You can have the prettiest website in the world, but if it’s not driving sales, it’s not earning its keep and that’s a problem that needs to be rectified.
Dylis: Hi there, this is Dylis Guyan and welcome to the Inspired Selling Podcast, the place where coaches, consultants, trainers, and professsional experts discover how to attract, convert and retain more of those big corporate clients. When I talk corporate, I don’t mean the big international corporates, I’m just talking about maybe midsize corporate, smaller corporates, larger SMEs, and midsize SMEs. The key of course is to do it on a consistent basis and that’s what I help my clients do. That’s why I have guests that I interview that can help us to attract those clients more on that consistent basis.
I have a fabulous guest for you today in Fiona Allman Treen. Wonderful lady. She is an expert in strategic web design and online software systems to enable sustainable growth for business owners and charities globally. She’s an established presenter and devout believer in encouraging entrepreneurship in young people. Fiona founded Hasting based web agency, FAT Promotions Limited in 2001 creating effective websites and online solutions for portfolio of international and blue-chip clients. I love what Fiona has to say. She said what makes our service different to other web design agencies is our focus on marketing and the end user. Well, of course that’s music to my ears. The prettiest website in the world won’t matter if your target audience don’t enjoy a positive experience when using it or worst still can’t even find it. So welcome Fiona. I’m absolutely delighted to have you with us today.
Fiona: Hello Dylis, thank you for having me on today.
Dylis: Oh, it’s a pleasure. You’ve got this sort of purple floating cloud above your head and it makes you look surreal.
Fiona: Am I ethereal?
Dylis: So Fiona, tell us a little bit how you got into web design. How did he get started? What did you do before?
Fiona: Well, I started out in graphic design. I studied it at college and learned about graphic design and visual communication and then taught myself websites. I remember somebody showing me a web site and thinking, I like that. That’s quite interesting. I think I bought a book that said something like Websites for Dummies and took a day off and taught myself and here I am. That was like 20 years ago and so yeah, here I am today.
Dylis: Absolutely amazing. I know you’ve been running your business since 2001 so lots of experience and I know that you’ve done lots of work for many large companies, midsize companies, and smaller companies. So what would you say are the biggest mistakes you see either when you’re working with someone who’s got a website and bringing it up to date for them, to be a more functional, client attractive kind of website, or someone who’s just starting their business and wants a website or, actually let’s go back to the other one too, about the ones where you’re updating. What are the mistakes you’re seeing?
Fiona: The biggest one that I see across every size of company is they’re not focused on their return on investment. Which is just, as you just mentioned there in the lovely introduction, if the till’s not ringing, you can have the prettiest website in the world, but if you’re not getting sales, you’re not getting consistent, good, high quality inquiries. You’re manually carrying out calculations. I spoke with a customer this week and he said, well I take the information from my customers and then I do it in Excel, and then I send it back to my customer. I’m like, your website can do all of that in a nanosecond. So the time that it’s taking you to respond, if your competitors have done that in a nanosecond, you’ve lost the sale. So you need a website that really earns its keep. It’s got to earn its keep.
The first thing I ask any client is who is your target market? Then I ask, what can I get off your desk? People need to shift their mind-set around websites that, Oh, I have to have a website or need a website. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But if you’re going to have one, it’s got to earn its keep. You wouldn’t take on a member of staff and sit them at a desk and not tell them what you want them to do. Your website has to really work for you.
Dylis: Great analogy. Yeah. So when you talk about ROI then, and you say it’s not earning ROI, what mistakes are they making? What’s missing?
Fiona: A lot of them is people focus on search engines and visibility. There are some people who say, I actually heard somebody say recently, Google doesn’t matter, which I won’t even open that can of worms. But they, they say, well I’ve got to get traffic and you can have, thousands of traffic. We had one client who had over four and a half thousand visitors every week to their website and they had a 1% to 4% conversion rate to being a customer, right? So they’re saying, well, I need more traffic. Well, no you don’t. I’d rather have a hundred customers who buy than a thousand customers who don’t.
Dylis: So what was stopping them from buying then? If they were having four a half thousand visitors, what was going wrong or what was missing?
Fiona: They weren’t getting into the mind of the customer. They were too close to their business. And it was, I sell this service, or I sell this product and not thinking what’s the problem that I solve for my customer? Or why does having this product in their life enrich my customer’s life? They weren’t into that. And once you get into that customer mindset, then you know what to show on your website because being found is great, but if they find you and don’t like you, it’s like meeting somebody at a party you don’t want to talk to, you’re not going to remember their name.
Dylis: Yeah. It’s the basic principles of marketing really, isn’t it? It’s making sure that the messaging on your website resonates with what’s going on in the head of that prospective client so that they’re looking at it and going, Oh my God, that’s me.
Fiona: Exactly. I think as well, I’ve seen so many people spend a fortune on guaranteed number one on Google. And let me tell you, anybody who rings you up and says, I guarantee you number one on Google, unless they own Google, they can’t guarantee it. They can’t guarantee what another company can do as a performance for you. And these people who phone up say, I guarantee number one, and I’ve had people come to me and say, well, I’ve already spent thousands on this optimisation and all I’ve got is traffic, no customers. So, you’ve got to remember, it’s all about the customer, always, always, whether it’s your website or your promotional material, it’s always about your customer.
Dylis: Yeah, absolutely. Just certainly from my own experience I guess it’s also the ease of use. If you were struggling you know, to try and navigate to where you want to be. That’s a no, no as well because you just click off.
Fiona: Again, if you get into the mind-set of the customer you’ve got to think…a decent web agency will say to you, okay, so who are you aiming at. Okay. So, say you’re aiming really broadly at women 30 to 45. They’ve got young children, Facebook users, Instagram users. So straight away that says….so you think, well that’s not your website. Well, no it’s not. But it says you want to be leading them from social media to your website, you want to have an integrated feed on your website. So as soon as you update your Facebook bam, your website’s updated as well, which Google likes. You’ve also got their mobile users. So, your website almost, almost doesn’t matter what it looks like on a desktop computer and people say, well, I’ve looked on my desktop and it looks fantastic. So great, but all of your customers are on one of these. So, it’s not just, it’s what they’re used to. So, with navigation, they need to have decent navigation on a mobile. It doesn’t matter what it looks like on a desktop, you can have all the little buttons along the top you want, they won’t see them on a mobile.
Dylis: Right yeah.
Fiona: It’s all about staying in that customer mind-set.
Dylis: Yeah. Again, I’ll just repeat what I said, that’s the basic principles of marketing, is getting into the mind-set of your ideal prospective client.
Fiona: Yeah. Very often it’s not the business owners’ fault. When it’s the business owner I’m dealing with they can’t help it. They’re too close to their business and they think, well, I know what I do. But it’s hard to see how that’s perceived from the outside. So, a decent agency should give you homework. It’s what I always say. If you don’t come from a meeting with homework then they’re not, they don’t care. They’re just gonna say yep we’ll do your website. That’s it.
Dylis: Yeah. Excellent. Of course, the other thing that’s going on, particularly with people who are setting up a business, would think that they’d do it themselves, a DIY kind of drag and drop type of…do you call that a platform? Use a drag and drop.
Dylis: So, what are the pros and cons of that?
Fiona: The upside of it is obviously it’s cheap. It’s super cheap. And they do all say you can be up and running in a few hours. I’ve yet to meet the start-up who’s never built a website before, build a decent website and build any sort of website in a couple of hours. It always takes a lot longer than you think. So the upside is it’s super cheap and there’s some nice ones around, you know, if you’re a one man band and you just want something, just a single page or two pages, get me up and running and out there, it’s a start, you know? So, there’s that side to it. The downside is you don’t own it. It’s like leasing a car. The minute you stop the payments, they take it back. So, you can spend time building up a website and promoting it and the minute you stop those monthly payments, they just switch you off. You’re gone and you’ve got to start all over again.
So you could find yourself and think, well this’ll do for a year, but in a year’s time you’ve got to start again. You’ve got to start all over again. With Google and other search engines, Google is not the only fruit. With google they don’t like them; they simply don’t like them. There’s a lot that say, Oh, you can put this plugin, you can put that plugin and it improves your search engine visibility, home-grown sites, your Wix, your Squarespace, all of those sorts of things, they do not rank well in Google. You can put an enormous amount of work into it. But again, the minute you then switched to a proper site, you lose all of that. You have to start again. You disappear out the rankings. So, it’s really, it makes you very vulnerable.
I mentioned plugins they’re like little bits of code that you can add onto your site to do extra things. Those all or mostly created by third parties, right? So, you’ve got a website with one company, but you’ve got a plugin from somewhere else, a plugin from somewhere else and those little plugins all have to be kept up to date. I can’t tell you how many websites we’ve dealt with where people say, well, I built it myself and it was great for the first six months and then I didn’t update some plugins. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know how to do it, but I didn’t do it and my site came down. It can disappear. We’ve got one customer at the moment they’re dealing with public sector contracts, they’re high profile and they’re still trying to get by on this tatty little yogurt pots and string website and it’s down because they didn’t update their plugins. It’s gone down.
Dylis: Yeah, but as you say, host is the causes. If you’re a sole trader and you just want a one page or a two page and it’s just for that to send someone to that page.
Fiona: Yes it’s better than no website at all.
Dylis: However, and I know that isn’t the type of client that you work with anyway, but they could probably still get a one page done by a professional website designer.
Fiona: Yes, I mean if they come to a professional web designer, or web design agency, the biggest thing that I see now is values. Look at their values as a company. If someone comes to us and they say, I just want one page, two pages, we’re too expensive because we’re not priced for that target market, so I can refer them to a little one man band, web design agency that I know and they can get something decent as a start-up and then when they’re ready for a proper site, which generates real inquiries which is targeted, which is visible, which does everything that they want it to do, then they can come back to us. But a decent agency should be honest enough to say to you, you know what, you don’t need all the bells and whistles for now you could make do with this.
Dylis: Yeah, yeah indeed. So, let’s get back to your target market then. So that’s the bigger businesses who are looking for how many pages, I mean I wouldn’t even know how to describe this, but…
Fiona: It tends to be people, companies or organisations, charities particularly who’ve already got a website and it’s not performing. They’re the ones that we really help because they’ve already got something. I mean, typically they are anything from 10, 15 pages up to thousands of pages, database systems, that sort of stuff. But it’s anyone who’s already got a website and it’s just not performing; they’re not getting consistent high-quality inquiries. They don’t come up in Google. They never check it. They never update it. They haven’t got anyone looking after it cause your website you can’t just create it and leave it. People who do, find that to their cost.
Dylis: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I know I, I don’t know how many years ago. In fact, it was my new website and after about nine months it was hacked, and I lost everything. The web designer hadn’t kept copies, hadn’t saved the data. It was an absolute nightmare.
Fiona: Yeah, we hear it far too often.
Dylis: Yeah. I felt very stressed I have to say. In fact, I was into sleepless nights to be honest. What? It’s all gone. There was nothing. So, give us an overview then. If someone’s got a website, it’s not performing for them and they know that the product or service is good, but they’re not getting the traffic or they’re not getting the conversions once people are visiting. What are the essentials people need to think about if they come to you and you create a new website for them, what are the essentials you would put in there?
Fiona: Well, as I say, we always start with that target audience. So, using that, that same example, the one that had thousands and thousands of traffic but a 1-4% conversion rate. We looked at their target audience with young women, with disposable income, of a certain age group who they were already targeting, unsuccessfully on other sites and blogs and things like that. So, although it wasn’t part of the website we were building, we advised them, you know, you don’t want to be advertising and promoting on those sites because they’re not where your target audience is. We would suggest these sites and then when those young women were coming to the site, they didn’t want to see just product photos. If you plonk your product on a desk and take a photo, it’s not inspiring. It doesn’t inspire you. You don’t look and go, oh wow, that looks fantastic.
But what I said to them was they were selling handbags. They were selling, mid-range designer handbags. And I said, get a bag of them, get on the train and go down to Brighton, walk through the trendy little areas or you can do the Shoreditch is also lovely as a backdrop. You go up to every brightly coloured pretty young thing and you say, we’re here doing a model shoot for our brochure for a website and we’ve had a model not show up. You’ve got a great look. Would you sling that over your shoulder and let me take a shot and you can put it on your Instagram and tag us. They had a queue of women waiting to do this. Just, Oh my God. Yeah, definitely want to do it. Definitely want to do it. The publicity was huge. It caused a real stir in the middle of Brighton.
Dylis: I can imagine.
Fiona: They almost had like guerrilla marketing right there, but then those shots were on their websites, so it instantly made, when people came to the website instead of a bag on a table, they saw somebody young and funky and smiling and having the time of their life with one of these bags over their shoulder. Conversion rate went up to 16%.
Fiona: Quadrupled conversion. Of course, then there’s other basics. Don’t make people register before they buy. People say but I want their data. No, you want their loyalty. If you show them trust and let them buy from you without wanting to know their inside leg measurement, they’re going to come and buy from you again. Don’t make them register before purchase and search engine wise, oh that’s a dark art in its own. That’s a massive, that’s a whole other podcast.
You want somebody, if somebody says to you, an agency says to you, Oh we really good at search engines. Say, well tell me one of your sites and what they should come up for and then type it in. That’s the easiest thing. My company’s called FAT Promotions. My name’s Fiona. Nobody can remember my surname cause it’s Allman Treen it’s half the alphabet. It’s double barrelled it’s all sorts of fancy. Nobody can remember it, but people remember FAT and Fiona. You can do FAT Fiona and I come up because I’ve optimised my site for it because I know that I’m known as that. So I’ve optimise my website for search engines for that key phrase. You also get some very dodgy sites, but there’s also mine at the top.
Dylis: Yes, I can imagine.
Fiona: Whatever your product or your company’s known for, wants to be in your website, wants to be optimised for that.
Dylis: Okay. Any other top tips?
Fiona: I must admit I was making a little list. I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, and there’s so many. One is your choice of image. You must choose to show the solution, not the problem. Because as I said with, you know, people don’t want to bag, they want the lifestyle of the funky young thing with a bag over her shoulder. Another great example is we did a site for a homeless charity and their current website was full of images of people sleeping in doorways. Well nobody wants to see that. We all want to solve it, but we don’t want to see it. So, we change it for imagery of hands. So they didn’t want to show people faces obviously for data protection and personal protection.
So we had things like hands holding a bowl of soup because they run soup kitchens. We had hands holding and talking to each other. Just a couple of people talking where you couldn’t see their face because they offer companionship for homelessness. So we’re showing the solution in the imagery. Your website, it’s very visual. It’s got to tell that story as soon as people land on it. But don’t tell the problem, tell the solution, share that solution.
Dylis: Right, excellent.
Fiona: It puts your company or your charity in a really positive light.
Dylis: They are eye-catching images really as well aren’t they.
Fiona: Yeah, exactly and they’re human. People don’t like putting people on their website. Put people on your website. I dealt with a marketing consultant who didn’t have a photo of herself on her website. She had a picture of a dog. I said you’re the person’s going to walk through my door. I want to go Ooh, straight away. I know you. I’ve already got that connection. That’s what you want. Form your connection with your website and you’ve sold your business to them before you’ve even walked through the door.
Dylis: Yeah. Excellent and what’s your view on not sharing someone necessarily sign up to gain access to the website, but that you’ve got, and this is particularly for service based businesses, although I have seen it with product as well. I have a lovely website. My daughter founded actually it’s called Tillett’s and they sell women’s clothes and they do a 10% off thing and you put your email in. They have just gone through the roof. Now it’s not just with their website, but it’s also, they do regular lives. So every Wednesday evening it’s like a fashion show. So she’s got a rail of clothes you know, and it’s brilliant. But the website’s really attractive as well because when you click on our you hover it turns around the pictures. So you see the difference. Then you see someone in the dress that’s exactly what you’re talking about.
Fiona: Exactly. You’ve got to have people, if you’re dealing, everybody’s dealing with people. They used to say people buy products and people buy people. I just think people buy people. Even if you’re selling a product, I want to see somebody with it.
Dylis: Yeah. Yeah. Just based on what you’ve just said there it made me think about Tillett’s and the way they are presenting their stuff. Anyway, going back to what I was saying in terms of having a signup box. Having a freebie. So, on my website for example, you can get a free resource 21 Sure-fire Ways to Find your Ideal Client and just give me your name and your email and then I can capture that data and form a relationship with them. So what’s your view on that, is it a yes or a no or an always?
Fiona: Definitely works. You’ve got to give them a taste and then you ask for something after that. So with we run a site for a coaching company and they have a really popular blog, really, really popular blog. And I said to them after it gained a bit of traction, after it became popular, I said, right. So now instead of letting everyone meet all of the blogs, let them read the first two or three, and then there’s the see more button. When you click that, it says, Oh, we’d love to show you more can we add you to our newsletter mailing list and then you’ll get first view of future blogs. It’s not saying if you want it, you have to give something. To me it’s saying we’d like to give you even more.
Fiona: So it’s remembering again that you’re giving them more. Everybody who’s looked at their blog has signed up to that. So now they’ve still got a really successful blog, but they have a massive growing mailing list that they can use for future promotion as well. Of course, opt in. GDPR I can’t believe how many people still have add me to your mailing list text by default, you’re not allowed to do that. You must ask people to tick.
Dylis: So what do you say? What are the exact words that people should have? Because I believe just from talking to someone yesterday that there was some new legislation came in in July.
Fiona: Yes, yes. They keep changing it. They do like to keep moving the goalpost. Latest legislation for UK companies this is, so if you’re overseas it won’t apply. But for UK companies you must make it clear, you no longer actually have to have a tick box, but you must make it clear if they give them information, they are consenting to being contacted by the name of the company and in what way? So you can’t just say you agree to be added to the mailing list, you can’t say that. So what we tend to say is just above the submit where they put their information before the submit it needs to say, by pressing the button below, you consent to being contacted by FAT Promotions Limited by email.
Dylis: Right I’m just making note of this Fiona.
Fiona: Yes jot it down.
Dylis: You consent to be contacted.
Fiona: You consent to be contacted by company name…
Dylis: By email.
Dylis: Yeah. I hope everybody’s taking note of this Fiona because they’ve also increased the fines suddenly.
Fiona: Yes, they have indeed. Yes. It’s, it’s quite phenomenal. People are like, Oh, I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right. I think they haven’t really fined quite a few people, quite significant amounts, some high profile big corporates have been fined. Some small businesses they, well they won’t come after me. They don’t care. They don’t care what size you are. If somebody complains it and it takes one complaint and somebody can do that in good faith. We even have an insurance company that we deal with their website and they had somebody complained and said, I never agreed to be on this mailing list. They were able to show their tracking and show that they had signed up and when they signed up and the woman went, “Oh, I completely forgot. I’m so sorry.” If they hadn’t had that data. It wouldn’t have been questioned.
Dylis: Yeah, absolutely. I think probably what’s happened, and I hold my hand up, and I think I’m guilty of this too, is that when GDPR was, was high profile, we were all on it and getting the details and we were going to listen to presentations and really understanding it. Now it’s kind of just passed and gone and of course Brexit taken its place.
Fiona: Yes, something else to worry about.
Dylis: That’s high profile, but GDPR has taken a back seat and really people need to consider this or reconsider it again and look up and make sure that they’re adhering to the rules.
Fiona: Again, your web design agency should be taking care of you, should be taking care of your site and notifying you, advising you on any changes like this. They should be keeping you up today. It’s not your job to go back to your web design agency and say, did you know the legislation’s changed? They should be coming to you.
Dylis: Yeah and that’s what I love about you Fiona and that was why I asked you on actually, because I know how much you care about your clients and you know, you go above and beyond. You’re not just working to the normal spec, there’s always that little bit of extra that you give.
Fiona: Well, our work all comes from referrals. So if people don’t think we’re doing a good job, they’re not going to tell their friends.
Dylis: Exactly. Indeed. So if anyone would like to get in touch with you, how might they do that?
Fiona: Easiest way is to go to my website, go to www.fatpromotions.co.uk. Or look me up on LinkedIn. You can Google me on LinkedIn as well with FAT Fiona. It’s a really good diet incentive. It wasn’t funny when I was pregnant, so yeah, you can just look me up. I’m not hard to find.
Dylis: I’ll put the links in anyway Fiona, and people can get in touch with you. Thank you ever so much. This has been really insightful. Again, all the best to you and I hope that you continue to grow and flourish and serve people in the way that you are. So thank you very much.
Fiona: Aww thank you Dylis. I’ve really enjoyed being on. If anybody that sees the podcast wants to reach out to me, I’ll be more than happy to have a free introductory call. Have a chat, what we can do to help. So thanks for having me on.
Dylis: You’re more than welcome. Bye for now.
Fiona: Take care.
Dylis: So some great stuff from Fiona there. The main message that came through for me was in fact, you know, keep your website client focused and think about the solution and not just the problem. If you’re selling a products, make sure that you’re showing them in a lifestyle type of way. I’m sure that won’t be the terminology that Fiona uses, but you know what I’m saying?
I think the other thing that’s really important is this GDPR that there were new rules brought out in July, make sure that people are aware, if you’re getting them onto a mailing list, make sure that they’re aware that they’re going onto the mailing list. Let me just see what she said here. That where they’re subscribing, you consent to be contacted by whatever your name is and by whatever method, email or letter, whatever and you may change your preferences at any time. So lots of stuff. But they were the two key messages that came out for me.
If you’ve enjoyed this, please subscribe on YouTube or to the podcast and also come and join me on my Facebook group Inspired Selling where I’m in there on a daily basis. If you’ve got any questions or you want to mix with like-minded people and of course become known for what you do, then that is the place to be.
So that’s Inspired Selling. It’s a private group in Facebook. Look forward to seeing you next time. In the meantime, go out and inspire your clients and help them to achieve their goals or solve their problems and in a way that is so very, very client focused.
I look forward to seeing you next time. Bye for now.
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