As a business owner, your website is one of your most powerful marketing tools. It’s often the first impression prospective clients have of your business – so it’s critical that your website is up to par. A well-designed, professional website will not only give you instant credibility online, but it will also help you close sales and grow your business.
You’re the kind of person that knows the value of having an online presence and an online brand. You already understand how important this is and you are ready to take your business to the next level and build the website that you know your business deserves.
If you’re looking to create a website that sells for you, there are 3 key strategies you need to implement. These strategies are for you if you are looking to:
- Build a business that makes you money while you sleep
- Work with ideal clients that you love
- Create a website that you are pumped to shout about from the rooftops
- Rest easy knowing that your website showcases your amazing products and services and does the selling for you
Whether you are DIY’ing your site or working with a professional designer, there is a system you want to be following to make sure you have a site that will get you instant credibility online.
Why do we care about instant credibility? Cuz that equals $$$ in your pocket! People are much more likely to buy from you when you have a website that follows these strategies.
The good news is that you can implement 3 key strategies on your website that will position you as the AUTHORITY in your industry and get you INSTANT CREDIBILITY online so you can stop wasting time endlessly tweaking your website without seeing any results.
The 3 Key Strategies are Value Proposition, Social Proof, & Professional Brand Photography.
Key Strategy #1: Clear Value Proposition
Here are some more examples:
Some other examples here could be if you are a business coach, you want to tell people right away on your website WHO your services are for by telling them what your values are. So you could say something like “For heart-centered service based entrepreneurs who want to scale their business to 6 figures.”
This tells people that you work with business owners who value heart at the center of their business, who offer services as their business and who are ready for a very specific level of growth. And from that statement we can figure that you work with good, authentic and honest people who are running their business in the most authentic way possible, who have probably already seen some success since they are ready to grow and they offer services so they are not e-commerce based.
That is a super specific Value Proposition and if I am that kind of entrepreneur, I’m going to get on the bus with you and go along for the ride, because we’ve established that we have something in common, we have the same values, and we are going to to continue this journey and this new online friendship together.
**PRO TIP** Avoid wishy washy, non-specific statements like “Finally find your freedom,” “For women who are ready to rise,” and “Be your best self.” These may seem inspiring, but they don’t give your audience a clear idea of the value you are offering.
This is the impact of having your value proposition RIGHT UP FRONT in your website – show your audience right away who you are for and who you help. The reason this gives you instant credibility is because you are being honest and forthcoming. You are showing people who you are, what you care about and what you are offering right away so they don’t have to guess and make assumptions about you. This directness will make people trust your claims and that you are who you say you are.
Key Strategy #2: Social Proof, Testimonials & Client Results
It is crucial that you include Client Results on multiple pages of your website, especially the home page. It is MUCH MORE valuable when other people recommend you and your services than when you recommend yourself. Think about it, the last time you complimented someone on their shoes or clothes, they probably told you where they got it, right? And when they did this, your brain subconsciously filed away a tiny little cookie that makes you see the brand you complimented in a more favorable light. Next time you need to buy some shoes or clothes, you may just go to the place where your friend bought the items you complimented. This is marketing at its best! So we want to create the digital version of that same situation.
Without someone else to stand behind the words on your website, people might not really believe the claims you are making on your site. Anyone can write anything they want on their own website, but, if someone else is willing to associate themselves with you and your product, and especially if you can include an image of the face or a video, that adds some PROOF to your results and builds trust. And that’s what people are really looking for when they decide where to spend their money.
The 3 Types of Social Proof
Social Proof Type #1: Share Your Numbers
Sharing numbers to back up your claims can go a long way towards establishing you as an industry leader.
One common way to do this is to add a social shares counter that shows how many people have shared your content across social media platforms. This works especially well for blog posts and other shareable content and shows how many people have shared your posts on various social media platforms. Even just a few shares can give you instant credibility because when people share your content on their own social media accounts it means they are vouching for you. Those share numbers go a long way towards building trust on your website.
Another way to do this is to include stats on your website about your customers or user base. For example, list out how many customers are using your product or how many clients you have served. There are also ways to make these statistics sound as impressive as possible. For example, if you are a copywriter, instead of saying you’ve written 10 articles, you could say you’ve published over 10,000 words, that sounds much more impressive, right? And it’s the same statistic, just presented in a way that positions you as an expert and that’s what we are going for here.
Here is an example on Copywriting Coach Sarah Turner’s Website:
Social Proof Type #2: Testimonials
Testimonials can include written, video or screenshot* reviews of your product or service on your website that potential customers can read and learn about what a great experience it is to work with you.
*Note that the ethical way to post screenshots from client emails, slack messages, social media etc. is to FIRST ask for their consent to post and whether they are comfortable with their name/image being included or if they consent to post anonymously.
These testimonials work best when they have a name and photo attached. This helps people to create a connection with your product and envision themselves as your customer. The best testimonials are case studies that talk about the pain the customer was in before they used your product or service and then illuminates their transformation now that they have worked with you.
If your prospective customer is having the same problem that the person in your testimonial had, then the prospective customer will be SO MUCH more likely to buy seeing an example of how you already solved their problem.
My preferred way to approach this is to request a video testimonial from a client. Then, you can turn their video statement into a written testimonial alongside their photo and name (with their permission, of course.)
Here is an example of how a video testimonial from a client can look on your website:
**PRO TIP** Get into the habit of taking a screenshot whenever a client gives praise or shares results. When you take the screenshot, ask if it’s okay for you to share the screenshot with your audience and whether they would like to remain anonymous. Then, keep these screenshots in a folder and use them across your website and other marketing materials. Though it is not as professional looking in terms of design, they actually boost the authenticity of your site because people know these screenshots are harder to fake.
Here is an example of how this can look on your website:
This method really works! An article in the Consumerist said that nearly 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase. There is an entire field of psychology devoted to this idea that people are more likely to choose the product or service that lots of other people have already tried and reviewed positively.
Social Proof Type #3: Press
There are lots of different types of press you can add to your site. If you’ve ever been featured in a news publication, on television, as a guest blogger on a website, you can add these logos to your website in an “As seen on” section. Just by listing names of other companies, especially well-established ones, that you have worked with, then you can borrow from some of their brand credibility and help to bolster your own brand.
Here we have an example from Delyanne the Money Coach, a business that teaches people financial freedom. You can see the display logos of where they have been featured which gives the business instant credibility.
Another way to do this is to list out some of the clients you have worked with. Whether or not they are “big name” clients – it shows that other real people and businesses value your work.
Here is an example of this strategy:
Additionally, you can add any awards, accreditations or professional affiliations you may have. Depending on your field this could be a university degree, or it could be something as simple as an online certification. For example, if you are a Social Media Manager, you can take YouTube certification courses through YouTube, then they send you a special certification badge that you can add right to your website.
There are SO MANY creative ways to add social proof to your site that you really can go ahead and implement today on your website and get some instant social proof going right on your homepage.
Key Strategy #3: Professional Brand Photography
Investing in professional photos is one of the best decisions you can make for your website. High-quality images will make your site look more polished and credible, and they can also be used in other marketing materials like social media posts and email newsletters. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then professional photography is worth its weight in gold.
If you are a coach, personal brand, or service-based business then the best approach is to use photos of your smiling face looking right at the lens.. This way, when people land on your site, they can instantly make a connection with you and feel like they know, like and trust you. As they browse the rest of your site, they will be able to envision working with you.
Professional brand photos do not include any random, old photos from your Facebook page. You can see here I’ve pulled some selfies from my own page because I didn’t want to embarrass anyone else.
You’ll need to organize a professional brand and lifestyle shoot. What works best is photos of you enjoying the life that you are offering to your customers. Most offers boil down to more time, more freedom and more money, so chances are you are selling one of those things. So, you need to get photos of you enjoying your own time, freedom and money that you have created for yourself so that your ideal client sees you as an expert in those things.
As an example, look at the difference between this regular photo on the left and the professionally shot, intentionally curated photo on the right. Which one of those people would you trust more with your business?
For example, a business coach might use photos of them leisurely journaling in a coffee shop, or laughing while sitting in a park. It sounds cheesy, I know, but this is a CRUCIAL part of your brand. Even if you are in a more traditionally conservative field like accounting or real estate, these brand photos will make all the difference. Why is this necessary? Because you aren’t *really* selling the thing you sell. You are selling the dream, the transformation, the results. You are selling part or all of a lifestyle that your ideal customer truly desires.
Showing the lifestyle is how you tell your story. When you are writing about all the awesome benefits of your product or service and what it is like to work with you, you will want to show a photo that amplifies your message.
**PRO TIP** While it’s okay to use stock photos in some places on your site, for example pictures of food if you’re in health or wellness, it is really important that you don’t use ONLY stock photos. You won’t get that instant credibility with stock photos because your customers will have a hard time making an emotional connection and relating to you, and they may also wonder how legit your business really is if you only have stock photos that anyone can access.
When a customer lands on your site and sees that you’ve invested in yourself and your business by taking some amazing photos, then you will instantly position yourself as a legitimate expert in your field and that is what we are going for in order to create a website that’s gonna get you that instant credibility and translate into sales for you.
In addition to seeing that you’ve invested in yourself and your business by taking amazing brand photos, customers also want to see that you’ve invested in a professional brand and website to go along with those photos. Without a really nice looking site, all the rest of this social proof will go unnoticed because people will be SO focused on your website design.
Design is the FIRST thing people see when they come to your website. People want to see that you are legit enough to have invested in a professional website design. If they think your site was built with pixie dust and held together by duct tape, they will assume that’s how you’ll approach your service offerings to them as well. Do you want a haircut from someone with terrible hair?! Do you want a cavity filled by someone with no teeth?! Your website should be no different from any other professional service.
The future belongs to people who have professionally designed and branded websites that utilize these 3 strategies to sell FOR them. If you don’t have these things, then work with someone who can help you get there. The online space is only getting MORE competitive. Make sure you stand out from the crowd and get the website you need to build a long-term, sustainable business that makes you money.
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