Fast Wins for Event Pros' Websites
As more and more people do their browsing virtually, it's essential that you aren't letting those leads slip through the cracks. A few simple changes on your website can make all the difference. Set yourself up for major success and quickly boost your business by taking just a tiny bit of time to tweak your website today. Learn actionable, easy steps you can take today to earn more clients (and revenue!) ASAP.
Webinar Transcript - Karen Gordon, SVP of Goodshuffle Pro
Harley: I would like to introduce you to our speaker, Karen Gordon. Karen has spent her career growing event and technology companies through consultative sales and strategic growth strategies. She's developed client and brand experiences for companies such as Living Social and Surprise Rides, as seen on Shark Tank. Now as the VP of Growth at Goodshuffle Pro, she combines her love of both events and technology to drive the company's growth in revolutionizing the event rental design and production industries with modern technology. Karen was the NACE National business development committee chair for 2019 and 2020, and speaks nationally about events, event tech, and business strategy. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce Karen and pass the presentation on to you.
Karen: Thank you, Harley, I appreciate that. Thanks everyone for joining! As Harley mentioned, my name is Karen Gordon, I'm the VP of Growth at Goodshuffle Pro. For those who are not familiar, Goodshuffle Pro is software for event companies, specifically event companies with inventory, so if you have any questions about that I'd be happy to chat with you later. You can always email me directly, I'm [email protected] But, that's not what we're here to talk about today. Today we're talking about websites, so I'm going to go ahead and start sharing some knowledge on general website tips today.
There's so much to talk about when it comes to websites. Obviously, everyone who has very different businesses and different business needs will have different websites. For some of you, you might work for larger organizations, and some of you may work for yourselves. It's very different per person and there's so much that you could talk about with websites. We can talk about SEO, we've done many presentations specifically just about the user experience, but there’s one thing that I hear a lot. We work with a lot of small and mid-sized businesses, and one thing I hear a lot is just people don't really have a lot of time to dive into having the perfect website. It can be extremely overwhelming to think about all the things that you can do, all the possibilities when it comes to your website, so today's presentation is really designed to make things fast and actionable. We’re giving you actionable tips, things that you can do as soon as we're done with our webinar. You can log off and make these changes and see some of the immediate results from a better website, so we'll start by talking about some basic things.
I get asked all the time about what kind of website platform event pros should use and things like that. We'll talk about SEO, obviously a huge buzzword, and a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of people feel overwhelmed by the fact that perfecting your SEO can take a lot, but there are some fast wins that you can achieve quickly. We'll close out then with talking about some fast wins on the sales side, some sales language you can use, some ways that you can tweak your website to be better for sales. Then I will leave plenty of time at the end for a Q&A. Let's talk about the fast wins on the basics.
One thing I get asked about a lot is, in terms of website platforms, what platforms do you recommend? Well, there are a lot out there. One thing that I think is really important to know is that there are easy website platforms for a reason. I get people who tell me all the time, “Look, I'm not a technologist, I'm not tech savvy.” People love to say they’re not techy, but there's a reason that companies like Squarespace, which you probably hear advertised on every podcast you listen to if you're a podcast listener, exist. The reason that they're so successful is that they have been built specifically for folks who are not techy. They have been built to make it easy.
One of the things I encourage people to do is, if you have your own business, instead of completely outsourcing your website to some other company that's going to charge you like crazy for every single change that you make, consider using one of these very easy-to-use platforms. They really are designed to be easy. They have tutorials. There's a million things you can Google on the internet, and then when you need help, you can always outsource it, but this way you're in control of your website. Some of the most popular ones that we see are Squarespace and WordPress. One thing to know about the difference here is WordPress is something I would say is slightly less user-friendly than Squarespace.
If you guys have friends who are more techy, you'll often hear them say that you should use WordPress and here's why. WordPress is one of those platforms where you can add different things. There's so many plugins you can use, and a lot of folks who fancy themselves to be pretty good with technology really like that. It's just like people who like tinkering with cars. I myself have not owned a car in many, many years, so I would be very overwhelmed and intimidated by that. People who like to tinker are going to like WordPress because it does allow lots of options. If you don't want to deal with that, if you don't want to have to have a plugin for security or have these different plugins that you have to manage, something like Squarespace is going to be a lot more plug and play, a lot more user friendly.
Now you'll notice here in my negatives, Wix is one that is very user friendly, like Squarespace. We have an integration called the Website Wishlist that comes as part of something you might use with our software, Goodshuffle Pro, and when we built that integration, we realized something about Wix, which is: you can only use integrations with Wix from their Wix marketplace. It's an interesting business model, good for them, right, that they get, I think, probably, a kickback for any of the plugins you use there, but it is limiting. What it means is that if you have an integration like ours, where all you have to typically do is copy and paste a little snippet of code on your page and you get this awesome integration, you don't have that option with a Wix page. So if you're debating to use Wix, my personal recommendation would be to go with something like a Squarespace because again, they’re very user-friendly, but they have a lot more open options for you to, later down the line, add in an integration. It might not be something you're thinking of now, but just keep in mind that you don't want to get something where you then get stuck in the future.
If you have something you end up deciding you want to add to your website— you'll also notice that I have “Custom” here— is something I'd be careful of. What I mean by this is, just coming back to this notion of “you should be able to manage your own website,” there are all these platforms built to make it easy. There shouldn't be a reason that you work with a developer who says, “Well, I custom build everything, and I've built my own CMS, and I have it so that I'm going to do everything.” I just last week got off a call with someone who is a Goodshuffle Pro software user, who was asking about their website. They were asking about our integration, and I said, “Well look, let me talk to whoever manages your website, let me talk to your developer,” and they said they use this thing I've never heard of before. The long and the short of it is our user's outsourced developer has custom built something that they manage all their websites on, and they've purposely made it so that their user in this case, our client Kristy, could only change so much on her end. They've purposely hidden behind closed doors, where you'd put in any custom code, where you'd change anything, where you'd tweak anything, and then surprise, surprise, it was $199 an hour for them to change anything you wanted them to change. So, I would encourage you to think about this as, “Is this something that really needs to be totally custom, or is this something that should be pretty plug and play, pretty easy for me to change?”
This brings me to my point about developers. Developers, I love them, we have many on our staff, and I have many friends who are in web development. I think it's a great thing for someone to consider outsourcing. I personally am not an amazing web designer, I'm not a coder, and I think that it's really great to work with folks who know everything about design, who know everything about user experience. If you're trying to make something that's functional on your website and you just don't know how, you should work with a developer, that's what they're there for. They're wonderful for that, however, if they are forcing you into a situation where you can't manage the platform yourself, that's where I might say I find that a little bit fishy, because most developers who are friends of mine will tell me that they got into this business because they love technology, they love design, they love working with the business and saying, “Look, this is going to be the best experience for your users, this is going to be the most beautiful page.” They didn't get in this business to try and make 25 little edits in the middle of the night because you want to change the look of something or tweak something. That shouldn't be the way that they're making their money, so if you're getting into a contract or you feel like you’re going to have to reach out to this person for every basic change, I'd say probably walk away, find a different developer, find someone who's eager to put the keys to the car in your hands, who's eager to say to you, “Yeah, I'm going to help you get this bill,” or “I'm going to help you design this,” and then “I'm going to show you how you can go in and make those basic changes.” Because, you have something that happens like this past year with COVID-19, where people were putting out all of these alerts of “Hey, this is our new procedure,” or things like that— you do not want to then have someone who's backlogged making all those changes for their clients. You want to be emboldened enough to say go in and at least make a basic change like that on your website, no matter how techy you may or may not be.
Some other basics to consider are some hard no's for me today, so hopefully these are things that many of you are aware of, but I want to make sure that everyone knows these are the things to avoid. First off, if you have comic sans anywhere on your website, please just get rid of it. I think a lot of platforms are getting rid of the option, which makes me very happy, but any hard-to-read fonts as well. I do see this quite often in the events industry— a lot of folks think of it like an invitation. If you're in the wedding planning business, you may have advised a bride, a groom, someone, that if you make a very fancy font, it shows that you're having a very fancy event. That may be true of wedding invitations, but it is not so much true of your website. You can showcase that you are elegant without having a hard-to-read font. It is actually an extremely frustrating experience and it will increase your bounce rate, of folks who just get frustrated trying to read what your website actually says.
Another thing is music, and again, I see this a lot more in our industry, in the events industry, because a lot of folks who are DJs want to show off their wonderful DJing. They want you to listen to their music or a band that's great, but having an autoplay is also a negative experience for a client. Think about those times when you are scrolling on your phone and you have your spouse next to you in bed and they're asleep— that might not be a great time to have a blast of music. Or, perhaps you're in a meeting, at work and you want to secretly under the table go ahead and start planning your sister's bridal shower. You don't want that wedding website to then bust you to all your colleagues. That's what you're doing, so just keep in mind that, depending on the situation. We all look at our phones, we're all surfing for things in different places, and we may not want to have that blast of music. You should have it be an option.
One of the worst things you can do is have it so that it's only desktop friendly. Most people are on their phones when they are scrolling, and people tell me that they instinctively know this, and yet I will look at their website on a mobile device and it is really frustrating they don't have a mobile friendly version. Now, this is another example of what you manage versus what the developer manages. First off, a lot of sites have templates that are mobile friendly, so when you use something like Squarespace, most of those templates are smart enough to change to auto adjust for a smaller device. Just make sure when you're choosing a platform and choosing templates that it says that somewhere. It should advertise to you, “Comes with mobile friendly templates.” If you're having any trouble with that with your current website, that's the kind of thing that sure, you can loop in a developer, but again I would try and make sure that you understand how you can maintain that moving forward. It shouldn't be something that you need to pay an arm and a leg for somebody else to do because again, particularly if you're using one of these platforms, it's pretty much baked into the system.
Another thing that's a big, big killer that we see are dead links. Take the time over your lunch break. It's another real fast win that makes a huge difference, to go in and remove anything that's a dead link. It's obviously very frustrating to go ahead and click on something and have it not go anywhere, but it is also really bad for your SEO.
So, with that, moving right along here to SEO. For anyone who doesn't know, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s optimizing your website so that Google picks it up, that Google crawls it, so that the minute someone's looking for catering in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and if you’re a caterer in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you are the first response, you're the first answer there from Google. Obviously, what do we all do? We click those first, second, third, responses. We don't go for the fourth page of results. There are things that you can do to optimize your website.
I will say this is another one where I do sometimes see people get a little bit caught into this idea that it's one click, done. SEO is something that is a gradual process, that you will always have to do different things for if you really, really want to be that top result. There are some large organizations where they have massive teams working on their SEO. They do every single thing they possibly can to optimize every single nook and cranny of their website, but all that said, like I said, there's some things that can be baked in if you're using the right platforms and the right technology, and there are some fast wins you can do to make sure that you're actually making an impact. Don't be intimidated by the fact that there's so much that has to do with SEO. There is so much you can do on a very basic level that's still going to make a difference.
One of those things, and this is one I probably see missing the most, which is why I put it first up, is location. Location, location, location. Most folks on this call, I would venture to guess, being in the events industry, are going to have clients very much based on where you are located. If you have a venue, you have folks who are looking for that venue because they live there, or they want to get married there, or they want to have their event there. If you are a caterer, if you are an event rental company, or a planner even, if you're someone who travels, there's probably a central area where you're getting your business. I see it all the time that people aren't putting that location on their website, or they're not putting it in the right places if they are. This is one of the main things that people are searching for when they are searching for a vendor. Make sure that you are not missing this huge, huge component on your website. You want to put it in a lot of places. You also want to make sure that you include nicknames. People in the Dallas Fort Worth area, add DFW. I'm located in the DC area and people often refer to this area as the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia). Make sure that you are putting those words on your website because that is going to be a huge part of the results.
Let's also talk about keywords. Obviously location is a keyword, it's something people are searching for, but there are a couple other things that you should do as an audit. For those of you who are note takers, if you're taking notes, this is one I would definitely take notes on. There's going to be a recording of this as well, but this is one that I would be very careful about because keywords are key. One of the things that you should check is your Google Search Console. This is actually a free tool that you already have, and you can go in there and look at your pages on your website that are currently getting traffic and converting, and use this as a way to guide what is winning in terms of your keywords. One of the things that people fall into the trap of a bit with SEO is they say, “Gosh, I'm showing as the top page for whatever search term,” and that’s great, but if people are going to that page and then they're bouncing off, you're running into a problem here. Is that search term really what they want to get? Are they really getting what they want if they're looking for a planner and you're more of a caterer? You don't want them to be reading that page because it's not going to make them very happy. When they land there, they're not going to convert, and at the end of the day you can have whatever vanity metrics( as we call them) you want. Meaning, you can say this page is the number one in search results and people love it (look at all this traffic!), but if they're not converting, if they're not submitting a form, if they're not working with you... In the end, there's no dollar amount awarded to the most trafficked page. It is all about getting them to take that final step.
You should also look at your Google Keyword Planner. Another free tool! This is going to help you see what are the keywords people are actually searching for. Oftentimes people start on this guessing game, and several years ago that was pretty common. A lot of us are guessing what the terms people are going to search for are, and you still may have some of that. You can pretty well guess what the popular terms are that people are landing on my page for, but you use a tool like Google Keyword Planner and you might be really surprised that there's some that you're just not thinking of, some that you're missing. We sometimes are surprised that, for our software, people use the word “management” a lot. We would think “inventory software,” “sales software,” “event rentals,” “event decor…” Management being in there was one that we kept seeing over and over. They're trying to manage their business, it makes sense, but we were missing it at first. I definitely encourage you to not just play the guessing game— go for the actual data that Google is giving you for free.
You also want to remove any confusing language. I've mentioned this on several different occasions, but— this is another event industry thing— we fall into where people have fun titles like the CEO of Fun, or whatever else it may be. That's great, I always encourage creativity, however, keep in mind, depending on what you're using these sort of fun titles for, it can actually knock you on the keyword front. For example, I used to know someone who is an event planner. He did planning and production and he called himself a conductor. To him, he was conducting these events. Well, if I'm searching for a conductor, I'm searching for something having to do with trains, or maybe an orchestra, but I am not looking for somebody who's going to produce a festival for me. So, you need to be careful that whatever creative, fun stuff you're putting on your website, stop and make sure that you're asking yourself, Is this really contributing to what I'm trying to get?”, which is more traffic to my website and more conversions.
Then with that, you've got to balance it with sales language, and so this is just forever going to be one of our challenges, right, is that we want to get all these keywords on our site, we want to use our Keyword Planner, and say, “Great, everyone says management, everyone says this, everyone's telling me that they want to have these three keywords,” but if I go and I stuff that all on my page, it might drive a lot of traffic there, but you'll recall my very first point, which is what pages are not just getting traffic but also converting. So, if you get to a page and it's not really selling, then you're losing the whole point. So it is a mix of an art and a science to make sure that you are mixing together enough keywords to get the results to be optimized in the search results, but also making sure that you are using the language that you personally know sells your clients on actually going through and converting and giving you their business.
Some other things to consider when it comes to SEO: one is combining verticals. We're seeing a trend, I would say particularly in the last maybe three or so years, where more event companies are trying to take on more services, more responsibility. For example, we've known some event rental companies who have acquired a venue, or venues that have started to rent out their furniture, their inventory. We've seen planners who now say, “Look, I've got a whole inventory of items and now I'm going to go ahead and rent the things I'm not using on the weekend as a side gig.” We're seeing a lot of people who've noticed that people planning an event really would like to have multiple services from one place, so they’ve combined. Whether it's two businesses combining, or they've bought another business.
One thing I do see, though, is sometimes they get stuck in thinking, “Well, each business needs to have its own website.” It's a little bit different if you're booking moon bounces for your kid’s birthday party than if you're booking beautiful custom decor for a wedding— totally true, these are different experiences. What I would encourage anyone to think about, though, is you are missing out on an opportunity to really build domain authority by having everything live under one roof. Having all of those pages very carefully keyword defined, these are things that are going to really help build your domain authority. If you have these one-off sites for each of those different services or different verticals from your company, you're really missing out on a great opportunity.
Keep in mind if you have a venue and planning and catering, you can have that be the first thing that people choose when they come to your website. They can see, “Are you looking for this? Are you looking for this?” and you can have them map out to where they belong. That is something, again, that if you wanted to look into some UX help, you could have a UX designer really help you design the best experience for that, but by having them under one roof, you're really giving yourself an opportunity to boost up your authority of your page.
Another thing to keep in mind is that content is still king. You probably have heard this before, and one thing I hear from folks is, “I just don't have time to blog every week, it's just too much.” Totally fine, it doesn't mean that you can't do it from time to time. One thing that I did think is really great, is that I've heard from a lot of people that have felt lots of frustrations and have had more downtime recently, that they said, “Well, I'm going to use it the best I can, and I've written blog posts or written blog posts for friends, or ask them to write for me,” and it's such a powerful thing. It makes a difference, and if you want to get the most bang for your buck out of the few blog posts you're writing, don't forget that keyword, don't forget using your Google Search Console, because that is where you can make sure you’re not just writing something willy-nilly. I'm really making sure that I'm doing something keyword-focused, that's actually going to make a big difference, even if I'm not vlogging every week. With that, it's not just about getting your content out there— it's about getting backlinks.
You actually want to link both ways, you want to have your site lead to other things. You don't want to be this “black hole” that people get stuck in on the internet. You want it to link to other things that are going to also be relevant. You also really want people to link back to your site. This is going to be that backlink, juice that's going to really, really help with that domain authority. Now, there are some people who will go around and they'll just put the link of their website everywhere. They’ll go on a Quora post or go on Discuss or something, and just go and post it everywhere. That can maybe make a tiny difference, but at the end of the day, what you really want is for it to come to other websites that also have authority. For example, our company was written up in the Washington Business Journal, which is a site with a ton of authority, a very well-known site. Tons and tons of people going there every day. That really made a big boost, just having our site linked from such a high domain authority site.
This is where you should think about, “What are my opportunities to get a backlink?” Sometimes people do photoshoots and things like that so they can get a backlink. If you ever would like to write a blog post for Goodshuffle, we do guest blog posts all the time, and our blog is great. It's got traffic from other event professionals, we are constantly circulating that, so if you ever would like to write a guest post for us, by all means. You can email me directly, I'm [email protected]. It's a wonderful way for you to get that easy backlink, to say, “Look, I'm going to write a couple blog posts for my blog today, and I'm also going to write one for Goodshuffle.” I know NACE has always got some good content, you'll see we write stuff for NACE, and that's another wonderful way to get your domain authority up there. That's a great way to get that SEO.
Some other important things to think about with SEO are your titles, your headers, and your slugs. This was probably the number one thing the last time I talked about websites. We did a User Summit for our software users, and this was probably the number one thing that I heard afterwards. This feedback was, “I didn't realize this, I'm really glad you went over this.” You can see here, this is an example from a WordPress site. Any of those sites, of those platforms that I mentioned, it's not just about the fact that they make it easy to edit something the way you would edit a Word document. They also build in a lot of these tools I mentioned, things like baked-in SEO. But, you have to make sure that you understand how they work and use them appropriately.
One we've seen people gloss over before is headings. It is extremely important for how Google crawls your sites to make sure that your title tags and your headers are keyword driven and based on Google Search Console. You'll see when you're on a platform like this, something that looks somewhat like this, it'll say, “Are you putting in a heading? Heading one, heading two, these different sizes.” If you simply bold the header, it'll look the same to you. It's sort of like how we were taught to write a paper in elementary school, right, you want to bold the header so I can read the title, read the subtitle, and then read your essay. Google doesn't see it the same. Google doesn't care if it's bold or not. Google needs some specific code around what's a header. What's great about those types of platforms is they won't make you learn the code, but what you need to do is make sure you select from the drop down whether this is an h1 title tag or a header, which is like your sub header, and that's where you're going to want to put those keyword focused terms. If you do that, you can even see here it'll usually show you that it's putting in some code on the back end you don't have to worry about. But, if you just go and put it in bold, it'll look the same to you, Google's going to write over it. They're not going to be able to explore that.
You also want to make sure that you're thinking about those keywords we mentioned in your slug, meaning your unique URL. For example if you go to https://pro.goodshuffle.com/features/inventory-management/, that is where you're going to find our feature of inventory management. I'll admit, when I was first learning about these things, I thought, “Oh, well of course you want that there, because it makes it clear where you are to the person.” Chances are your clients are never paying attention to the URL, right, you're not looking up there and looking at that. It's not for you. It's for Google, it's for the bots. That's how they understand what they're looking at, so you should, on any of the platforms I've been mentioning, have the ability to change those things. If you're using a plugin or an integration, make sure you ask, “Is it going to have the right keywords in these pages?” because again, some of the things like WordPress, they have these plugins that can change that type of thing for you. Make sure it's doing it the right way, the way you want it.
Let's talk a little bit about fast wins in terms of closing sales. I did already mention that the uphill battle we always go through here at Goodshuffle is wanting to make sure that we get the keywords, wanting to make sure that we get things set so that we get the best results in Google. But, we also want to not just write for bots. I don't want to just write for robots. I want to write for the humans that are coming and trafficking our site, I want to make sure that I'm talking to them the way I would talk to them normally if I was talking to them about our program.
So, one of the most important parts of that is ensuring that you have your unique value proposition. This dog has nothing to do with anything except for it's just really cute, but when I talk about unique value proposition, I actually did do a webinar about finding and knowing your unique value proposition for NACE, so any NACE members can go on the site and log in, and I believe you can find my recording there if you're not familiar with what this term means. Let's break it apart real quick. It's something that is unique, that is your value proposition. So this cannot mean we provide the best events— it's not unique. Everyone thinks they provide the best events. Even for us, we really want to tell people that our software is going to make them money and save them time, but chances are, most technology is going to save you time— that's why it exists.
So, it's not very unique, so you have to stop and say, “Okay yeah, I provide the best events, I have the best food as a caterer, but what is really unique? Why do people really book with me instead of my competitor across town? Is it that I'm just so wonderful and people love me?” That's fine, but you need to make sure that's on your website. I had that happen where I was talking at a conference once and somebody said, “People, once they meet me, they love me and they book with me.” That's wonderful, but I asked, “Do you have that in your social media? Do you have videos that show you giving a tour of your venue online?” She said, “No, when they come in though.” Well, you've lost so many people there because you're not showcasing that unique value proposition on your website, so make sure that it's unique.
Don't be ashamed to pigeonhole yourself either. If you really work the best with couples planning a wedding that is really intimate and family friendly and things like that, it's okay to put that on your website. You can also put things about how you'll work with anyone, and “Let's talk, “Let's chat,” but you're going to do a much better job winning the people who want that experience than you are trying to be everything to everyone, because you're not going to win every keyword and you're also not going to win every sale.
You also want to make sure that it is value focused, so what are you solving for them? “Best event” doesn't really say anything about what I'm getting. You might say, “Providing the best experience for the entire planning process for you and your family,” you might say, “Making sure that you don't have to think about a thing for your catering.” That is making me very clear on what it must be like to work with you as a caterer. I don't want to have to worry about a thing. You're telling me that you're not going to make me worry about the planning or the cleaning or anything, so make sure that the value proposition is clear. What are you proposing to them that changes their life?
You also want to have a good experience. UX: you hear people talk about UX and UI. UX means the experience and navigating your website, UI just means the user interface, what it looks like. When you think about UX, oh my goodness that's a whole other thing, in fact, we have some free webinars on our website if you want to check them out where we talk specifically about UX and SEO and break some of these things down in more detail. But, our goal here today is fast action, so simply put, just making it a very easy experience for people to navigate your website. It's not confusing, I'm not frustrated. When you talk about old websites, for example, you go to someone's website, you can tell it's old. It's not even just that the fonts are kind of ugly, it's typically that you're unclear where to click, you don't immediately intuitively know. That's because it's all about a good user experience.
Here are some things that are going to make your experience on your website better. One— my team teases me because of my level of passion here— clear pricing. If you do not put pricing on your website, feel free to send me an email, we'll have a coffee sometime, and we'll go ahead and discuss this together. This is such a passion of mine. I have done so many different talks about transparency. It is something that, especially with younger generations, who, when surveyed, say they would rather pay more to work with a company that they trust. You're not getting any trust out of somebody who cannot see your pricing. Plus, stop and think about how you feel. Have you ever gone to a website and not seen the pricing and just immediately felt so frustrated? I talked about this with a client of ours not too long ago. She asked, “How do I hide the pricing with your website integration for my tents? I just feel like people get sticker shock.” I said, “I'm happy to explain to you how you can, but this is a really terrible experience. The first thing someone’s trying to do is get a sense of if they can even roughly afford this. You also don't want to get a bunch of people inquiring about something they cannot afford. You're going to see your bounce rates, which you can track in that Google Search Console, just skyrocket.” and she stopped for a minute, and she thought, and she went, “It's funny you say this. I was looking for a dog groomer online last night, and I came to a website that looked great, but they didn't have pricing, so I left and I booked with a different dog groomer.” I said, “Well, there you go, you've made you've made my point for me.” You don't want to have that frustrating experience. Let them know pricing.
You can obviously say, “These are beginning prices, please inquire for a quote.” It doesn't have to be final. People understand that you want to get someone who's in your ballpark. You also want to have instant confirmation. Oh boy, are we in the age of instant gratification. Now we all know it. It's embarrassing, we all have an Amazon Prime addiction, I'm sure, but you want to make sure that they're getting something instantly. It doesn't have to be that they're hearing from you instantly, it doesn't have to be they're getting a quote instantly, but they want something instantly. So, if you do have a lead capture form or something like that, you want to make sure that they get an instant confirmation email saying, “We've received your inquiry.” It's so confusing when I send something somewhere and I just wonder, “Did it even go through?” You want to make sure that they're saying, “Great, I crossed that off my mental checklist today, I'm done.”
Seamless navigation is another one. You see that hamburger menu, the lines in the corner on a mobile device? That helps make it really clear where I'm looking for things. I love this one sushi restaurant in DC. I used to live next door to it. But, man, I have been telling them for years that they've got to fix their mobile experience, because every single time I go there, it's unclear to me where to click for the food menu. Now they'll tell you, Andy at the sushi restaurant will tell you, the food menu is right in the middle. But, it's not intuitive to me because what other website do I go to where it's right in the middle? I want to go from a basic navigation and see menu as an option. That is one of the clear things that I would be looking for for a restaurant, so make sure that you have those clear things very much laid out in a top navigation so that it's obvious to me. I don't have to play this guessing game every single time I go to that site.
Then you want to have a CTA, a call to action. One thing that's crazy is, you'll see these websites that are beautiful. They have the great keywords, they've driven the traffic there, they've got this sales language that really packs some punch, it's getting me excited! I want to work with them! Now, how do I do it? I'm left without anything to do. Sometimes people have a phone number. Well, what if it's three in the morning and someone's up because their kid was crying, and now they're trying to fall back asleep and they're like, “Well, I might as well go ahead and start looking for that event I'm planning.” They're not going to call you at three in the morning— let's hope. They're certainly not going to get any instant gratification out of calling you, so you want to have some sort of call to action. It should be based on what you most want them to do. Do you want them to build a cart? Do you want them to pick a date? Do you want them to just reach out in general? Think about what you need them to do and make that super, super clear.
Calls to action are so important, I've got another slide on them here! Make sure that they are on every page. So, if I've started going down this hole, and I'm looking at, “Okay, they provide this service, great. Oh, look at their testimonials, great.” And I'm clicking on all these things and I'm loving it, but now I'm on a page and I don't know what to do. Don't make them do extra work and go back to the call to action. Make sure you're grabbing them on every page. If this is the page that sells me, make sure you're there to get that sale. Make sure that they're very, very clear expectations. So, if it's a web form, not only should you give them the instant gratification of an email, but it should say on the site, “Hey great, next step is we'll reach out with a quote,” “Hey, next step is this.” Make sure that it's very clear what's coming next, so I'm not wondering, “What do I have to do as a list maker?” As I'm sure most NACE members are, I want to be able to cross off my to-do list that I've done this, and I'm not going to do that until I know if I'm officially done with my end and it's now on you.
You don't want to have more than three fields in your form call to action. This is another one we see because people are really eager to get every detail. They want to know, if I'm your caterer, I'd love to know: who are your other vendors? What's the vibe? Do you want a certain uniform? Do you have this, this, and this done? Those are all great things to find out later. I'm not saying you can't put them if you decide that you want to put some of these things on your site, you certainly can. You should only require, meaning don't make it impossible for them to move forward without, just putting three things because once it's more than three things, it starts to feel like they're taking the SATs again and nobody likes that. A lot of people— again with the impatience— they want to just go and cross it off their list, so make it possible for them just to put the things you really most need, something like their phone number, their email address, their name, and then that's it. Then, make sure that you've provided what they need for their call to action. You want to make sure that they have any other opportunities to call you, anything else that they need that should be there as well.
I will put in my one plug for Goodshuffle Pro, which is that we do have a Website Wishlist, so if you're somebody who's considered using our software, if it's something that might be a fit for you, happy to chat about that. We built it with all of these things in mind: instant gratification, being able to look at inventory or packages, being able to just put in those three required fields, getting an instant confirmation, and having it build a full proposal on the back end so that you can save time. We even had someone from our user base say he was kind of dragging his feet on doing it. He finally did it, he said, “I don't know why I didn't do this earlier. It was so easy, thanks.” And then two hours later, I got an email from him and he said, “This has been live for two hours and I've already gotten an inquiry.” Now I say this not just to plug Goodshuffle, but also to plug calls to action. Even if you're not using something like our Website Wishlist Integration, the fact that he saw results in two hours of putting something interactive on his website really speaks to the power of that interaction. It really speaks to the fact that folks want to get in there, they want to start engaging. If I'm on this website in the first place, it's because I want something. If I'm on my sushI restaurant website, it's because I'm hungry. I want to see pictures of the sushi. I want you to get me super excited about this meal I'm about to have. So, you want to make sure that you have something on there that's engaging, that's getting people while they're ready to go shopping in some manner, whether it's putting in a couple preferences, putting in that intake form, whatever it may be for you.
You also want to have social proof. Social proof is the concept that, man, people love to do what everyone else is doing. We can be a little bit of followers in that way. We hear someone else is doing it, we assume that's what we must do. So, there's a lot of power in this from a marketing perspective, proven time and time again. It also makes sense: you don't want to be sold to by the person who's doing the selling. Of course they're going to say, “We're the best in town,” but I'm sure that everyone on here today has great reviews somewhere, whether they are Google reviews, Yelp reviews...in the software industry, Capterra is like Yelp. You have those things that you want to show off, put them on your website, make them really clear. Again, this is the kind of thing I see hidden in the back of people's websites. Put this next to your call to action so that when I'm looking through and I'm thinking, “Oh my gosh, this caterer is amazing, this food looks great,” I'm not going, “I don't know, I can't decide if they're the right one, I don't know if I want to submit this form, I don't know if I want to click this thing,” but then right there, there's something that's proof from another client saying how much they loved it. Ideally, you're going to have something that is, coming back to that UVP, your unique value prop, not just it was the best event, but “Man, Cindy told me that she was going to have the most easy experience and boy, did she provide it! I didn't have to lift a finger all day. I couldn't recommend her catering more.” That is the kind of thing that you want to have right by that button, right by that call to action. That really closes that deal for you. You also can have certifications, you can have rewards. Again, I wouldn't think about those as your unique value proposition— it doesn't provide any value necessarily inherently to your client. Cool that you won an award— doesn't provide me an inherent value, but it is something that is, again, going to be that closer, the way to seal the deal.
I think with my pace here today, we've allowed a lot of time for questions. I wanted to make sure that people come into these with a lot of specific questions, whether it's about your website, whether it's about something you're currently doing, or something I didn't cover today, please feel free to drop the questions in and I'd be happy to answer them now. I also want to, again, mention my email address. You can email me directly at any time [email protected]. You can see Goodshuffle socials right here on the screen, and I'll just wait for any questions.