If you’ve even been to a party when you didn’t know anyone, you know it can be a challenge starting up a conversation without first asking some of the default questions about their job,the weather, similar interests an so on. Websites don’t typically ask these questions up front, so how can you set the right first impression with a first time visitor?
As lame as these “get to know you” questions are, in most cases you have to ask these questions in order to have a greater discussion. You have to get to know who the person is in order to ask more intelligent questions. If you’re like me, you may be so socially inept that you can’t even get beyond the basics without appearing to be someone doing an IRS audit. But they are asking you the same questions. A website also must be able to answer these questions and establish trust if the new visitor is every going to come back.
I’ve found over time, that most business and non-profit websites make the same mistakes when interacting with their visitors. Too often, it’s as if the website is asking people out on a date before finding out anything about the person visiting. They attempt to make the sale within the first few minutes of a new visit. This is a classic sales process that is still hanging on today. Organizations believe that sheer numbers of conversions will lead to more sales, and overall this simply isn’t true.
So how do you get to know your visitors without asking for their hand in marriage the first time they visit?
- Establish Trust. You need to be able to establish trust with any new visitor to your website. This can be done with testimonials, customer logos, BBB badges and case studies. Visitors need to know early on that your organization is worth placing their trust on.
- Be Truthful. Be very clear about what your organization is and it’s purpose. It’s surprising how I have to really dig into a website sometimes to understand just what they are trying to sell me.
- Wear Your Best Clothing. I’m referring to your site design here. With so many awesome sites out there, even template designs for WordPress, if you don’t look good, it reflects on your business. The last thing you want is someone thinking bad of your business because you have a poorly designed and written website.
- Solve The Problem. This can be a little but tougher since you don’t know why every person is visiting your site, but if you are selling something or trying to educate, people are visiting you to try and solve a problem they have at work or at home. If you can provide the solution, even if it is giving away the answer, you are much more likely to close the sale.
- Give To Receive. If you run a service based company or are trying to educate an audience, give away advice and information. If it is information that you can’t get anywhere else and it’s really valuable, you might want to consider asking for their email address in order to get it.
Once you have taken these steps, don’t leave them hanging! Hopefully they are willing to take the next step. Provide your G+, Twitter and Facebook links so they can follow you further. Ask them to share with their friends some of that free info you are giving out. If they do, always thank them and you’ll begin creating that loyal following you were hoping for all along.