Your Website is Your Digital Front Door – Is Yours Open or Closed?

Sep 6, 2013 | Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

I spend a lot of time on the web (cough, Reddit, cough). Pretty much my whole day is spent online in some form – mobile, desktop, tablet, you name it. I surf to surf sometimes, just randomly jumping from one site to another but I also surf to find something specific, too – even to purchase something.

I’m not alone.

Some studies put the mark upwards of 97% of consumers that research online before purchasing. And many of those purchases are made locally!

I’m not going to name names, but I’m really disappointed in you, small business. I’m disappointed that you feel that a DIY website on one of those “free” website providers or a generic, cookie-cutter template site is adequate representation of your business.

I don’t know, maybe it is…

If your business is also uninspired then I guess the shoe fits. But what if it’s not enough to set your business apart from the crowd?

What Does Your Website Say About Your Business?

Most of my morning commutes are spent listening to the radio like many other commuters. I actually like to listen to the commercials between segments with ears wide open so that I can catch company websites to check out later.

Orlando… I have to say that your websites suck. What does your less-than-savory website say about your business? Well, it seems to say things like,

Hi, we’re difficult to work with.
or
We’re no different than the next guy that sells widgets.

or

“We don’t really care about your experience online. Why would we offline?”

YAWN.

Your website is the front door to your company’s digital presence. Why are you neglecting this presence and alienating your customers before they even get to know you?

I’ve seen some pretty good looking websites before. Some that even made me say, “wow!”.

Your website should make me WANT to learn more about you, your business, your products or services… If I’m bored by your website, or worse, I can’t perform the task I came there to complete, what are the chances that I’ll purchase from you?

Slim to none.

Even if you’re the only game in town you may have just lost a sale. How does that make you feel as a business manager or owner?

It should grab your attention.

Your website should tease me and make me want to call you. Just avoid red lipstick at all costs.

Know Thy (Potential) Customer.

The term “open” is a relative term, of course. There are some great, highly-usable sites out there to me that may only be hum-drum to you. Your customer is the authority on what makes for a great site and what makes for a hum-drum site. A professional sporting website would likely look and function differently than a hospital website, but both can act as the “attractive receptionist” in its own right.

Do what makes sense to your customer.

Do what makes sense for what you would like your customer to do on your site, too. Will they be purchasing something? Do you want them to call you? If so, do you ask them (nicely) through clear calls to action? If not, don’t be surprised when they don’t take the action you’d like them to take.

How Can You Improve Your Online Presence?

Are you one of those businesses stuck with something less than a stellar website? Never fear, that’s what web design firms are for! Inspired design is real; I’ve seen it. But it doesn’t happen everywhere and it doesn’t happen on accident. It happens when strategy meets creativity and they come together to produce a dub-dub-dub love child. Here are a few things you can do to improve your online presence:

Scrap that ugly site and spend a few bucks on a new one.

In the grand scheme of things, would spending a few thousand dollars on a site that doubles your customer base be worth it? Even if you only sell packs of chewing gum, the answer is likely “yes”.

Hire a qualified design firm to build your next site.

Those free sites are free for a reason. They’re terrible. “You get what you pay for.” applies to website development, too. I’m on the fence if a poor online presence is better than no online presence.

I’m thinking no.

I’ve made more than a few purchase decisions, deciding NOT to spend my money at an establishment because their site was so terrible. I may have given them a chance if they had no site at all.

Think about what your online business’ needs are.

This can be easier said than done sometimes, especially when it comes to the online world. You may be (and likely are) an expert in your market. You do one thing and you do it well. When it comes to doing that online, though. You turn into me on roller skates.

Yeah, not pretty.

Even if you’re not an online strategy expert, I’m willing to bet you can come up with at least a few high-level bullet points that are important to you online. Come fully equipped with those thoughts when you hire an expert and I’ll bet you have a leg-up on your competition.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me with your thoughts.