15 Nov Who’s Your Website About?
In the modern digital age, it could be said that the Internet is one of the most important marketplaces, and your website is your most important sales representative. And the numbers can prove it: retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 1.08 trillion U.S. dollars in 2013 and projections show growth of up to 2.48 trillion U.S. dollars by 2018, and according to this infographic by MineWhat, 81% of consumers do online research prior to making a purchase. After letting these numbers sink in, you may come to the realization of how important your company’s Internet presence is for your success.
Your website is the customer’s gateway to your services. It’s a place where they decide whether they trust you, and whether they want to work with you. But here’s the thing — the customer does want to know about your qualifications and experience, but not at every click. What they mainly want to know is whether you understand them and are ready to fix their problem and / or meet their demand.
In my last blog post I wrote about tweaking your business site’s contact page. Now, let’s take it one step further and take a look at the website as a whole.
Meeting the personas
You’re the provider, and the people who come to your website are the customer. That’s easy, and there’s no need to waste your website’s space on explaining this any more.
What you should think about are the personas of the people who will be coming to your website for the first time.
A) The casual stranger
Someone comes for the first time ever, as a result of a casual search, or maybe an ad. Instead of introducing all your skills and qualifications, tell them what you’re doing, and why you’d love to be doing it for them. You want them to remember you when they might actually need your services (which probably isn’t on the first visit).
B) The stranger in need
This person has been actively searching for someone from your industry, and they found you. Again, the first impression matters, so instead of praising yourself, tell them “hey, easy. I’m here and I’ll fix it for you.” Whatever “it” is.
C) The returning customer
These people know what you’re about, and they’ve been satisfied. They should have a chance to access some extra content, give you a rating, or read something more about your activities. I’m thinking a blog, a news feed, or a calendar with events.
D) The vendor and partner
These people came to do a different kind of business than the first three, and it should be equally easy to find themselves on your website as well, without having to search for it among walls of self-praise and self-advertising.
Content & Design: Everything matters
Business owners often overestimate the importance of design at the expense of copy. And I can understand that – picking colors, layouts and mood boards is much more fun than coming up with catchy lines and reading through amounts of text. But when creating a customer-centric website, both of these aspects create a unique experience for every customer, which ideally results in placing an order or giving you a call.
As a small business, you have a great advantage compared to large corporations: you have the space and the tools to have a strong sense of personality in your company’s image. Letting it flow through your website, while also making anyone who comes by feel at home and taken care of, you’ve covered half of the success.
The second, “bigger” half consists of the quality of your services. But that’s entirely up to you and the people you’re working with, and unfortunately not something I can help you with!