If you have not built or updated your website in the last year or two, it’s past time to take a long look at your web presence. As you evaluate whether you should update your site, you should also be evaluating how your site fits into your sales process. Your web site should be more than a brochure – it should be a lead-generating part of your sales process and an integrated part of your communications strategy.
Start by understanding why people are coming to your site. Is it to gather information about your company, to interact with you or other users or to actually buy and use your product? If they are seeking information, share how your product works, why it works, who is using it, the steps needed for success, the results your product is generating and, finally, the cost of your product. Companies aren’t always eager to share price points online, but customers are frustrated when there is no information; the easiest solution is to provide general parameters or total cost ranges instead of specifics (“all this for less than $100 a student,” for instance).
Even if your site is more focused on building credibility than on sales, it is still important to make sure the site complements your sales and CRM processes. And if you are using your site as a significant part of your sales, be sure to think beyond credit cards and PayPal. Many schools have purchasing cards they use now, but you still need to allow for online acceptance of purchase orders (for instance, fill out the order form and attach a scan of the purchase order, or send an e-mail with this confirmation number).
Finally, remember that your site does not exist in a vacuum – in addition to being an integrated part of your sales, it needs to work in concert with your company’s other online presences (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, etc.) The web site is the cornerstone of your online persona, but cannot be the only piece in today’s social media environment. Keeping your web site and online presence refreshed is the best opportunity you have to frame your brand promise, show how you interact with customers, highlight what people are saying about your product, and give potential customers a window into what it’s like to work with your company and your product.