Tap into What Your Customers Want in a Website
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we’re proud of our self-made success-and we should be! It takes a lot of determination and grit to get to where we are.
But entrepreneurs and small business owners often think too objectively when it comes to their website.
Here are three ways they miss the mark:
They feel they only need to share what it is they do or provide or facts about why they are qualified.
They focus on the product or service specs, not on how it can make their customers’ lives better.
They get lost in the humble-or not so humble-brags about their accomplishments, state-of-the-art facility, high tech or highly educated team. When that happens, the story of how they connect with customers, or why they’re passionate about what they do gets lost.
This is not at all what your customers want in a website, nor is it how people make decisions to purchase or revisit your business.
I’ve got three great ways to make your eCommerce site about your customers, not about you:
1. Use empathy-based marketing.
Empathy-based marketing has become a much-talked-about topic since COVID-19 hit. It was around before then, but it’s really gained momentum in the past six months.
Basically, empathy-based marketing means thinking like your customers, and putting yourself in their shoes. (It sounds similar to compassion, which is related to sympathy).
Here’s an example: you have a retail store that serves a wide range of age groups, and you notice that elderly people aren’t coming in as often. You think like one of your customers. Maybe you’re tired, or frail or extremely anxious about COVID-19 because you’re immunocompromised.
So, as an empathetic small business owner, you update your site content and create store signage for this segment of your audience. Between 8 and 9am, your store is going to open just for people over the age of 65. Everything will be sanitized, there will be free coffee and staff will be available to help people shop.
Now here’s a real-world example: when hundreds of Delta Airlines passengers had to sit for hours on runways due to extreme weather, the airline ordered hundreds of pizzas.
The passengers were in a much better mood, and I’m sure were way more likely to use Delta again or give positive feedback thanks to the extra-cheesy empathy.
2. Don’t build an eCommerce site for yourself.
Often when small business owners are building their eCommerce site, they concentrate on the design aspects they prefer.
Really liking the colour green or having a collection of already-purchased images from a stock photo site are not good reasons to make them part of your eCommerce site.
It’s all about doing the research before you make a website for your target market. It’s important to do an in-depth analysis of things like:
Your target audience. Are they middle-aged, high income empty nesters? Or tech-savvy, time-strapped moms? You need to speak their language; show them you care and get to know them.
Your target market’s values. For example, if a questionnaire you send to your clients shows the majority of them are very concerned about sustainability and the environment, images of happy people drinking out of disposable coffee cups could be a deterrent.
Your competitors. You don’t want to copy a site design from a competitor in your space-you always want to be unique!
This is why I frown upon purchasing a pre-made theme. It’s been used by hundreds if not thousands of others and your unique brand will not stand out as a result. But doing proper research can give you an idea of the look and feel that your audience might gravitate towards.
READ: How to Improve Your eCommerce Website
One of the big reasons why now is the prime time to maintain an eCommerce site is that consumers are online more than ever.
Once forced to buy online because of COVID-19, many consumers will continue to do their shopping online, now accustomed to the experience and convenience.
Because your target audience will be spending so much time online, I’m sharing some common problems that often come up and how to improve your eCommerce store.
Read more on our website.
3. Keep everything simple.
We can get so caught up in giving our customers lots of options, or storytelling about our brand that we don’t even realize we’ve created utter chaos!
Before you begin posting content or products, it’s crucial to map out your navigation. Adding multiple drop-down menus or tabs as you go, without a well-thought-out plan, is a recipe for disaster.
When you make a website for your target market, every image, piece of content and CTA should have a purpose.
Bold, concise headlines will draw attention, while long chunks of copy will look overwhelming. What customers want in a website is a clear path to a call-to-action to gently guide them, not randomly placed buttons.
And don’t be afraid of white space! Clean areas of white space will do wonders for your site. White space makes your copy much more readable and creates a contrast with your other elements that visitors love.
By cleaning up the clutter and guiding people towards your products or services through sensible navigation, you offer a much more enjoyable experience than hitting them with walls of copy, multiple drop-down options and muddy CTAs.
I hope this gives you a clearer idea of what customers want in a website. By truly listening to your audience with an empathetic ear, you can create a connection with your eCommerce site and products or services that will keep them coming back.
If it’s time to give your website an upgrade so it will attract the right people with the right message, hire a professional web development agency who has the understanding of how much psychology plays a role in great web design.
To your business success,
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.