I’ve spoken a lot before about the purpose of a website and its main purpose, especially for the service industry, can be hard to pin down. We normally fall into the trap of just showcasing our services and hoping for the best.
Let’s start off by explaining a really well-executed purpose on a website. Imagine that you’re selling trainers online. The purpose is quite obvious; to sell trainers quickly through your website. You want users to visit your site, find the shoes they like, select a size, and order it. Simple.
Not everyone is always going to be in a position to complete that set purpose. For example, they could be just looking around at the moment or waiting for payday. They might be unsure if those trainers will look right with their outfit. There will be thousands of reasons why people don’t buy there and then, and that’s absolutely fine.
This is where a sub-purpose of a website comes in and that’s normally around data collection. We want to grab users’ details and give them something of value. Perhaps a coupon to get money off their trainers or some form of PDF that’s going to help them, such as ‘How to keep your trainers looking white all year round’. The reason we give coupons away is so that we can build our database. We can then sell to that database whenever we have a new product or service to offer. If you have a big database, the world is your oyster!
Now in the service industry, it’s highly likely that users aren’t going to just land on our site and want to give us money. They won’t just contact us to say “I want your service, let’s get started!”. Sadly, the world just doesn’t work like that.
So, what purpose can a service industry website have? Whatever purpose we choose, we need to ensure it’s fully trackable. This will ensure that we know if it’s a success or not.
The best way to do this is by using KPI’s, also known as Key Performance Indicators, which can be properly tracked. You may have contact forms but these aren’t great to use as KPI’s as they don’t give an accurate depiction of your conversion rate. This is because contact forms may be used by tyre kickers and people who have no real interest in buying from you. Even worse, you might have people filling them in who are looking for jobs, or are recruitment companies trying to get you to sign up to their service. Just looking at the number of contacts coming in from a contact form is not a valid purpose for a site, as it’s hard to track real, tangible leads.
An idea that we see working for clients a lot is to use an appointment booking software. The benefit of this is that you can put it directly into the site with a simple embed. The user can then select the date and time that they want to meet you, submitting their name, email, and phone number. What’s really great is that all of a sudden this is fully trackable! We know that something is converting but we also know the identity (and have some real data) of the prospects. We know that there won’t be any tyre kickers booking appointments, so there will only be strong leads.
The reason this works so well is that because it’s an appointment, they’re basically saying “Yes, I’m interested in this”. It forces the user to really think if they want an appointment. This is absolutely essential in getting more conversions of a high quality.
Now as you’re reading this, you’re going to be thinking of logistics and coming up with a list of excuses as to why this won’t work. I bet they’re along the lines of:
- I don’t know what my diary is going to look like.
- What if they pick a date and the time that I can’t do?
- What if they’re really far away?
- I have lots of sales staff so this won’t work for me.
Firstly, appointment booking softwares can link with all of your electronic diaries.
Secondly, that’s why you collect a phone number for them. If you do have to ring them to change the meeting, it’s not a big deal. It still forces the user to fully commit, which is always the best option.
A great example of this is working with hairdressers. Potential customers can book a hair appointment to come straight into you. Likewise, some accountants give the option of a free review where a prospect can book straight in.
For my business, being a design agency we use this exact option and it’s called our Project Planner. This is where people can fill in their details, note down their budget, and book in a time to speak to us. We actively use this system and it stops a lot of tyre kickers, making the whole process a lot smoother.
Like I said at the start of this, once you’ve got a set purpose, it’s actually trackable. Honestly guys, give it a try. It will transform your website from a brochure to something of value, which will show you actual results.
There are loads of calendar software options out there but a few to check out are: