Customers and potential customers visit your web site with expectations, and it is crucial for you to cater to them in order to have your business thrive. Local customers already familiar with you might be willing to overlook small errors or discrepancies, but first-time visitors tend to be less forgiving and will move on to the next business down the line if they find yours lacking. As a general rule, it is good business and marketing practice to proof your web site for text accuracy and effective presentation.
Marketing plays a major role in how you fashion your web site, as it dictates how you want your site arranged and what you want your customers to retain. Just because you are a small, local company does not mean you have to think that way! Strive for exceeding even your own expectations and that will impress customers enough to keep you in mind for what they came to you for in the first place—seeking your business.
Pleasing Your Customers
1. Satisfy their curiosity. Having clear explanations of what your company advocates, how it runs, and how customers can contact you will allow customers to verify how well you know the industry or products and they will have confidence in knowing you are honest and legitimate. Time is precious to all, and no one wants to spend an excessive amount of time wading through your web site to find what they want. Keep your graphics small enough to view comfortably so that they appear shortly after arriving onto your site. Include all pertinent information about your products or services where customers will know within the first few minutes of reading.
2. Woo them. An eye-catching, appealing web site is easier on the eyes and encourages a quick read. Use text sparingly, elaborating on what is necessary. Tools they can use to navigate through your information will also provide a higher level of interest, such as inserting a search feature to allow customers to search through your web site by typing in keyword phrases. Tailor your marketing to the nature of your industry. If you are a realtor, include an interactive mortgage calculator; if you offer audio or video services, you can include small sample sound bytes and videos for customers to preview at the click of a mouse; if you sell sports gear, allow customers to get 360 degree views and be able to zoom-in or out with products.
3. Offer to help. Knowing that you are there to assist them at any point during their visit to your web site lets them know you are truly dedicated to welcoming their business. Offer email support, a local or toll-free customer service line, or a self-help section with a list of the most popular questions and their answers.
4. Include reviews. Customers’ opinions rely heavily on what others have to say about your services. Successful marketing involves including feedback from past customers to build new customers’ faith in you.
Following those steps, your local company will join the Internet age—and will stand to grow in its success among the rest of the crowd.
Copyright 2005 Jennifer McGroary
Jennifer McGroary is a WAHM who has been operating her own home-based web design and consulting business since 1999. Jennifer helps local small businesses, family-owned, & home-based businesses maximize their profits without spending money on advertising. To learn more, visit http://www.cssites.com