One of the most common goals among startups is to acquire funding. The big question though is how do you attract investors to your business? While the company website may not be the first place you think of using to accomplish this goal—it can play a central role in attracting more investors and partners.
In today’s market, most networking and customer interaction occur digitally which means there’s less opportunity to impress a potential investor face-to-face. Your company website is typically the first impression a potential investor has of your business. It can either build credibility or raise concerns.
So, what should you focus on to ensure your website reflects the value of your business? Here are the four key things potential investors, as well as your ideal customers, will want to see.
1. Invest in a professional design
The foundation for a website that attracts investors is quality web design that represents your business in a professional manner. Quality doesn’t have to mean it’s expensive to implement. Many startups start off with a simple site that expands as they grow their business.
This could be a “coming soon” page or a one-page website that allows for high quality without a massive investment upfront.
Even if you only have a one-page website, it’s best to avoid using a templated design. Templates can be used by competitors and are often overutilized, making it harder to differentiate your business.
Low-quality website design and templated options can give the wrong impression of your business to investors— that you have no funding whatsoever or that you aren’t taking the venture seriously. A custom WordPress web design or another custom design solution can offer more flexibility and opportunities. The more quality and customized your design is, the better.
Build trust with visual elements
Visual trust also plays a part in whether the site effectively engages web visitors, including both customers and investors. Visual trust refers to a subconscious interaction that someone has when they come to the site. It’s an emotional connection that stems from the imagery, font, and colors used.
Professional designers know how to visually convey trust with the latest web design trends in a way a template or build-it-yourself option may not accomplish.
2. Convey industry and social trust
In addition to presenting a professional first impression, a small business website should also help to build industry trust. Industry trust is based on your business’ recognition and accomplishments in your industry.
You can demonstrate these by showcasing industry awards or affiliations that your business is part of. If your business has secured a patent for a product or started the application process, you can highlight this on the site with a US Patent badge and the accompanying information.
You can also highlight any press recognitions, mentions in industry news, or content sites to build credibility. It’s best to feature these logos or awards in a prominent section of your website home page like Bestow does with an “as seen in” banner right under their hero section.
If you’ve already obtained investors and are looking for additional funds, you can display the amount of money already secured in a banner or notification on the website. For example, the company Mutiny has a notification in the footer of their website to promote their Series B round of funding with a link to learn more and read a press release.
Using social proof to build trust
Another type of trust is social trust. This is built by using social proof which demonstrates that other businesses and customers have successfully worked with your business. Forms of social proof could be displaying the number of clients you’ve served, the number of years in business, or positive client reviews.
For a startup, you may not have a lot of customers or reviews. You can still highlight the logos of some prominent clients or partners that you do have. You can even showcase publishers that have spoken positively about your business.
3. Craft a strong value proposition
A strong value proposition and clear messaging are important for establishing a connection. When a visitor comes to a site, they typically spend about 10 seconds on the page. To capture their attention, your value prop needs to be front and center.
As a startup, think of the value proposition as your elevator pitch. It should clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart from competitors in a concise way. Slack has a great value prop which is in the hero section of their homepage.
Avoid using long, dense paragraphs of text and including every detail about your products on your homepage. Using excessive text, in general, can distract readers and make it hard to keep them on the page. It’s just not user-friendly.
Focus on your high-level messaging and use a mix of headlines, subheadings, and bullet points as visitors tend to scroll and scan the overall content first when visiting a web page. A web designer can help you with the visual component of the messaging and establish a visual hierarchy to make the high-level messaging and calls to action stand out.
4. Create an investor relations or partner page
Websites attract a variety of visitors. Existing clients, new customers, investors, or even potential employees, to name a few. All these visitors have different motives and are looking for specific information. To put it simply, they each have unique goals to accomplish by visiting your site.
To guide investors to the right information, you can create an Investor Relations or Partner page. The page can include relevant information such as press releases on additional funding, opportunities for investors, and benefits of supporting the business.
Total Technology’s partners’ page is one example of describing current partners and who is a good fit for the company.
The content can also include the mission and vision of the company to give potential investors a sense of the overall direction of your brand. Now, this page isn’t an absolute must, but it can help you stand out by providing an easier experience for this type of visitor.
Pro Tip: Add an email sign-up form so interested visitors can receive updates about your business or be placed on a waiting list for an upcoming product. This allows for a small commitment to be made that could lead to a bigger one as they get to know your brand better.
5. Highlight your team’s expertise
Highlighting your team’s expertise is another strategy to build trust and credibility. It can present to investors that there is an experienced team behind the startup that is capable of executing the established vision.
The About page or Team page on the website is the best place to showcase your people. It can feature a bio for each team member or board member highlighting their individual experience, certifications, and qualifications. You’ll also want to add headshots so that investors and customers alike can better identify with the individuals they’re reading about.
Biographies can be placed next to each team member’s photo or set up as a lightbox feature. You can even include an introductory video for key staff members, as featured on the Suburban K9s team page.
The About page is a place where you can convey your startup’s brand personality and culture. For example, some companies will do fun headshot photos or add personal facts about each team member. Whether it’s playful, modern, or more conservative, you can choose elements that really encapsulate the personality of your brand.
Lastly, you can display a timeline of product developments or company milestones. This demonstrates the growth of your company in a concise manner that doesn’t require investors or customers to do additional digging. Swiftmile’s website features a timeline and it highlights product launches since the company’s founding in 2015.
Start with a good impression
Having a website that makes a good impression is essential for attracting investors to your startup. With a quality web design that conveys industry and social trust, a strong value proposition, content geared toward investors, and a page dedicated to showing off your team— you are setting your site up to impress.
You can certainly design your website yourself. However, the easiest way to ensure your website can accomplish all of these goals is to hire a professional designer. Plus, it gives you more time to focus on running and growing your business.