Prospects can find your company in dozens of ways. They may have received a promotional product, landed on your social media page or received a referral from a business partner. While they may discover your company from anywhere, it’s important to drive them to your website.

John Jantsch, a small-business marketing speaker, marketing consultant and bestselling author, says your website should play an important role in each stage of the customer journey. We explore his thoughts on a well-designed website in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Know and like. Jantsch says it’s entirely possible that your website is not the first place prospects will encounter you. It might be through a local listing or on social media, or maybe they see a truck with your logo driving around town. Every other channel where you are present should include your website’s URL, so that it’s easy for prospects to go there and learn more. Once prospects land on your website, you want to greet them with messaging and design that helps them come to further know and like your brand. Your homepage should include a promise to visitors, front and center. The promise should demonstrate that you understand their pain points and know how to solve them. Follow that up with a call to action; something that drives them to take a logical next step with your brand.

Trust and try. Once a prospect has your brand on their radar screen, Jantsch says your website can help to strengthen their trust in you, until they finally decide to give you a try. He suggests adding testimonials and case studies to demonstrate the value you’ve brought to other customers. They help to build an emotional connection with the prospect, who can see themselves reflected in the needs and struggles of your existing customer. Content is also a critical element in building trust. Blogs, podcasts and videos are all ways to share meaningful content with your audience.

Buy. When your prospect is ready to become a first-time customer, it’s again up to your website to help you make it happen. At this stage, it’s about reducing friction in the purchasing process as much as possible to ensure that you don’t lose any interested prospects at the last minute because of a frustratingly complex purchasing process. If you have an e-commerce shop, reduce the number of clicks it takes to add items to a cart and to complete check-out. Ask for as little information as possible to complete the sale. When customers feel bogged down with long forms or a circuitous route to check-out, it’s possible you can lose them at the moment of truth.

Repeat and refer. Once you’ve won over a new customer, your website’s work isn’t over. There are opportunities to turn that one-time customer into a lifelong one—someone who refers friends and family along the way.
Your website should be ready to work for you and your customers at every stage of the customer journey. Make sure yours provides all the information and resources customers need.

Source: John Jantsch is a small-business marketing speaker, marketing consultant and bestselling author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine.