Here at Esultants, it has been a very hectic start of 2012. We have been working on a number of different websites – everything from corporate limo websites to banking websites and everything in between.
One of the really cool aspects of my job is that during the course of building a client’s site is that I get to learn a lot about what it is they do. Despite the VAST differences from one client to the next, there is one resounding similarity that all of our customers seem to share - the desire to have a web presence that best represents their business to both current customers and potential customers.
It is the $1,000,000 question – how do I translate my years of experience, expertise and excellent service into words on a page? More importantly, how do I do these things in a way that my customers will understand and use?
Now, let me preface this by saying I am not a marketing person. I don’t have a degree in marketing, and it isn’t something that I am an expert at. But what I do know is how the web works (at least today I do – tomorrow that might change). And to make your site easy for your customer to use, I have put together a few tips/suggestions that I think will be helpful when developing content for your website:
1. Think like a customer
If you can anticipate what your customer needs to know, what they want to know, and how they will go about searching for it, you will make your website a better resource for them.
For example, if you sell cars, you would want to tell your customers what kind of cars you sell (Toyota, Ford, Hyundai, etc), whether they are new or used (or both), what makes/models you have, what you do if someone wants a car you don’t have (can you get it from somewhere else), the price of the car (when you can give price you should – people get leery when they don’t see pricing), and where you are located – so that people can find you.
2. Walk visitors through your process
A tip that you can glean from E-commerce websites is that you should always walk your customers through your sales/fulfillment process. Think about it – if you have ever purchased a product from an E-commerce website, you have probably seen a graphic at the top or bottom of the page during checkout that looks somewhat like this:
This graphic is assisting a customer in understanding the process they will need to complete in order to place an order. However, this principle can be used on all websites – by describing the sales/fulfillment process a customer can expect when they choose your company for their needs. Often websites that promote services fail to recognize that their customers may have a certain level of anxiety over what they will need to do to get the service performed. By explaining to them step-by-step what will happen along the way, you can help the customer feel much more comfortable, and ultimately ready to make a buying decision.
3. Be Yourself – to a point
Websites should be an online reflection of your organization. While it is always important to maintain a professional image (both on the Internet and in general), your website should portray your organization’s personality. If your organization is fun and lively, it wouldn’t make sense to have a website full of boring, corporate text. If you and your staff enjoy jokes, then it would be appropriate to try to work humor into the content of your website. Even using colloquial speech can be acceptable (as long as you make it obvious that you are doing it for effect, and not by accident).
4. Make sure you stand out
It may be obvious to you why your customers or potential customers should work with you. You may have the best service, or a unique approach that makes you better than all of your competition. But you need to make sure you are telling your customers that (without bragging, of course). If your service is the best – tell them why. If you have a unique approach, then explain it to them. That way, it will be obvious to your customers or potential customers, not just to you.
These are just a few aspects to consider when developing content for your website. In some cases, not everything I have mentioned here will apply, and in other cases there may be restrictions on what you can or want to do. You may also find that you are not equipped with the time, creativity or skill set to develop the content for your website – which is perfectly ok. There are plenty of great marketing/copywriting resources out there for you to use. Just make sure that if you do use an outside resource, you make sure that they are working as an extension of your organization.
At the end of the day - your website will work best for your customers, if it is a best possible reflection of your organization.