Disappointed because you’re not getting the traffic or results you expected from your website? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many business owners anticipate a flood of traffic on their website. After all, there are billions of people on the internet, right? For most businesses it’s just not that simple but with this one tip, you can take a step towards getting the results you seek.
Nothing has shaped the online landscape like social media. With websites like Facebook and YouTube, there is now something for everybody on the internet. With the popularity of tablets and other mobile devices, getting online has never been easier. 80% of Canadians are considered online1 and it’s become the way we research products or businesses before making a purchase, keep up with friends and family that live far away or simply entertain ourselves after a long day of work.
Many websites, like social media sites or news sites, provide a never-ending stream of content and this has trained users to expect that they can receive the information they want, when they want it. That mindset is extended to the information they want from your website. This shift in expectations is leaving many business owners in the dust as their users move on to their competition with the information they seek.
In the past, the business owner would fill their site with the content they wanted their customers to know about the business. In this era of rampant information consumption, this approach is not likely to capture your users’ attention. Sure, sites built with this thought-process list the products and services, maybe a history of the business and how to contact but for the most part, many businesses are losing a lot of traffic and business from their site because they don’t know this one simple tip.
There is one way you can breathe life back into your website and make it something that will interest and engage your users. It’s not complicated and you’ll be surprised at how simple and easy it is. The trick is this: Stop looking at your website as a business owner and look at it as if you were your customer. When you do this, all sorts of possibilities open up.
A customer comes to a website with a much different perspective than the business owner. Business owners are thrilled to talk about their business and list their products and services. Customers are coming to the site because they need or want something. There is a vacancy in their life and they want to know if your business can fill it. Regardless of whether it’s looking to find someone who can fix their computer, signing up for a class or buying an article of clothing, the scenario is the same; customers want to deal with a capable and trustworthy business they feel understands their problems and concerns.
Show, don’t tell. Don’t just tell your users why your business is better, show them. Your site may list products and services and have a great explanation about the business but how are you showing your customers that your business really is better than your competition? How are you proving that you really understand their problems?
Set aside business owner hat, put on your customers’ shoes and go for a walk. Think about your past interactions with your customers. You’ve heard all the stories before; when a customer calls you, what are they thinking? What are they feeling? Are they afraid of something? They likely have questions.
For your site to be successful, you need to answer those questions, neutralize the fear and build a relationship with your customer all at the same time. Sound complicated, right? It’s actually very easy, it just takes a little time. Here is an example: If a customer is shopping for a new kitchen, chances are they are experiencing a wide range of emotions.
- Their guard is up because they’ve heard a lot of stories of people having some less than stellar experiences with contractors.
- They’re really nervous about making that big of an investment and worry that they may not get it back when they sell.
- They may not understand the process and are afraid to ask questions for fear of looking dumb.
- They may be worried that what they want is more than they can afford.
How great would your business look if your website could address all of these concerns? How much credibility would your website have built in the eyes of the user? And you haven’t even talked to them yet!
You can address all of these issues very easily:
- Show your users that dealing with your business will be a great experience. Money-back guarantees, warranties will give great peace of mind. A page of testimonials that show what customers have to say, better yet, have a pictures of the families in their sparkling new kitchen. List any awards and accreditations you may have, show pictures of finished projects.
- Remind users that they are making a great investment in their home by showing some statistics about how a new kitchen on average increases the house value by X%. A blog article about elements that might make a better investment, say a granite countertop vs. a budget option.
- Many people will avoid a situation entirely if they feel they may come out looking foolish. Your content should be written in a warm tone, encouraging people to ask questions and letting them know that this process can be complicated and there are no bad questions. Offer a Frequently Asked Questions page with the most frequently asked questions you get, as well as the questions you know people may be too shy to ask.
- Listing tips on how to save money on a new kitchen is a great way to show people you understand that they are cost-conscious and you respect their hard-earned dollars. It also shows that your business isn’t all about the sale. List links to hydro rebates or any other rebate programs that may be available. Talk about some entry-level products and compare them to their higher-end counterparts in a way that shows that they are still getting quality at the expense of some bells and whistles and makes them feel good about their purchase.
Here are a few more tips:
- Build on the customers’ excitement and show the latest innovations in kitchen remodeling. This will also make your business look current and dynamic.
- Show some of the hottest products in taps, sinks and appliances. Show videos of what they can do. Relate these items to the user’s life. A description of a stove is nowhere near as powerful as talking about how entertaining will be a breeze with a dual oven.
- Offer a downloadable checklist that users can go through to ensure they’ve considered all aspects they need.
The beauty of a customer-centric website is that the more content you add, the stronger, more trustworthy your site becomes. There are so many great ways you can simultaneously draw traffic to you site and prove your business is knowledgeable and experienced. The good news is, the more content you add to your website, the more likely it is to move up the rank in search engines. Your website can be a powerful tool and now you have the key to unlock its potential, the only limit is your imagination!
1 Infographic: Canadian Internet Usage Statistics on Mobile, Search and Social.
Need a hand looking at your website objectively? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation assessment.
Our fourth article for Small Business BC has been published on their website.
“The relationship between your customers and your business frequently begins with your website. What’s more, your website is one of the most efficient and versatile tools your business has in its marketing toolbox. It works for you day and night and can be edited on the fly as the need to add new content arises, which is important as users are expecting more from websites than ever before…”
Think of your website as a salesperson. A website, like a salesperson, elaborates on the virtues of your business and promotes your product and service offerings. A brochure-style website that merely lists products and services, contact info and a bio is like a salesperson who mails out flyers and waits for the phone to ring. A website that engages the user’s interest with ebooks, demos and testimonials is like a salesperson who places the needs of the buyer and their experience first and the sale second. It goes without saying that most people want to deal with salespeople they believe are capable and can understand their specific problem.
With that in mind, here are seven tips to ensure you win over your customers with engaging and effective website content:
1. State Your Value Proposition Clearly
You know why customers should choose you, so make sure you communicate this to website visitors clearly and succinctly. Do you sell the cheapest widgets? Do you offer 24 hour a day service? Fixed quote pricing? Users want to know what’s in it for them so don’t bury this information in lengthy paragraphs. Make important points prominent and punchy so users make the connection instantly.
2. Focus on Benefits Instead of Features
By focusing on the result your customer wants, you are showing them that you have the skills to get the job done. Is it a peaceful night’s sleep because the tap no longer drips? Is it a quiet, enjoyable car ride absent of clunking noises? For customers of a B2B business, perhaps it’s the ability to move their businesses forward with the confidence that their finances are in order.
3. Offer Free Tools
Offering free information in the form of videos, ebooks and checklists demonstrates that you have the knowledge and expertise to help them. Take-away items may generate a sense of reciprocity, plus they can also be spread virally to friends, family and co-workers. Bonus: These tools also make great ready-made content to repurpose as part of your social media strategy.
4. Use Quantifiable Proof to Back Up Your Claim
You can say you offer the best customer service or lowest prices, but many other businesses claim the same. As a result, those claims becomes background noise. You need to use more than just words to prove your differentiating quality or you may get lost in the masses. Back up your words with proof. Display awards you’ve won, customer testimonials, user statistics and affiliations with reputable organizations. For instance, if your downloadable checklist, “21 Things to Look at When Buying a Used Car” has been downloaded 15,870 times, share this valuable statistic as proof of quality information.
5. Use Professional or Near Professional Grade Photography
If a photo is worth 1000 words, you need to ensure they are complimentary to your business. Poor photography may have the opposite effect you seek. Photos that are out of focus, inadequately lit or improperly composed may undermine the credibility of your site.
6. Make Sure Your Visitors Know What You Want Them To Do Next
What is your call to action? Do you want your users to fill out a form on the website? Call you? Download an ebook? Clearly state your call to action in a way that stands out and motivates the user to take the next step.
By taking the time to plan your website’s content with your users’ needs in mind, you can tailor each page to meet those needs. The more value a user finds in your site, the longer they stay. The longer they stay, the more familiar your business becomes to them and the larger the presence your business will occupy in their mind. How much is that real estate worth to you?
JV Host is partnering with Comox Nautical Days in an ongoing volunteer effort ensure their brand stays ship shape and up to date. Look for this year’s new art and website coming soon.
If you’ve ever hired or shopped for a quality graphic or web designer, you know that any kind of design is a significant investment. Like any investment, it’s important to make informed, sound decisions to ensure a proper return. Quality branding and design can last for years and it’s something you need to get right the first time to see that return and avoid significant costs down the road.
Your customers are being bombarded by hundreds of advertisements daily and when they are finally paying attention to your business, you’d better make yourself memorable or risk being dismissed as unwanted noise. Now more than ever, it’s important that your business looks good and is visually competitive.
For many businesses and especially for new start-ups, most design required is at the start when the least amount of capital available to spend on it. Here are twelve easy things you can do to save money on design:
TIP 1: Strategize.
Where do you want to take your business now? Where do you want it to be in the next 5 years? What are your goals? To gain a wider client base? To increase repeat business? Tap new markets? By knowing this in advance and sharing this information with your designer, they can keep this in mind when working on the creative.
Think about this: If your business is in Saskatchewan but you’re looking to expand out east in the next year, developing brochures using Saskatchewan imagery may not be appropriate in both markets. If you designer knows your plan to expand, they could choose more appropriate imagery.
TIP 2: Decide what your needs are.
Now that you’ve got a strategy, what do you need to do right now? In six months? A year? Business cards? Letterhead and envelopes? By determining what you need now and what can wait until later, you can budget properly for the work and avoid last minute rush jobs and paying rushed pricing.
Special Cost Saving Note: Need letterhead and envelopes now, but it’s not in the budget? Have a designer set up a letterhead and envelope template so you can create your documents on your letterhead and print them as one. This way your business still looks professional until you can afford a more elegant solution.
To read 10 more money-saving tips, sign up for our newsletter. Learn:
- What questions to ask that can cut costs significantly.
- Several commom sense steps you can take to reduce cost.
- How to plan and understand your needs better.
- How win-win scenarios can reduce cost.
You have invested a lot of time, effort and money into your website and like many business expenses, it will naturally depreciate over time. How quickly it depreciates is largely determined by the decisions you make. Updates and changes should make your website better but care must be taken to ensure they do just that and not undermine what you currently have. Here are eight ways to preserve and increase the value of your website as it evolves:
1. Use Consistent Tone
Ensure that any edits or additions to your website’s content are written in the same tone as the rest of the site. A page of content written with humour will seem confusing or unprofessional if the rest are written in a straight-forward, no-nonsense tone.
2. Don’t Let Your Website Become Obviously Dated
If you are unable to edit your site frequently, make sure edits you do make don’t draw attention to this. Advertising events that have long since past or references to holidays six months past will give your site an abandoned, derelict feel. If you don’t plan on editing the site often, remove any references that will date the site.
3. Maintain the Overall Design Integrity
Ensure that the overall look and feel of the site continues to look as it did on the day of its launch. As tempting as it can be to use bold, red fonts to grab attention, that is not the attention you seek. Stick to the colour and font scheme laid out in the beginning. Watch your spacing – big gaps in text or text too close to other elements are elementary mistakes.
4. Double-Check Your Links
If you’re adding a link to your page, test it to ensure it works. In addition, if you’re linking to a PDF or any other type of document, make sure the document is professional and presentable and not unreasonably large.
5. Don’t Rely on Spelling and Grammar Checkers
Spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors will cheapen the quality of your site fast. One online study estimated that one spelling error can cut online sales in half. Spell checkers are great but they don’t catch everything. Double check your edits.
6. Cheaper Hosting Isn’t Always Better
Fight the urge to change hosting companies because you found something cheaper. Moving a website can be complicated and it not only can it render your website non-functional, it generally involves moving other related aspects like your domain and email. The price you pay to move your site, plus the interruptions and downtime to your website to accommodate this upheaval may eliminate any savings you would have enjoyed with the new host.
7. Review your SEO strategy
Review and assess your SEO, or search engine optimization strategy every three or six months if not more frequently. If a high page rank in search engines is something you strive for, make sure that any new content is updated in your SEO strategy. New pages may require some behind the scenes coding to add proper descriptions, titles and keywords. In addition, your sitemap.xml and robots.txt may need to be updated as more content is added.
8. Keep Your Site Relevant and On-Message
If it’s not a part of your business or organization, don’t put it on your site. As tempting as it may be to add a page to your company website about your part-time dog breeding business, don’t. Not only does it make your business appear unfocused but the unrelated topic can also lower your rank in search engines page results. Keep your business site professional and launch an additional site for separate content.
Your website is part of your overall marketing strategy and it pays to keep this top of mind whenever you make modifications. Remember who you built the site for and everything you add or change needs to be meaningful to your users. Your website is likely one of your biggest marketing investments its value can diminish quickly if changes are improperly planned or made with haste. Protect your investment and plan with care.
Today we launched website for Enterprise Business & Tax Services. Put away your calculators and call the experts! View Enterprise Business & Tax Service’s new WordPress website.
As the new year arrives, we look inwards and with the best intentions, resolve to stop, start, do more, do less or better. Inner reflection is not limited to us personally but is applicable to our businesses as well; it’s as good time as any to take an inventory of how your business presents itself to the world. While there are many public-facing aspects of your business, your logo is the foundation and it needs to be strong to stand up to the task. Here are five quick questions you can ask yourself to test how well your logo measures up.
Is your logo simple and easy to understand? Your logo needs to be simple enough that a viewer can instantly understand it should they only get a fleeting glance of it off vehicle graphics or a passing road sign. Complicated logos can be hard to comprehend and detailed logos may experience output problems if printed too small.
Does your logo fit your industry’s visual conventions? Some industries have a certain look associated with them; most financial organizations use conservative colours and serif fonts where as fast food restaurants use trendier fonts and bright colours. Over time, these similarities have been engrained in our subconscious as the norm. If a business doesn’t fit our expectation of the norm, we instantly become wary. Some organizations defy this convention successfully and if your organization can pull it off, it will reap the rewards of standing head and shoulders above its competition. It may be a long and expensive road however, with significant marketing required to remind your viewers of your organization’s amazing capabilities, despite its unorthodox appearance.
How many versions of your logo do you currently employ? Do you have a website displaying your new logo but you’ve got a box of business cards you want to finish up before ordering more with the new logo? If so, stop right now! Different logos confuse your viewers and will water down your brand.
How timeless is your logo? Was your logo created in 1994? Does it look like it was created in 1994? Unless you’re selling antiques, it’s more important now than ever to ensure your business looks up-to-date, knowledgeable and trustworthy. Your customers want to know that your business is current and they will assume so if your logo reflects this.
A simple logo usually means a long-lasting logo. Timeless fonts like Helvetica and Avenir and simple illustrations will stand the test of time. The Nike swoosh was created in 1971 and the Coca-Cola logo is over 100 years old.
Your logo is the foundation on which your brand is built and if it’s done right, it will nest itself neatly in your customers’ minds forever. How much is that real estate worth to you? Don’t underestimate the value of your logo.
Featured in the article titled, “Valley Companies Named Best Small Business Finalists.” Comox Valley Record, (as PixelPoint).
“The B.C. public has voted, and local businesses Pomfennworks Studio and PixelPoint Design and Consulting have been named in the top 10 best small businesses in the province as part of the Small Business BC Successful You Awards Contest.”
JV Host & Design
JV Host & Design has been connecting businesses in Winnipeg and surrounding areas with customers through professional engaging website and graphic and print design for over 5 years.
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