You only get one chance to make a first impression. Before you even open your mouth, your appearance and body language do the talking. Even your handshake speaks volumes about you, with studies showing that a handshake can produce a higher degree of intimacy and trust within a matter of seconds. What does this tell us? People make up their mind about you, fast. The same logic applies online, where your website is essentially the face of your brand. A consumer’s initial visit is the first interaction, and they will evaluate your site just as they would a person. In fact, if anything, they are even quicker to judge online. When you meet a person face-to-face, their mind is made up about you in about four seconds. It takes website visitors fifty milliseconds. That’s not a lot of time to impress. Do you have room to improve your website?
Today, social media is a fundamental building block of the digital marketing edifice. For businesses, this is a dream. It costs nothing to set up an account, but can have significant payoff. It doesn’t require any expertise, but can look very professional. It takes minutes to update, but the content you post is accessible indefinitely. These tempting advantages explain why many businesses use Facebook and Instagram as their primary digital marketing channels. The problem is that these efforts often come at the expense of a fully functional website. Let’s get this straight: websites still matter. The website is the nerve centre where all the most important online activity takes place. It’s not something you can afford to skimp on. Some businesses need reminding that taking the easy route and investing solely in social media will be detrimental in the long run. To optimise your online presence, leave social in the backseat and let your website take the wheel.
Your website says everything about your brand. It’s the handshake that seals the fate of the customer relationship. Here are some tips to improve your website to ensure you are making the most of it.
Easy navigation should be companies’ top priority when designing a website. It should come as no surprise that 94% of consumers rate it as the number one feature they seek in a website. User interface (UI) is the visual elements of your website which allow consumers to get from point A to B, e.g. icons, prompts and buttons. For a site to be easy to use, UI should be streamlined and highly intuitive. In other words, every element of your website should be exactly where the visitor wants it at the exact moment that the user needs it, and shouldn’t be visible if not. There’s nothing more frustrating than going around in circles when trying to make a purchase or locate contact details. If consumers cannot find what they’re looking for, they will leave. Mundane as it sounds, routine testing is critically important in ensuring your visitors have a smooth browsing experience.
Your website is a visual reflection of your business. It’s an artform that demands creativity, but also coherence. To bolster your company identity, your branding elements must be consistent across your website. Consistent webpages also drastically improve user experience and aesthetics. Everything from A to Z must flow. This is a founding principle of web design. If you’re unsure where to start, your company name and logo should set the tone for your layout. It’s best to have a limited colour scheme. By sticking to selected colours, it’s much easier for customers to recognise your brand and make associations. Choose a font that truly represents your brand, and is in keeping with its offerings. For example, a big and bold text might work for a hardware manufacturer, whereas a soft and elegant option may better suit a florist.
Although this sounds basic, you’d be surprised at how many websites have incorrect or out-of-date information lingering on their landing page. Unless it’s accurate, it should not be there. Site maintenance is paramount to customer acquisition. If they cannot find what they’re looking for on your site, they will have no qualms about jumping ship. By neglecting your site, you are driving customers into the hands of your competition. An updated website is a general indicator of quality and professionalism. For some consumers, it may be the only part of your business they experience. Scan your website regularly and refresh your content as needed. Otherwise, in this competitive and, frankly, unforgiving online environment, the cracks will quickly begin to show.
Also known as responsive web design, a mobile-friendly website is today’s expectation. In late 2019, mobile devices accounted for 52.6% of global web traffic. This figure is forecasted to rise rapidly in the coming years. If these statistics are anything to go by, businesses should cater to the masses and prioritise their mobile site rather than its desktop counterpart. Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. If your UX isn’t seamless across the board, you will lose customers. Ignore these numbers at your own peril.
Suppose a visitor opens your website. What do you want them to do? Your website isn’t just an information hub. First and foremost, it’s a sales platform. This doesn’t apply solely to e-commerce sites - you don’t need a checkout to make a sale. There are many alternative, high-converting avenues you can take to connect customers with your business, and it will depend on the website. For example, you might invite visitors to sign up for your newsletter, or to start a free trial. Visually, your CTA can be in the form of a pop-up, banner, button – pretty much anything that grabs the attention of your visitors. It should be marked with a clear, concise and action-oriented phrase which entices the user to proceed. Be mindful of the colours you choose. They should contrast with their background so that your CTA is as eye-catching as possible, while staying true to your chosen scheme.
If you want to run with the big dogs, your website needs videos (emphasis on the plural). Experts predict that, by 2022, video content will make up more than 82% of online traffic. Few mediums are as engaging as video. It’s a multisensory experience, leveraging the power of colour and sound deliver messages in a highly stimulating way. Videos are the perfect storytelling vessels and can captivate even the most sceptical consumers. There are many ways you can incorporate video into your website which will improve your website experience for visitors. A home page background video can be very effective. These should showcase your unique selling points, giving visitors an instant sense of who you are. Social proof video content, such as case studies and testimonials, is a proven way to win consumer trust. Hearing and seeing a satisfied customer share their experience beats reading about it hands down.
Customer testimonials are a great way to improve your website, whilst boosting conversions and building confidence in your brand. Ideally in video format, display positive client feedback on your landing page to instil trust in your visitors. Testimonials also demonstrate your product/service, and let your visitors know who you cater to. Reviews are an even more powerful resource. A good review can be the difference between a dead-end and a sale. In fact, according to Dimensional Research, 90% of consumers claim that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions. On your website, you have the advantage of cherry-picking content. Leverage the power of reviews and flaunt the best ones on your website. Another great way to showcase your customer feedback is a Google Reviews plugin. This plugin display Google Business Reviews on your website in a sidebar widget. A unique feature of the plugin is that it saves reviews in your website database – so you do not have to depend on any services like Google to show reviews in the widget.
Though marketing strategies are not always set in stone. It is always important to constantly assess and evaluate the productivity of tools and tactics you're using to promoting your business. If you find that your tools and tactics aren’t as effective as they were before, do not hesitate to improve and alter your plan. By doing so, you'll remain relevant in the marketplace.
Want to know more about digital marketing or need help implementing imrpovements to enhance your website experience? Contact our expert team at Elephant in the Boardroom now for a free consultation.