Succeeding Online is About More Than a Website

December 13, 2012 in , ,

Raise your hand if you have experienced this fatal tale: you are browsing online or sifting through your inbox and stumble upon a website selling…chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. Yeah, chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. You love chocolate-covered cinnamon bears and are relatively eager to buy an entire case…and then the page loads…

“What is this,” you think to yourself. “Was this person even thinking when they created this website? Why am I so handsome?”

Oh, you.

But you have a point! The text on the page is hardly readable (navy background + black text, really?) and the content is so very vanilla that you just know their chocolate-covered cinnamon bears are going to stink. You exit the page and shake your head…how does a website discourage one from buying chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, anyways?

Repeat after me three times: succeeding online is about more than a domain name and web page! (that was a mouthful!)

Now, here’s how not to turn customers away:

1.      ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ is a false, false statement – How very rude of your mother to lie to you! Let me set you straight: looks do matter. Your website might have the best personality or be brilliantly smart…but no one cares if it’s ugly (well, someone will; ‘every jar has a lid,’ after all).

While you don’t need to become too overwhelmed by design, make sure that your website expresses how professional and established your company is. And for the love of Pete, don’t use Comic Sans MS.

 

2.      Is your name Lake Baikal? Because you sure are deep! – (may we suggest you don’t use that pickup line on anyone, ever.) There was once a boy in high school who was the anti-thesis of ‘well-rounded.’ He was extraordinarily good at sports…and that’s it. Conversations about anything not involving a ball were painfully uncomfortable.

Don’t be that boy.

In other words, aim to have more dimension on the website. Yes, your website may rock but you can be so much more. Dive head-first into the world of social media and embrace the World Wide Web (it’s really a glorious place!).

Add a blog, sign up for LinkedIn, start a Facebook page, create a Twitter account…and use them. Not only will using social media sites drive more traffic to your site and convey that you are hip and with it, but it will add more dimension to your site. It will let current and potential customers see you in a multitude of lights.

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3.      Don’t be so blatant, Suzy! – Have you ever been to a store where you just know they are trying to convince you into spending hundreds of dollars?

“Your hair is very nice…but it could be better with our sparkle-razzmatazz hair straightener!”

Yeah, those kinds of people (and your hair probably was nice!).

Promise yourself that you aren’t going to be that kind of business. Your content on your page should be professional and persuasive, but never pushy. Convey how top-quality and worthwhile your products or services are subtly. Furthermore, produce interesting relevant content for people to peruse. Publish how-to articles, create educational videos, and write blog posts about subjects pertaining to your field. You can publish these on your website or online – this will give your website more dimensions and a less pushy vibe.

 

4.      Lalala…I’m not listening! — Your cringing just reading the aforementioned taunt; your reminded of horror stories from my babysitting past, no? But seriously, don’t cover your ears! Businesses all over the globe spend thousands on research and test groups to give them feedback on their product…only to not listen.

Encourage feedback about your site and pay attention. What are your customers looking for? Is your website clear and easy-to-use? What changes need to be made to make it more aesthetically pleasing?

Evaluate what your customers or target audience are searching for – what search terms or keywords will drive more people to your site?

Ask these questions…and then act on them. Make the changes.

 

5.      Make them fall in love with you…over and over again – Here’s the hard truth: there are thousands of sites on the World Wide Web. Competition is tough and customers aren’t scared to site-hop.

Earn your customer’s loyalty by providing them with top-quality products and services, pushing relevant content, and offering the best customer service this side of the Chattahoochee…and then keep it.

Reward your customer’s for being loyal with discounts and coupons. Hold promotions, deals, or giveaways. Support a cause you know is close to the hearts’ of your customers. Keep your customers interested and treat your relationship with them as a courtship.

In summation, succeeding online is about constantly putting in effort (doesn’t that sound tiresome?). Encourage feedback, gauge how your customers are responding, confirm that your website is clean and professional looking, publish top-quality content, and embrace social media (it really is a beautiful thing!).

Now, time for some chocolate-covered cinnamon bears…

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