How to Make Your Website Shine
Discover How to Make Your Website an Essential Marketing Resource
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
In Does Your TAS Have a Great Website? we talked about the importance of having a killer website to serve as your online home base for your marketing plan.
You can hire a professional web developer to do this for you. You can also do it yourself. Either way, here are some tips to guide the process. Follow these and you’ll be ahead of most websites in the answering service industry.
Seek a Clean, Fresh Design: First, pursue a website that looks fresh and clean. If this tip doesn’t provide enough clarity, then avoid the opposite: a dated, cluttered website. Don’t try to squeeze everything in a small area. Instead use white space to make the content more inviting and readable. Stick with one common font, with black type on a white background. Anything else is hard to read, as well as trendy, which will become dated fast. Also, keep a simple color palette that matches your logo.
Provide Search Engine Friendly Content: If you want people to find your site through organic search, make sure you have at least 300 words on every page. Google needs to see that many to properly index it. This means don’t put text in graphics, which search engines can’t read. It also means avoiding making visitors click “more” to read additional text. Be sure all the text on a page is readily available without an extra click.
Avoid Industry Jargon: Most answering service websites contain industry terms that most prospects won’t understand—unless some answering service has trained them. Don’t make a prospect speak your language to do business with you. Instead speak their language. This means explaining your service in terms they can understand from a basic business perspective. Keep things simple, and you’ll close more sales and do it faster.
Make It User Friendly: If someone ever asks you how to navigate your website or where to find something, this is a clue that you need to simplify its structure. Make it user friendly. Make it intuitive. Don’t hide links to needed information. Visitors should be able to find everything from your home page. The more clicks they need to make or the longer they need to search for something, the more likely they are to bounce.
Focus on Mobile First: A few years ago, website traffic reached a tipping point, where more visitors used mobile devices then computers. This means you need a mobile-first strategy when it comes to website design. Merely being mobile ready isn’t enough, though it’s a good start. View your website on a mobile device, and see how easy or hard it is to navigate. I’ve been to some websites on my smartphone and was so frustrated that I closed my browser and went to my computer. Few prospects, however, will bother to do that.
Proof Content and Test Links: I’m surprised at how often I see errors and typos on TAS websites. Website designers are weak when it comes to catching problems. You need to hold them accountable. Get as many people reviewing your website as possible. Even more valuable is asking people who don’t use answering services to give you feedback.
Prioritize Search Engine Optimization: I suspect you’ve heard of SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re like most business owners, you’re ignoring it or giving it scant attention. This is a mistake. The best website will struggle without SEO, while a less than ideal one will get more traffic if they do a good job at SEO.
SEO is part science and part art. You need someone who can master both. And just because they say they’re an expert, doesn’t mean they are. The proof is in results. As an SEO guru begins optimizing your site, you should see results within a month, two at the most. If your traffic isn’t increasing, you’ve hired the wrong person. How much should traffic increase under a good SEO program? The answer depends on how bad things are to start with, but the results must be measurable and should be significant.
Conclusion: Apply these tips when you update or overhaul your website. You’ll get increased traffic, fewer complaints, and hopefully more sales.
Next month we’ll look at the essential pages every TAS website should have.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.
Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking Acquisition: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.
Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to: email@example.com.
10 Commandments for the Inspirational Leader: The Foundation of Business Solutions
By Michele Wierzgac
There are many theories in leadership ranging from vision to self-awareness to service. The simplest way to develop your leadership skills is to have a work ethic mixed with a solid foundation of core values.
Inspirational leaders have commandments they work with and live by. These commandments, or guidelines, lay the critical foundation for the development of leadership and business solutions.
These Ten Commandments will work as a guidebook to inspire your staff, increase workplace morale, and lay the foundation for a successful company.
1. Be truthful
2. Be consistent
3. Be empathetic
4. Be generous
5. Be strong
6. Be articulate
7. Be approachable
8. Be a brand champion
9. Be a genuine spirit
10. Be credible
As an inspirational leader, do you have commandments that you work and live by? If not, use this list as a starting point.
Michele Wierzgac is a leadership expert, keynote speaker, and author of the forthcoming book, Ass Kicking Women: How They Leverage Their Informal Networks for Success. With her high energy presentations, Michele conveys sound leadership solutions and promotes audience engagement and on-your-feet participation.
Telephone Answering Service News
Join Answering Service Forum, a Free Online Meeting Place for the TAS Industry
Rob Hudelson unveiled the Answering Service Forum for everyone in the TAS industry. There you can find “everything you always wanted to know about the answering service industry but were afraid to ask,” said Hudelson. Join the Answering Service Forum today and start exchanging ideas with others in the industry.
“I have long thought there should be a meeting and exchange place for everyone involved in the TAS industry regardless of their ability to join associations or attend conventions,” said Hudelson. “So, I created the Answering Service Forum. It’s a free place for TAS owners, managers, and employees to share ideas and ask questions.”
ASTAA to Present 2019 Sales Symposium
The 2019 TAS Sales Symposium, hosted by ASTAA will be August 7–8 at the Hotel Indigo in Baltimore MD. “This will be a full two-day class on all aspects of sales specifically geared toward answering services,” said executive director Maryellen Pruitt. “As a bonus, the last half of day two will be a panel discussion from some of the best sales people in our industry.”
Presenters include: Stacey Brown Randall on “Generating Referrals Without Asking”; Farnoosh Brock on “Addressing Objections Effectively” and “Charging Appropriately”; Diane Helbig covering “Long Term Results from Real Time Engagement” and “Sales Management”; Michael Schmidtmann on “How to Be More Persuasive in Sales”; and Liz Dederer addressing “The Four Currencies of Conversation.”
Send us your TAS articles and news for consideration in the next issue.
Quotes for the Month
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” -Mark Twain
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
“A boiled egg is hard to beat.” -unknown