When it comes to business, there are basically three types of web sites to choose from. Each one is valuable in its own way and each one is worthless if not properly put to work. Let’s see which one you need…
A Sales Site
The purpose of a sales site is to sell. Not sell something later, not build a list, not show how great your company is. It’s designed to sell a product or products, on the spot, in the form of an actual transaction.
Sales sites employ a shopping cart at some point in the process. They ask the visitor to buy. Sales sites can be single page sales letters that cleverly pitch an individual product or they can be giant catalogs and categories of products. Amazon.com is a sales site.
The Lead Site
The purpose of the lead site is to simply generate leads. This type of site does not ask the visitor to buy anything; rather it usually offers something to the visitor in exchange for their personal information such as name, email address and maybe even a phone number.
The idea is that the free information offers value to the visitor who is usually seeking such information to solve a problem or advance an agenda.The lead site can be a site that is loaded with multiple pages or posts that are full of targeted information to the visitor. Another option is a simple landing page, also known as a squeeze page that gives a basic and enticing pitch to the visitor to opt in and receive some special information and offers no other content to compete.The basic concept of a squeeze page is to force the visitor to do one of two things: Give up their information to get a solution their problem or get off the page all together and move on.
The Credibility Site
The purpose of a credibility site is to demonstrate how credible your company is to the visitor – imagine that. It should not attempt to sell something, it typically is not very good at gathering leads. The credibility site is to bolster the quality of your companies image and stature in the mind of your visitor.
Many business owners struggle with which site they should choose so they attempt to incorporate all three purposes into one site. There are all sorts of problems that this creates but the most important problem is that it just doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work… don’t try it.
The simplest way to decide on which type of site you need first is to ask yourself: “What is the single goal of this site?” Choose either to sell, to gather leads, or to lend credibility.
Then call your designer and hold his or her feet to the fire to produce the best site to match your goal.
As a short caveat, there is one other type of site your company should consider but it’s not truly a site so I’ve not included it in the short 3 site list. Social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Most companies should make use of such web properties but for very different goals than the 3 listed above. There are also several hybrid models that attempt to meld two of the three site types into one but this author is unimpressed with the effectiveness of such dribble.
Most companies both offline and online will do well to have at least one of all three types of sites and spend the rest of their money driving targeted traffic to those sites.
Just remember, traffic is no different than a site itself. All traffic has purpose so make sure you drive the buyers to a sales site, the information seekers to your lead site, and your “almost closed but need a little nudge” people to your credibility site.
As always, I’d love your feedback. Please visit my blog, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know!