By now it’s clear that if you have a business, no matter what size, you need a website. A website provides authenticity to your small business, helps customers or potential customers who are researching your products and services, and provides a first line of customer service, even when your business is closed.
Being a businessperson, however, your focus is on creating your product or service and making sure that it is the best possible so your customers will be satisfied. Then how do you know if your website is helping your business or is just another placeholder on the Web? There are three types of visitors that will frequent your site. In order of importance, your site visitors are customers, researchers and browsers. Make sure your website meets the needs of the first two and doesn’t scare the rest away.
Customers as Website Visitors
What are your customers looking for when they visit your website? They are usually looking for contact information and hours of operation because they want to talk to you about a product or service they have already purchased, want to find out information about the product or service they are ordering, or they are trying to get help from you. You must have the following information on EVERY PAGE OF YOUR WEBSITE where visitors can see it immediately:
- Phone number
- Hours of operation (they need to know when they can call)
- Physical address (if you have a storefront)
- A link to a contact form where the visitor can send you a message
Everything else is secondary to these vital pieces of information that your customers are looking for. If you don’t have this on every page of your site right now, it should be your top priority to remedy that.
Researchers on Your Website
Visitors who are researching are potential customers. These are the people who are in the market, but haven’t made a purchasing decision yet. They are the lost opportunities that you will never know about who didn’t buy from you because they didn’t find the information they were looking for.
The goal of the researcher is to find out more about the product or service they need, and they are looking for a reason to choose you over your competition. In order to help them make an informed decision (and nudge them in your direction), make sure your website includes the following:
- clear, concise information about the products and/or services you offer, including pricing
- information about your business and what you do differently that makes you better than the competition (without mudslinging in their direction)
- endorsements from previous and current customers – real stories from real people have a great impact on people looking to purchase a product or service
- your guarantee
It is very important that you also provide clear navigation, special offers, calls to action and other key components, but without the information listed above, potential customers will just move on.
Browsers on Your Business Website
If they’re not a customer or potential customer, the person who happens to land on your site is just a browser. These people may or may not currently need your product or service, but somehow ended up on your site. Once you’ve catered to the needs of customers and potential customers, you can engage browsers and turn them into promoters by creating contests, interesting designs and other fun marketing campaigns.
If you have a website for your business (and you should), make sure you take care of the needs of your customers and potential customers and turn your website from a placeholder to a valuable tool that works for your business 24 hours a day.