Is your website leaking customers?
Tip 1: Well-designed websites convert visitors into leads and customers.
All Internet users have come to expect a certain level of sophistication from websites, regardless of a company’s size.
In fact, a OnePoll survey revealed that 70 percent of consumers wouldn’t buy from a business with a poorly designed website (source: OnePoll). Navigation challenges, inaccurate information, difficulty finding important functions, and other factors may result in your site failing to meet customers’ expectations. When that happens, you’re out of the running just like that.
Pay close attention to your home page bounce rate, which can be found in your website statistics program. This metric measures the number of visitors that land on your site against how quickly they hit the back button to leave it. If you discover that a high percentage of visitors are leaving quickly, it’s obvious that you need to make some adjustments.
Find three successful competitor sites you feel are well designed, easy to navigate, and provide content in an easy-to-absorb format. Then, identify what you consider to be the top characteristics of each site. What features are they using that make them appealing to customers? How much white space does the home page have? Evaluate the positives and negatives of your own website against theirs.
Having consistent branding across your online, offline and mobile promotional material not only boosts recognition, but also makes your business look bigger than it actually is.
Despite the old adage, many people will still judge a book by its cover – at least with regard to browsing the Internet. Don’t give potential customers any excuse to hit the back button on your site in favor of checking out a competitor’s more appealing page.
Tip 2: “Engagement, engagement, engagement” is the new “location, location, location”
Customer engagement and interaction is a critical web success factor. Integrate interactive tools and capabilities into your site by …
Adding visual components. Videos and pictures are easy ways to generate page clicks. For instance, you may want to make your site compatible with a video hosting site such as YouTube, or implement a “Photo of the Day” feature. What’s important is that you do something to ensure your site isn’t 100 percent text.
Enabling potential new customers to comment using their social media accounts. Customers love the comments section because it gives them a voice on topics of interest. Chances are, the majority of your customers are on social media, so allowing them to log in using social networking credentials makes it as easy as possible for them to leave a remark on your site.
Offering weekly online deals that potential new customers can only receive by becoming a member of your website. That way, they’ll have a stronger incentive to visit your site on a regular basis and you will have the opportunity to market to them.
Customer engagement is immensely valuable. Avoid the temptation to ignore its importance, or prospective customers may ignore you.
Tip 3: Credibility Counts
Most potential customers visiting your website are going to be extremely cautious and skeptical about the claims you make about your products and services.
Use testimonials whenever possible, as opposed to relying on people taking your word for it. Prospective customers are far more likely to believe endorsements from regular people than what you tell them. If your business serves any well-known brands, ask if you can place their logo on your website (preferably with a backlink on it). This is a good way to build credibility and let your potential new customers see that other clients are happy with your products and services.
If you are a member of an industry body or accredited in a field or specialty, make sure prospective customers know about it. Not only do you want to put it on your website, but you want that information front and center.
Enhance your credibility by catering your messages to the Average Joe. Don’t let your website look or feel like a dodgy salesman!
Tip 4: Make it easy for customers to navigate your website.
Potential customers visiting your website have zero patience. You might think that because they landed on your website, potential customers will stay until they find exactly what they’re looking for.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
Strategically place labels and important links in sensible, easy-to-find locations. Customers generally land on your site for a specific purpose. They may want to find out more about your services, or they might intend to make a purchase. Locating the necessary link or page shouldn’t be as difficult as reading a treasure map. If something isn’t placed on the home page, it should be easy to find through a clearly marked label.
Shower your site in whitespace. Take a look at the logged-out home pages of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other large websites. Notice how little content is actually on their homepages. If too much is going on at once, it might overwhelm your potential new customers and quickly scare them off.
Implement an effective search function. This is a dark-horse feature that many companies don’t emphasis enough. Many people turn to searches as a last-ditch resort to find what they’re looking for. An effective search function could be the difference between keeping a person on your site or losing out on their business.
Customers who struggle to find what they’re looking for on your site will quickly begin to associate your brand with feelings of frustration and confusion – which is not exactly what you’re aiming for. Confusing navigation could lead to lost revenue.
Tip 5: Make help features prominent
No one enjoys being placed on hold or asked to wait for service. Patrons at brick-and-mortar establishments don’t appreciate having to wait for 10, 15 or certainly 20 minutes, and online shoppers are even less patient.
Make your contact information extremely easy to find. Whenever a shopper is requesting help, he or she is probably plenty frustrated with the process. Don’t force people to search every corner of your site to find a “Contact Us” link written in tiny text.
Include alternative customer service channels in addition to over-the-phone service. For example, create a presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites that your customer base frequent, and include links to those pages on your official website.
Don’t underestimate the value of an FAQ page. Sometimes people are embarrassed to ask a real person what they view to be a “dumb” or “silly” question. Including an FAQ link can help keep them on your website. Just make sure to keep this page updated, as commonly asked questions constantly change and evolve.
Online shoppers are less patient than brick-and-mortar customers. They have no problem leaving if they can’t get what they want, when they want it. It’s essential to make sure visitors to your site have easy access to help if they need it.
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