Very early in my career I learned that key phrase all good managers teach – “Never assume”. You know the drill. They write the phrase on a whiteboard or flip chart and divide the word “assume” into three words. The point is to never make assumptions about what your prospect knows, or what you think you know about your prospect. Actually, it’s very good advice. It’s amazing how often we all (including me) violate this when it comes to our web sites.
Here are the assumptions – costly blunders – that I see most frequently.
- Assume prospects know how to find your site. Don’t assume they remember your web address and will type it in correctly if they do remember it. Especially if your company name has an unusual spelling or uses hyphens. Make sure that you own all the various spellings and variations for your domain name and redirect those to your site. Of course, you also want to be sure that you optimize your site for all of your keywords.
- Assume prospects will give you lots of personal information. Don’t post a registration form asking for the name of their favorite pet or the color of the car they drive. All you want to do is begin to educate them on your products and services. You only need their name and email to do that. Most people will go elsewhere if you ask for a lot of unnecessary info.
- Assume they know where to click. Make it easy for them to take a next step. Don’t get too cute. Make your call-to-action button big and obvious. For good SEO make your link descriptive of what you want them to know, or where you want them to go. Don’t make them work too hard or you will lose them.
- Assume your visitors know what you sell. I see this way too often. Make it really clear on every page what your business is about. If your business name doesn’t make it clear then add something in your header making it clear. People won’t spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. They’ll just go back to the search results page.
- Assume they know how to get to your home page. Some, not all, will know to click on your logo. Either give them a home button on the top navigation bar or on your side bar navigation.
- Assume they know where they are on your site. Not everyone will start on your home page, especially depending on what they entered into the search bar. Give them a clear and meaningful tab on the navigation bar or use breadcrumb navigation. Breadcrumb navigation is where you see a single line right below the header showing a sequence of pages that led from the home page to the page you are on.
- Assume that they will return to you site. Even those that really like your site won’t always remember how to get back to it. They need a good reason to give you their email address. Don’t just ask for them to sign up for your newsletter, give them something of value for free as an incentive. How many times do people fill out the form on your contact us page? That’s what I thought – hardly ever. They need a compelling reason to allow you to stay in touch with them. Make sure you give it to them or you most likely won’t see them on your site again.
Don’t let these assumptions make it harder for your site visitors to learn about your company. Make it as easy as possible for them to begin the process of becoming a valued customer. As John Jantsch says, they need to know, like, and trust you before they are ready to buy.
Oh, and one more thing – go to the top of this page and subscribe to my blog. Please. If you really want to make my day, leave a comment below. Thanks.