Why knowing your website problem is important when generating leads
Hello, it’s Scott Trevethan here from Scott Partners. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing again Bjarne Viken from Scaleup, to tackle on the main problems and errors that businesspeople experience in their website when converting leads. In this interview, we discover that the website is just a small fraction of a much bigger conversation. Knowing what’s the purpose of your website and setting up proper tracking, that is event and goal tracking which is relevant to your business goals, are the must things when having a website.
SCOTT: Welcome to the Small Business Heroes show, where we talk about everything to help your small business grow and prosper. I’m your host, Scott Trevethan, and today I’m welcoming back to the show Bjarne Viken.
Bjarne helps small-to-medium size business owners grow faster by reviewing and tweaking their websites to convert more sales and leads. In addition to working with companies directly, he’s taught students at General Assembly, Future Assembly, Victoria University, Entrepreneurs Social Club, and Uber.
Bjarne Viken, welcome to the Small Business Heroes show. Welcome back once again.
BJARNE: Thank you for having me.
SCOTT: It’s a delight to have you back again. Today I really wanted to tackle something that’s been worrying me a lot, because our small business heroes often tell me that they’ve got a great website and they’ve spent a lot of money doing the website – but what are the main problems that they’re having getting that website to convert leads? What are the main errors that they’re making? I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about that.
BJARNE: Okay. I think we have to go back into how the website was initially created and why it was created. Initially when someone is creating a website, a common mistake some business owners make is that they want the website to look pretty. And then they might go to a designer, and the designer might be really good at creating a website that looks pretty. But if you go to any university and see the type of education that a lot of designers go through, very little of it is in sales, if any course that they have is actually generating sales.
So when you’re going to a designer to create a website and you want it to look pretty, and they know how to make it look pretty, and you have finished the pretty design, the next question that a lot of business owners then ask themselves, “Okay, we have a pretty website, but I’m not getting any sales. Why am I not getting any sales? Where’s the disconnect?” Often, what they have failed to take into account is that the website is just a small little fraction of a much bigger conversation.
The website is kind of like the business card. It is you showing up to the party. But even if you’re just at the party, a lot more needs to be done before you’re actually converting the sale, before you’re actually getting anywhere.
So there, when we’re actually starting and just asking ourselves the question, “We need a website,” that’s when we are starting to ask ourselves the wrong questions. What you really should be asking is, first of all, do I need to have a website? A lot of business owners don’t need to have a website. They have been brainwashed into believing they need to have a website.
I can give plenty of alternatives and give them references to successful business owners that do not have a website, and at times had websites that looked like they were made almost before the internet was created and still manage to be very successful. Financial planners is an industry where a lot of people have crappy websites. Accountants – no offense.
SCOTT: Oh no, none taken.
BJARNE: Often have very basic websites, because their business is more based around building relationships. So that’s the first element, what’s the purpose of a website? Because website owners want to have something that they might find appealing, instead of what the market want to see, you end up having a website which, to start off with, is a little bit of a lost investment. So that needs to be tweaked.
Secondly, after the website has been put up, something a lot of business owners fail to do right is to set up proper tracking. Because it’s completely all right to start up and do mistakes.
SCOTT: What is tracking? I don’t understand tracking. Is that something that happens behind the scenes?
BJARNE: In a way. On a website, you can put in what you can define as a tracking code, where you put in a little bit of coding –
SCOTT: A cookie?
BJARNE: Not necessarily. A cookie is a bit of information that is left on your computer and gets deleted maybe after 30 days, depending on your cookie settings on the computer. A tracking software allows you to add a little bit of code to your website, so you’re able to track what visitors are doing on your website. The most basic important software to install is Google Analytics. That’s the most widely used analytics software in the world. It’s completely free to use unless you have more than 10 million hits on your website a month – and I think for most small business owners, they’re well below that number.
SCOTT: Yeah, we might just get under that.
BJARNE: Yeah. And in addition to putting in standard Google Analytics tracking, you also want to put in goal and event tracking which is relevant to your business goals. I have to almost repeat this again: you have to put in event and goal tracking which is relevant to your business goals.
SCOTT: Can you give us an example of a goal and an event tracking item?
BJARNE: Okay, let’s say that you have a website where the most important thing that you want visitors to do is to call, or you want them to sign up for a form. That could for instance be a form which clearly states that you want to join up, maybe for a free consultation. Now, if those are the most important options, then you should track how many people sign up, where there might be a loss.
Let’s say for instance there’s a sales funnel, an e-commerce site for instance, where we know that the vast majority of sales are lost in the checkout, so even after people have looked at the homepage. What you want to do in a situation like that is to install Enhanced Ecommerce tracking, which is only for those websites that have e-commerce, so that you’re able to see a detailed breakdown on how many visitors are going through the checkout and where you’re losing most of them.
SCOTT: Okay. Even if people have Google Analytics on their site, they may not have these goal and event tracking things switched on?
SCOTT: So you’ve done only half the job.
BJARNE: I think I heard stats around 90% of Google Analytics setups are done “wrong.” But I think when you hear those statistics, you have to keep in mind that a lot of the setups might have been done right technically, but they haven’t been done right for the business owner. I think part of the reason why that happens is because first, the business owner has a conversation with someone who’s an account manager. That account manager then translates what needs to be done to a project manager, who then translates what the account manager said to a techie who does the job. And somewhere along that line of conversation, a lot of the actual intention is lost.
SCOTT: I’m just going to say, this sort of gets back to return on investment, doesn’t it? It’s a bugbear, I think, of the Small Business Heroes community, where you just pay a lot of money to an IT provider of some description, whether it’s an SEO or a web designer, without them really paying attention to your return on investment. But what you’re talking about here in tracking is measuring that return on investment and finding out exactly what is going right and what’s going wrong so that you can tweak it.
BJARNE: Yeah. I have absolutely no problems with people having done mistakes on their website. That’s completely fine, because how do you really know what is the right answer? Particularly if you have a website and a business which is unique. You are working in it day in and day out, and you might find things that surprise you. I mean, I often get surprised when I might suggest something to someone, and I say to them very clearly, “I want you to test this.” You can end up with a completely different result. But to me, based on my experience, this makes the most sense.
And then once you have that mindset, you’re able to go I think a lot more faster because you’re making data-driven decisions. And I think this can be a hard thing for a lot of small business owners to realize: to put yourself out of the business. Let’s just look at this objectively. Might this be a good idea to test? Is this something that none of the competitors are using or thinking about, which I could use to my advantage?
SCOTT: I was reading the other day in a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, one of the quotes from there was that there’s no such thing as a failed experiment unless that experiment actually failed to prove or disprove a hypothesis. And I think that’s what we’re talking about here; you don’t know whether something’s going to work. To know that something doesn’t work is just as valuable as to know that it does work, because that gives you the valuable information.
BJARNE: Yeah. When you are in the process of having a website created and you’re thinking about what are the next steps, what I suggest is just put up that tracking and just be mindful that when you’re driving traffic to your site and you’re spending money on it, try to get the biggest return possible by putting in the tracking – and maybe also do some A/B testing. And by that I mean you can test different variations of your website, one versus the other. You can test the ads that you’re using to drive traffic to your website. You might even change elements of the entire sales funnel so that you’re able to learn and do something faster.
SCOTT: We know that we need to have a stated purpose and an understanding of the purpose of the website; we know that we need to track what’s happening. What other mistakes are small business owners making on their websites?
BJARNE: Now where do I begin? The biggest problem that I see on most websites – I usually don’t need to go further than the top of the homepage, like maybe 5% of the entire website to see what’s wrong. It’s that it’s very unclear what is the first thing that you want me to do. Often when I’m in conversation with business owners and I’m having a look at the website, the first question I ask them is, “I’ve just come to your website. What do you want me to do?”
And often, what happens at least half of the time, they will give me a different answer in conversation than the impression that I see on the page. So they might say “I want you to call me” or “I want you to sign up for a newsletter” or whatever, and I need to scroll down to get that information. I may even have to go to another page. Now, in the business owner’s mindset, it might be that “Oh well, it’s not that important. I’m sure they’ll find it.”
Well, in reality what happens is that someone will come to your webpage. What they will see is the top of your homepage, and whether or not they like it or not, that is what determines whether or not they will scroll down further. If they like it, they will scroll; if they don’t like it, they will leave. You ideally want someone who doesn’t know anything about the company to immediately understand what your business is within five seconds. If you’re not getting them within five seconds, they’re likely to leave.
SCOTT: There’s a great site that I was put onto – I think it’s UserTesting. I’ll put the link down below. It was a free service, I think, initially at least, and the company got completely random strangers – usually in the U.S. – to give you a quick five-minute review on your website, which gave you a really good reality check as to whether something was working or not.
BJARNE: That’s a really valid point.
SCOTT: So no clear call to action, that’s a big mistake that people are making as well.
BJARNE: That’s probably the most important. As well, I’ll dive into a few others. Once you have defined the most important thing you want visitors to do, what arguments are you giving to people for why they should make that action? Are you clearly saying to them, “I want you to book into my consultation because I will deliver A, B, C, D, E, F, G”? They need to know if I am for instance spending 30 minutes of my time chatting with Scott about accounting, what will you give me in that amount of time that other people, other accountants will not give me within that time? Because that is actually an investment.
I find it interesting that time, even though we all know that it’s valuable, isn’t treated as the asset that it truly is. When you’re having a webpage and you say, “Oh, I’m just giving away a free consultation,” it’s not free. You’re giving away your time, and they are giving away their time – treat it as something valuable. So that’s the second one.
The third one that I frequently see is lack of evidence. Let me be a bit more specific on that since we didn’t cover it in the previous webinars. By lack of evidence, I mean testimonials. That might seem obvious, but there are also other things, like have you been endorsed by anyone? Have you been featured on any media? Are you able to provide any references to associations that you’re a member of? Things that make people immediately go “Oh yeah, this person must be credible.” Because that’s the first stage.
And then try to imagine yourself, if someone might have absolutely no knowledge of you and have this information presented, what’s the next thing that you want them to do? Which brings us back to the call to action.
Now, after they click the call to action, what will I need to do to back up what I’ve already put on my website? This might get us thinking about what happens afterwards? Maybe they have a chat with you in person.
What I suggest to a lot of business owners is, is the impression that you’re giving of yourself on your website identical to who you really are? Because if you’re trying to come across as a massive company – a lot of consultants do this, and it always makes me mad – and in real life you’re just a consultant working from home, and you just needed to have that presence to come across as being a larger entity, could that create a disconnect, which could reduce your sales? Because ideally you want to create a clear, consistent argument which is backed up by proof and easy to back up.
SCOTT: Do you recommend the use of something like a copywriter to make sure that that content is put in a style, in a format that resonates with the intended audience?
BJARNE: It can be a good idea to use a copywriter because you will then have the opportunity to get an external perspective on what you’re thinking yourself, and copywriters can also have the ability to consider where something is located on a page, how it’s built there and there, and so on, so that it’s more effective.
The only slight reservation that I would make to that is often when you’re hiring people that are specialists and experts in their field, you can often get yourself into a position where you’re listening too much to that person. In reality, you want a website and a copy that is able to bring forth what you were thinking, ideally in a way that is better thought than what you were thinking, and better presented than the way you would’ve presented it yourself.
SCOTT: That’s brilliant. Bjarne, thank you so much for your time, giving up your valuable time – which as we know, has a very big value on it – to talk to our Small Business Heroes on the Small Business show. You are our resident expert on website optimization, all things website-y. Your contact details, as we’ve already discussed in previous interviews, will be listed below here. It’s ScaleUp.com.au. You can also find Bjarne on LinkedIn. I’ll put his LinkedIn profile as well, or a link to that as well.
So thank you once again, Bjarne, for coming on the show. My name’s Scott Trevethan; this is the Small Business Heroes show. You can find us on our Facebook group, Small Business Heroes. You can also find us on the Scott Partners website, which is www.ScottPartners.com.au. If you’re still on Facebook, you can also like our page, which is just Scott Partners.
Thanks very much for listening to the Small Business Heroes show. It’s been a pleasure talking to you once again, Bjarne. Thank you so much.