07 Aug Small Business Websites: The Ultimate Guide (Part 1)
A step by step guide GUIDE
for small BUSINESS OWNERS
Define your BUSINESS’ PURPOSE
Before trying to communicate your business to potential customers through a website it is important that you have a good understanding of what it is you are trying to achieve. Ask yourself, “why does my business exist?”. Hopefully it isn’t just to make money! Although every business needs to make money, you need to strive for a higher purpose that makes you and your staff excited to be a part of it.
Take ZANG Media for instance, we are a marketing agency that specialises in building websites for small to medium businesses and then exposing that business’ brand to potential customers through the website. But why? A lot of other businesses do what we do, what makes us want to do it? Our purpose or our ‘why’ is Helping Brands to Thrive. We love seeing mum and dad businesses take on the bigger guys, we get a kick out of seeing a business that was once in a marketing wasteland come to life and explode with results. Find your purpose so you can better communicate that purpose through your website.
What is your USP?
What is your Unique Selling Proposition? The success of a business’ website is dependant on how well it stands out above competitor’s websites, this is why it is imperative that before going to work building your website you need to determine what makes your business the ultimate choice.
When customers enter a search in Google they are presented with a number of results and immediately their eyes scan the top half of that first page for something that stands out. A business that knows and understands what it does and why it does it and presents that in the small amount of text allowable by Google will more often than not take home the cookies.
As well as showcasing your USP within the Google meta-tags it is important to have it clearly displayed throughout your website. Customers need to know exactly what you can offer them and why they shouldn’t bother looking elsewhere. Definitely have a good understanding of this before building your website.
What do you want YOUR WEBSITE to ACHIEVE?
Why are you building a website? It seems like an easy enough question, but a website can serve a number of purposes; it is important to focus on one. If you don’t answer this question of purpose before building your website you end up with dribs and drabs of half useful marketing patchwork -some product information on this page, followed by a little bit of lead generation over here. Some pretty pictures on this part with a shopping cart over there.
You need to have a clear direction that you’d like your website to take under an overarching purpose. The 3 main purposes behind a website are:
• Give credibility
• Generate enquiries and leads
• Sell your products and services
• GIVE CREDIBILITY
This is really just a fancy brochure; you aren’t too fussed on what the traffic does once it is on your site, the purpose is to make your business look credible and provide information on your products or services. These sites are the most affordable as there really isn’t much involved in creating them -you decide on a few key pages and fill them with content and then add a contact page in. ZANG Media can generally build this type of website for under $5,000.
• GENERATE ENQUIRIES AND LEADS
A more in depth website that aims to convert traffic into leads through the collection of customer data. The product or service is sold off-site, usually after a follow up email or phone call. Your website needs to take the visitor on a journey that leads them to handover their email address or contact phone number. Customers’ data is collected and used to remarket to them over time on other websites or through email marketing or follow up phone calls.
• SELL YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
An eCommerce website is the most cumbersome to setup and maintain, but will also provide the best results. Whether you only sell your products and services through a website, or you use it as a secondary sales option to your bricks and mortar shopfront, an eCommerce website is an entrepreneur’s dream! The entire sales process from initial & follow up marketing to making the sale and taking the money can be automated so that you earn cash while you sleep.
Understand the purpose of your website and stick to it. Altering the purpose of your website isn’t as simple as tacking on a shopping cart, – although that is physically possible – the entire layout of the website needs to be altered so as to correctly steer the customer in the right direction.
2. YOUR CUSTOMERS
It is important that you determine who your perfect customer is so that you can work on attracting more of them. Your perfect customer may be the one who is the most pleasant to deal with; or maybe there is a larger margin of profit for a certain type of customer; it could also be a customer who is in a certain location or a customer that fits neatly within your business’ niche. Attract more perfect customers, while trimming back the customers at the other end of the spectrum. Your work day will be less stressful!
Research your CUSTOMER?
Once you’ve determined who you want to attract you need to figure out what makes them different. Things like gender, age, interests and location should be researched so that you can better target your website content and future adverts. Their online behaviour can easily be determined through your own analytics, but also services like Survey Monkey are good for getting answers. Alternatively, you can ask them direct. Use social media or your email database to ask your customers what their interests are and what content resonates with them. People love talking about themselves! Even if you sell B2B it is important to note that a decision maker is always a person: you don’t sell to businesses.
3. YOUR GOAL
Have an end goal in mind for your web visitor. This is linked to an earlier point -define your website’s purpose. All of your advertising is a huge net that captures leads and send them to the head of a sales funnel (your website). You need to then direct that funnel toward an end goal: collecting emails, getting a phone call or making a direct sale.
Define your SALES PROCESS?
For this to be achieved you should have a plan. Determine how you’re going to get them from A-B, once once they’re there how are you going to convert or at the very least make sure you’re able to reach them again at a later date (through remarketing).
Not always a DIRECT SALE
Too many small businesses make the mistake of trying to convert sales directly on their websites. Slow down cowboy! The customer has only just met you. The easiest sell and a great way to ease into your new relationship is by offering them something for free -like an e-book you’ve authored- and in return collecting their email. This will allow you to sell your product or service at a later date. This builds trust and produces a small obligation of returning the favour.