Why Your Site is Actually Pushing Away Potential Customers
By Erin | September 24, 2012 |
Your website's visitors find your content helpful, right?
After all, I'm sure you're a regular reader of this blog and have thus worked hard to sprinkle social proof throughout your site. And I'm sure you've been diligent about including real data and evidence to support your big claims. I bet you even add fresh content to your blog on a regular basis (because you never run out of topics for new posts as you've learned so many great tips on generating new ideas from our blog).
There's just one problem.
And it's a BIG problem.
And this big problem is causing groups of your potential customers to leave your website in droves, with most of them never to return.
Remember the popular kids in middle school?
That's right. Unless you worked with expert web copywriters who would have prevented this, it's almost guaranteed your site is acting like those kids from the snooty, popular middle school clique.
Because your site is talking to just a small subset of its visitors and almost completely ignoring everyone else. Many of your potential customers who fall into this "everyone else" category are leaving your site. And many won't be giving you or your site a second chance.
Don't worry. It's fixable. I'll explain this clearly so you can make a few changes and keep more of your precious prospects from feeling ignored.
A spectrum of buyers
A portion of the people who visit your website are potential buyers of what you're selling. Some will buy from you, some will buy from the competition. Some will buy soon, some will buy later, and some will end up not buying at all.
Regardless of who they are, all buyers fall somewhere on a spectrum in between nowhere-near-ready-to-buy on one end and I-want-to-buy-right-this-second on the other end. Obviously, we want your site to constantly work at guiding buyers over to the ready-to-buy end of the spectrum.
Obviously. But how do we make this happen?
Here's what you need to know:
Buyers at different locations in this spectrum typically care about very different things.
If your site doesn't provide content that's of interest to buyers at all locations across the spectrum, it's essentially ignoring them. And they'll leave. After all, you'd leave, too, if a site didn't offer any of the content you were looking for.
Who cares about what now?
You now understand your site needs to speak directly to people at different stages in the buying process.
Ok. So....how do you do that?
Let's split your buyers up and envision them falling into one of 4 categories/stages/areas on the spectrum; it'll make things much easier here.
Your Stage 1 Buyers are in: Awareness Mode
These people have just become curious. They're aware they have a problem, but they're not sure how or what will solve it. In fact, some may only know they have pain and may not even be able to pinpoint exactly what it is yet. They definitely don't know anything about you and it's likely they know little about any of their options.
Your Stage 2 Buyers are in: Research Mode
People in this stage clearly understand what their challenge or problem is and they're now motivated to educate themselves on what they can do about it. They're actively looking for potential solutions and gathering information about their problem and options.
Your Stage 3 Buyers are in: Comparison Mode
People in this stage have moved past research mode and are spending time narrowing down their options by actively comparing their potential solutions against one another. Keep in mind this typically includes the option of doing nothing.
Your Stage 4 Buyers are in: Purchase Mode
These people are primed and ready to take the next step and buy.
So the question you need to ask yourself is: Does my website contain useful information and "next steps" for buyers in each of these 4 stages?
Who are you ignoring?
Is your website overflowing with cries to "Buy now!" and "Sign up today!"? Though I commend you for using calls to action, could it be possible that you're spending a bit too much time on your Stage 4 buyers at the expense of everyone else? Stage 4 buyers are the most exciting, definitely. But not everyone who shows up at your website is ready to buy. What do you think Stage 1 and 2 buyers are doing when they see your instructions to buy now? Yep. Ignoring them and looking around for what they care about.
Does your website state just the facts and nothing more than boring, vanilla facts about your company and what you offer? Lists of services, products offered, time it takes to complete a project, picture of your office staff, contact information, etc.? That's great info for Stage 2 buyers! But there's more right? Because that kind of content sure won't appeal to Stage 3 buyers. In fact, if that's all you provide, you're likely pushing Stage 3 buyers directly into the arms of your competitors.
This is because Stage 3 buyers want to understand why they should choose you over the competition. They've already done their basic research and they know you might be able to help them, but are you any better than your competition? What content in your site is working to prove this to them?
If your website doesn't offer content that appeals to buyers in each of the 4 stages, you're ignoring a large chunk of your visitors. And ignored visitors typically don't turn into devoted customers. They turn to your competition.
So what to do?
Take 10 minutes to skim through your site's most popular and prominent content. (Haven't done that in a while, have you?)
Try to identify which buyers you're talking to on various pages. As you look through the pages, do you see patterns? Is it possible you're largely ignoring buyers in a certain stage (or stages)?
If you are, that's okay. It happens. Just come up with a plan to integrate new content into your site over the upcoming month that directly addresses the challenges, concerns, fears, and questions of concern to the buyers you've been ignoring.
- Don't let your site be like the cool middle school clique.
- Don't let your site ignore any of the 4 stages of buyers.
- Don't let your site push your prospects toward your competition.
- Ensure your site is inclusive and contains content that's of interest to more than just one stage of buyer.
- Ensure different parts of your site talk to buyers across all 4 stages.
- Make potential buyers more likely to like you by talking about the things they care about most.
In a nutshell
Stop pushing buyers away by ignoring where they are in the buying process.
Include content in your site that's of interest to buyers in all 4 stages of the buying process and you'll keep more of them on your site and away from the competition.