Is Your Website All About You Or Your Customer?
Many businesses get their website completely wrong. It might seem appropriate to feature lots of information about how successful and accomplished your operation is on your site, but this isn’t really what visitors (ie your customers) want to see. Anything on your site should be carefully considered to ensure it appeals to the needs of your existing and potential customers.
An website that is properly customer-focused will perform much better than one that spends every square centimetre bragging about your business.
Try and Get To Know Your Customer
In order to make web design effective, you need to know who you’re designing for and what they want to do on your website. Businesses can make assumptions about their customers which might be incorrect. You might assume your customers have a certain amount of technical knowledge or that they understand jargon more than they actually do.
For example, an insurance company may assume that customers know what a premium is or what third-party property is, but the average customer might have no idea about the real meaning of these terms.
It’s also important to understand a customer’s motivations and intentions for visiting your site in the first place. If all an insurance customer wants is a quick quote, then forcing them to complete a 20 minute online form is not the most appropriate thing to do.
Structure Your Website For Your Customer
The structure of a site – the hierarchy of pages and the ease with which a user can navigate through them – plays an important role in how customer focused it is.
It’s not only important to ensure the navigation makes sense to first-time customers. You also need to anticipate which content they’re likely to find most useful, and feature those pages containing that content to make it easy to find.
You always want to make sure that you’re not hiding things on your website. If there’s something which 80% of your site visitors always access when they come to the site, you might want to make it really prominent in the design.
Address The Customer Directly
A simple way to make your site more customer-oriented is to phrase all of the content so that it addresses the visitor directly, in the first person. Instead of writing about your business’s goals, products and achievements in the third person, phrase your content as though talking personally to a friend, using personal pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘we’. This makes your message seem more personal, and readers will be more receptive to it because it makes them feel like you’re actually speaking directly to them.
Put Customer Benefits First
The topics addressed by your website need to focus on the customer’s interests instead of the company’s achievements and products. Instead of talking about the specifications of a product or the quality of a service, instead you should illustrate how it will benefit the customer.
Your company history, background and experience is really secondary information and and should not be the most prominent information.
Don’t limit the beneficial detail to product landing pages, either. The customer needs to know how your business is likely to solve their problems as soon as they land on the homepage. Anything from the business’s name or slogan through to welcoming copy can be used to appeal to the their desires and expectations.
For example a financial planner might be tempted to talk about financial products, or how experienced they are. However, but what a financial planner is really selling is aspirational. The planner should talk about how the customer will feel with a well-planned financial future, and talk about financial confidence and well-being.
Don’t Brag About Your Company Or Yourself
Much of the writing small business owners use online makes the same mistakes corporate sites often make: using precious page space to catalogue the business’s achievements and capabilities.
A better way to do this is to feature testimonials from customers that have had a positive experience using your business. Provided the positive comments are genuine and you can back their claims up by replicating the service they refer to, testimonials are a clever way to promote yourself online.
Don’t Say Too Much
Finally, don’t put all the information you can possibly get on each page of your site. The more cluttered the page is, the more difficult it is for visitors to tell if it’s relevant to them.
You want to make certain things prominent but don’t try to be everything to everybody at the same time, because then the page will have too much information and you will end up not emphasising anything at all.