Ready to make 2021 your year? You should start by looking at your website and marketing efforts.

The past year has seen a great shift for how businesses perceive the value of their websites. More and more, business owners see their website not as a glorified business card, but as the true face of their operations. They recognize that clients and customers will come to their website before visiting their store or office, and will return to that website after a meeting. As a result, any website that isn’t showing a business in its best light is letting it down.

For many ecommerce businesses, of course, the website is the business. Staying ahead of the competition isn’t just about creating a better product, investing more in marketing, or offering a better deal. It’s also about creating a better user experience, so that visitors to your site want to spend more time looking at your products, and keep coming back for more.

And for businesses whose website is meant to serve as an informational piece, a good Michigan web design and quality content are essential for building trust and retaining interest. The truth is, your website is your best sales tool. It’s an employee that works for you 24/7, with a global reach, and the capacity to deliver key marketing information simultaneously to as many visitors as you can bring in the door.

If you’ve been neglecting your website, make 2021 the year you give it the attention it deserves. Here’s where to start.

1. Addressing current sticking points in your brand identity.

We work with a lot of clients who, over the years, have split their brands into multiple identities, or who have acquired other brands without ever unifying them into one property. While these choices may have made sense originally, over the years they have led to brand confusion. Customers aren’t always aware of the connection between these brand identities, and marketing efforts are less effective with attention split in too many directions.

The longer companies put off resolving this confusion, the worse the problem becomes. If you’re aware of conflicting brand identities with your business that are holding you back, it’s time to straighten things out and begin consolidating your brand equity.

2. User experience and user flow on your website.

A poor user experience can leave visitors feeling frustrated and lost. If your website doesn’t effectively communicate your brand, if it sends users down rabbit holes as they struggle to find key information, or if it takes too many steps for a user to complete a purchase, they may get distracted or abandon their shopping carts.

Optimizing your website can involve a lot of things. It may mean rethinking your navigation, improving your shopping cart process, or restructuring the navigation flow of your website. It also may take some trial and error to tune everything just right. One thing you can be sure of, however: making a start now will be a move in the right direction.

3. Ecommerce customization: search and shopping cart.

2020 has been a huge year for growth in ecommerce, and not all websites have caught up. Many of those businesses who were already online before 2020 have been so overwhelmed by orders and that they haven’t had time to upgrade website to handle the increased load. And many of those who had to move online quickly still need to transition from their temporary solutions to a more long-term plan.

Unfortunately, every month that goes by with an insufficient ecommerce system is a month of lost sales and business opportunities. Putting the priority on ecommerce now means a full year of improved sales and customer relations. Some areas of improvement to start with first? Apart from improved navigation (which we mentioned earlier), businesses should look to improved search functions, such as elastic search, and custom shopping cart solutions, like subscribe and save programs.

4. Automated email customer support and feedback.

With more business being conducted online, businesses need to be more proactive in managing their online customer relationships. Fortunately, there are automated solutions that can solve this problem for you.

Email automation isn’t just for marketing outreach. It’s also for managing relationships with clients and customers. Are your customers abandoning their carts? Set up an email to reach out and offer help. Want to know what your customers think of you? Automate a feedback request to bring in testimonials or learn about areas of improvement.

5. Video for branding, products and services, and testimonials.

With each passing year, video becomes a more central part of online engagement. As it grows ever more affordable, users both expect and rely on video to grow their trust in a brand.

Video can serve any number of applications. You can use short, seconds-long clips on product pages to showcase an item. Longer videos can introduce visitors to your brand, give a demonstration of your software, or share a story about the impact your non-profit is having in your community.

6. High-quality downloadable guides to your business and products.

Many customers want something from your website they can take with them when they leave. Downloadable PDFs such as buyer’s guides, articles, or product catalogs are popular options for many users.

A downloadable guide is also a way to gather email leads for your business. Anyone who downloads a PDF from your website is a highly engaged lead who may be just a small interaction away from becoming your customer. Downloadable content as lead generators are a proven strategy for many of our clients to help win over new customers.

In 2021, websites are more central to businesses than ever.

There’s no shortage of things you could be doing to improve your website and online marketing this year. But one thing is for certain: you should be doing something. If you’d like to learn more about the possibilities available to you, or if you’d like to get a professional recommendation on where your business should focus its efforts, contact us. We will happily schedule a call with you to discuss your business, your goals, and possible solutions to improve your website.

Published 01/13/21 by Laura Lynch