Websites and Referrals

By Mitch Granholm
Website and Digital Designer, Strategist at >Greater Thought Design+Marketing

Lots of businesses rely on referrals as their primary means of gaining clients.

They use their website as a way of validating their business in the eyes of their potential customers. From a B2B perspective this makes sense as most people value a trusted relationship first. We talk about trust often at >Greater Thought.

Trust is complex. It includes consistency, sincerity, reliability, competence, commitment, and integrity. The real obstacle is, that we don’t start out with all of these things. They have to be earned, established and verified one relationship at a time. A referral from someone you trust removes a few of these obstacles.

Referrals matter. Period.

How does your website factor in?

Greater than 80% of prospective customers of your brand do online research before deciding to do business with you.

Your website is going to help them in their education and discovery process and get them closer to their final decision. Additionally, online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, Facebook are part of vetting your company.

On the surface, having a functional and presentable website for your business helps to validate you to those who may have been referred to your website. There is often more to the puzzle though. Potential clients are trying to find out more about you to help them decide wether or not they can trust you with their hard earned money.

Just as you would like to trust who you are working with, your potential clients have those same feelings as they are looking for solutions to their specific problem or need. If the potential client arrives on your website from being given a referral to your business, you already have their interest, now you have to fill in the gaps to help them make the decision to contact you.

Does your website represent you and your company in the best light from the clients perspective? Are you showing your years of experience? Are you showing the potential client that you understand where they are coming from?

How can you make your website work harder for you?

  1. Define goals
    If you don’t have set goals in mind, your website’s potential to drive leads and sales for your business is greatly diminished. Work to define a clear set of specific and attainable goals for your website.
  2. Who is your website for?
    Clearly define who your website is for. This will help you to communicate to your potential customers that you understand them. You get them. This leads us into the next point…
  3. Understand what your visitors are looking for
    Many businesses design their websites from the internal business perspective. They spend a lot of time talking about everything the business has to offer, but spend little time approaching website visitors from their perspective and talking about their specific needs. Work to understand what your visitors are looking to solve, then write copy and lay out your website accordingly.

    GOOD – Lower your energy bill by making sure your ductwork is clean.
    NOT SO GOOD – We clean ductwork.

With the wealth of designers and  website builders available in today’s market, getting a website built can be very easy and cost effective. This makes it even more important for your website to be well thought out, well designed, and effective at communicating to your potential clients.