Give your website a job, and discover its full potential.
How deeply have you thought about the purpose of your website? For many business owners, their website is an online placeholder. They need it for purely pragmatic reasons—so that they can have a Google business page, or because it’s what their customers expect. But other than buying a branded domain name and filling out some basic information, they don’t design their site to accomplish any specific goal.
Contrast this with an intentional design which focuses on an ideal outcome for every visitor. When a user lands on your page, instead of seeing a couple paragraphs of copy with opening hours and some contact information, they are directed toward a clear set of options, each designed to serve their end goals. This sounds like a much more effective sales strategy, right? Here’s how to get there.
1. Focus on your customers.
Possibly the most common trap most businesses fall into when designing their websites is to focus on themselves rather than their customer. That’s not them being narcissistic—in fact, it’s often the natural result of creating something they’re proud of. After all the blood, sweat, and tears they’ve spent building their brand, they want to tell the world about it.
The problem is, most customers have other priorities. They want to find someone who can repair their bicycle for a good price, or paint their house, or groom their pet. Your brand is an important, but secondary concern. Very few people will buy a product they don’t need or want simply to support a brand, and many will buy from brands they like less if they have budget constraints or other concerns.
So think carefully about what’s most important to your visitors, and put that front and center. Use your brand to spin your services into something that sets you apart from the competition—not as the focal point of your website.
2. Think about your personas.
Putting your customers first sounds great, but how do you know who your customers are? In marketing, we use personas to build out detailed profiles of your ideal customer types. These aren’t based on actual people, but they’re more of a stand-in for a certain type of customer you want to attract.
For instance, if you run a house painting business, you may have a few different types of clients. One may be the home owners themselves—typically married couples in their forties or over who’ve held stable jobs long enough to afford both a home and professional painting services. But you may also serve businesses who need office space painted, or you may work with contractors who will bring you in to finish off residential projects.
Your website should reflect the different ways in which you speak to these audiences. If residential clients form 60% of your business, and the other two categories 20% each, then you want your splash image and most prominent calls-to-action to feature images of your home owner and copy that targets their top concerns.
Meanwhile, less prominent space on your web page can speak toward these other groups by calling out their top needs.
3. Build detailed product and services pages.
Depending on your business, you may have services that cover all of your personas, or different services for each. Even if the services are very similar, splitting your service pages to more specifically target those personas may be a wise decision.
For instance, your residential customers are likely to have more colors and smaller spaces to paint than your business customers, who will have larger areas and a more limited color palate. Your residential customers may also want you to come in to paint during the day while they’re at work, while business customers may be more interested in after-hours services.
Regardless, you will want dedicated pages to describe what you offer in detail. If you have extra budget for design work, these pages are what will benefit most from custom graphics, product photography, and integrated customer testimonials. In all likelihood, these will be the longest and most copy-heavy pages on your website, and they’ll do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to converting leads to sales. So pull out the stops, and give them the TLC the deserve.
4. Look at your user flow to see how you can direct traffic toward those pages.
Now that you’ve created beautiful, detailed, customer-focused pages for all of your services, it’s time to look more carefully at your user flow to make sure your visitors can find them easily. Many of your visitors will come to your website through your home page, so you want that part of your site to act as a funnel, directing each persona toward the service they need most.
But what if they enter your site through a different page, such as a blog? Or what if they’re on one service page and want to move to another? Clear navigation will help, but your pages should also interlink strategically. For instance, related services should link to each other using unobtrusive designed features on either the side column of your site or the footer.
Furthermore, think about what action you want users to take once they land on your services page. These make for perfect landing pages for targeted ad campaigns, but if you’re going to put money behind promoting them, you want to know how well they convert.
Once a user lands on your service page, what is their next step? Do you have an online scheduling tool to set up an appointment? A contact form where they can describe their service needs? A shopping cart where they can purchase a service, check out, and then redeem a voucher for their purchase at a given location? When you start using your website this way, it becomes your best sales tool.
5. Integrate service pages with your blogging strategy.
Finally, your content marketing strategy is one of the key ways to draw more attention to your services. When you blog regularly, visitors will find your website by searching common terms such as “Ann Arbor home painters,” but they will also search for longer phrases such as “how much does it cost to hire a professional home painter?” or “pros and cons of hiring a professional painter.” By writing content that answers these questions, you can rank for these search terms, grow your organic search traffic, and build customer trust through the information you provide.
More than this, you can use these blog posts to link to your service pages, or you can design your website such that by marking a post as belonging to a certain category, a call out box for that service page appears on the post. Now the visitor who came to you because they wanted to get a quote on home painting can read an article on the subject, and will have a clear path directing them to your home painting services page when they finish.
Intentional design helps your visitors discover what they came for.
Your visitors came to you for a reason. They searched for services like yours in their area, followed a referral link, or looked up your brand directly. No matter how they come to your website, it didn’t happen by chance: they want what you have to offer.
That knowledge should give you the confidence to be bold in your website design Michigan. Your visitors need something to do. Show them where to go, and they will quickly become customers.