, so we won’t spend too much time here belaboring those points.

However, there is a simple exercise you can perform with your team that will help with the practical application of those principles on your website:

  • Brainstorm the top 25 questions you constantly hear from buyers about your products and/or services.
  • Next, ask yourselves, “How many of those questions do we answer on our website either in text or video format?”
  • Finally, ask yourselves, “How many of those answers (in video or text format) you have already are easy to find on your website?”

Now, document any video or text content gaps you identified in the second step -- this will be your action plan for what content you need to create first. Also, reevaluate how and where that information is housed on your website, and make any changes necessary to make that content easy for your visitors to find.

Priority 4: Premium Education

Most of the education you’ll give to buyers who visit your company website will be found in your blog articles, videos, podcast episodes, and so on. However, you’ll still want to offer more of a “full course” of “meat and potatoes” content for those who want it.

This is commonly referred to as “premium content” in the digital marketing world. Examples include ebooks, whitepapers, buying guides, physical brochures, downloadable templates and checklists, webinars, and on-demand videos.

Are you offering enough premium content on your website? To determine the answer to that, ask yourself:

“If someone wanted to learn as much as possible about each of our products and services, have we created enough premium content offers for them to do so? If so, do those offers live in an area on our website that’s easy to find, like a learning center?”

Prioritize the gaps you identify in your premium content in order of those that are associated with the products and/or services with the greatest revenue potential. Then, get to work! 

Priority 5: Textual & Visual Content Mix

You understand the importance of creating video. That means your website must prominently display video content -- lots of it -- in addition to the more traditional text-based content you’re probably used to creating.

To determine how well you stack up right now, ask yourself:

“If someone wants to visually learn about any of our products and services, could they do that on our website right now?”

In terms of application, every major website page should feature at least one video specific to its subject matter. Because if you’re only answering all of the questions your buyers have via the written word, you’re poised to fall behind.  

Priority 6: Social Proof

Our entire online buying culture is based around our ability to easily find what others are saying about the products and services we want to buy. That’s why you must be prolific about the amount of social proof -- testimonials, customer journey videos, client case studies, NPS scores, and so on -- on your website.

“What If We Don’t Have a Lot of Social Proof?”

Identify your happiest customers, and ask them to sit down with you and record their journey as a buyer on video. Then, leverage these videos on your site and throughout the sales process. We refer to this video as a customer journey video, which is one of The Selling 7 -- the seven types of marketing and sales videos that have the most impact. 

An Example of a Customer Journey Video

Read Mazella's full success story or learn how we can help you create powerful marketing and sales videos that move the needle.

Priority 7: Site Speed

“Wait, what does the speed of our website have to do with the content we’re creating and everything else we’ve discussed so far?”

Everything.

Your buyers want answers, access, and solutions. And they want them right now. In fact, Google found that 40% of buyers will abandon a website entirely if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Considering most business websites take between eight and 12 seconds to load on average, that’s a big problem.

How to Assess & Address Your Website’s Speed

The consequences of slow website speed -- and, therefore, a slow user experience -- are too great for you to ignore.