So many clients have approached me with- “How much for a website?” Generally I’d follow up with something along the lines of “Well, how many pages do you need?” or “What functionalities do you want?” And the response was always the same. “Oh, just something simple, that looks nice.” But what does “simple” and “nice” do for you?
Why are companies satisfied with paying $2k- $10k for a website that just looks nice? Sure, a great design is necessary to promote your brand identity and ensure a smoother user experience. I’m not trying to discredit the value of the designers or developers, but if you’re going to invest in something, why not make sure it provides a return?
What about SEO, you say? It’s definitely an asset, it increases the chances of your business being found amongst the millions of web pages out there. But if a potential customer finds your site as a result of your extensive SEO then leaves in the first 15 seconds because there was nothing compelling enough to make them stay- what was the point of finding you the first place?
Business owners are being told over and over again that they need to be on the internet, have a web presence. But it’s no longer enough to simply put up a pretty page for the sake of claiming a piece of internet real estate. If a visitor cannot figure out what you do, why they should should be interested and what they should do about it in the first 15 seconds of reaching your page then your website has failed. Your online presence should be doing something for your business. Which brings me to the title point- you don’t need a website, you need an Online Business Extension .
An Online Business Extension (OBE) is a source that enables you to do more than just reach consumers on the internet, it converts them into customers. It’s not just a pretty layout with flashy images, it’s providing captivating content which encourages your visitors to take an action that either leads to a sale or a repeat visit and the possibility of a sale in the future.
“Ok, M.O.” you say, “How do I go about transforming my website into an OBE?”
It’s not as hard as you might think. I’ve divided the critical elements into what I like to call- The 4 Segments of C.
- Core Messaging This is the unique value proposition that your business offers. It should be stated in a clear, concise manner and easily grasped within the first 15 seconds of landing on the page.
- Credible Content Credible content refers to the indisputable references which back up your value proposition. This can range from client testimonials to proof of extensive industry knowledge. No, posting “We are # 1” does not qualify.
- Conversion A user action from which you can develop a lead. If the conversion doesn’t include the actual sale of your product or service, it may simply collect enough information about the visitor to develop a potentially profitable relationship.
- Customers This includes current and potential customers returning to your OBE – whether for useful information or purchase- on a repeat, if not regular basis. These are also people who are referring your OBE and hopefully your brand in general to others.
If your site contains all four of these items, congratulations- you have successfully created an Online Business Extension. If you’re site has only one or two of these items, you’re off to a good start, but you’ll need the rest in order to achieve a return on your website investment.