The online “Sales Funnel” metaphor provides the perfect framework for understanding how a local business’s website should perform. And it is through this model that I hope to illustrate the all-too-common problem of driving web traffic to competitors’ ads.
Search Engines, Internet Yellow Pages, Directories and even Pay-Per-click ads form top of the sales funnel, wherein prospective consumers are looking for businesses. The Bottom of the Sales Funnel can be anything from a lead capture form or option to request a quote.
The homepage of a local business is typically accessed somewhere in the middle of this sales funnel, and besides branding, local business homepages should be designed to drive visitors to call, submit a request for a quote, or schedule an appointment. To that end, content such as third-party verified customer reviews and, to a lesser extent, social proofs increase conversion; i.e., they make it more likely someone will call you instead of a competitor.
It is no wonder that so many web designers are keen to add buttons linking to review sites such as Yelp! Especially Yelp! because it’s well known in the tech world. But, there is one problem: That Yelp! button is driving web traffic off your site to a directory filled with your competitors’ listings. Maybe they are running promotion that day? What if they are geographically closer to your prospective customer? What if they have more reviews?
When a prospective customer lands on a hits a homepage, the sale is not done. It is important not to drive the client away from your homepage (out of your sales funnel) and onto a reviews site with your competitor’s ads and reviews (their sales funnel).
Button links to third-party reviews are one of the best performing elements on any local business website, but before you add one to your site, take a close look at where you are sending your web traffic.