Having a website seems like an obvious “must” for modern businesses. With the ability to find new customers, make sales, and increase customer awareness through a good website, it seems there’s plenty of incentive to make sure your business site is great.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to understand the core principles that should guide their websites. Instead of investing your time and money into a website that doesn’t deliver, follow these steps to get the website your business needs.
1. Tell Your Business’s Story
Every business should have a story. (If you don’t have one, write one this week! It’s that important.) One of the chief purposes of your website is to tell your story in your own words. As Alan Hall on Forbes writes, “Winning entrepreneurs bond emotionally with employees, investors and customers–and dramatically increase their chances for funding and for long term success–when they hone their ability to tell meaningful stories about their businesses.”
2. Communicate Your Core Goals
Along with telling your business’s story to potential customers, your website should also let visitors know about the goals of your business.
This doesn’t mean saying, “We want to sell as much as possible” on your homepage. We’re referring more to the higher goals for your business.
Look at shoe manufacturer TOMS. According to their website,
At TOMS, we believe we can improve people’s lives through business. Founded in 2006, we understand the imperative for our company to operate responsibly and know that you want to buy from a company that works hard to integrate sustainable and responsible practices into all that they do. Our efforts are focused on making sure that we operate in a manner that’s consistent with our brand values. We’ll continue to travel this path and communicate with you along the journey.
Similar statements can be found throughout their website. By taking the time to do more than show off their products on their website, they’ve successfully been able to give customers a reason to buy their shoes instead of competitors (which are arguably priced much lower).
3. Educate Your Customers
It takes effort, but the payoff is great. By educating your customers and teaching them something valuable, you’ll accomplish three great things.
First, you’ll fill your website with great content – a must-have if you want your site to show up high in search engines.
Second, you’ll show your customers you know what you’re talking about. This gives them a reason to buy from you instead of going to your competition.
Finally, you’ll subtlely build a relationship with your customers. As they come to see you as an authority in your field, you’ll find they return to your company to buy from you again and again. Essentially, you’re making a trade with your customers: you teach them something useful, and they gladly return to you the next time they need one of your products.
4. Show Off What Your Company Can Do
Think of your company’s site as a portfolio. When researching their buying options (something customers do much more often than in times past), customers will look through and see what work a company has already performed. Answer these questions:
- Has our business worked with any notable brands? (If so, list these on your site.)
- Have we performed any work that demonstrates how we can benefit our customers? (You may want to publish case studies to show this off.)
- What kinds of work are we known for or do particularly well? (Highlight these on your site.)
Find other ways not mentioned as well to demonstrate your company’s benefits to your customers.
5. Share An Experience With Your Users
Finally, when putting together the different parts of your website, remember that you’re not just throwing information at your customers. Sure, you can easily build a site that easily lets customers know about your products and even why they should buy from you.
But crafting an experience your customers share with you? That takes more work.
You have to make your website unique yet familiar enough to navigate easily. You need to communicate your unique brand message in every page without being overly obvious or condescending. If you need help with your website design or are having trouble converting you might want to try an online marketing agency.
It’s hard work, and it’s why many SMBs (wisely) make the choice to have an outside agency help out with their website building process.
Though these 5 website tips are just the beginning, they’ll serve your online marketing efforts well if you follow them throughout the life of your business. Take the time to invest in your website, and you’ll see how much a website can make a difference.