The magic of websites. The opportunity to go beyond geographic boundaries. Connect with a broader audience. Win the search engine lottery.
Of all the website benefits, search is the most intoxicating. But effective search engine optimization isn't easy. It takes time effort and resources. If you view it as unrealistic, it likely impacts how you invest in your overall site - fewer updates, revisions and improvements.
But your website doesn't sit in a vacuum waiting for the cyberspace Gods to connect you with a search query. Although an effectively designed and optimized site connects you with prospects you never imagined, it does much more. A Website goes far beyond search. It acts as a digital customer service rep. And just like the real life version, it can endear you to current customers, help you connect with new prospects and drive new revenues.
Website Benefits - The Digital Customer Service Rep
What happens when a customer calls your office? If they need your mailing address or shipping information you quickly answer their question. More detailed inquiries route to subject matter experts. Regardless of the topic, you discover their needs and provide useful answers.
Your website should perform a similar function. Answer common questions. Provide service and capability details. Offer the kind of information sharing/gathering that you conduct on the phone or in person.
Make sure your site has:
- Updated information - Generic, dated information can chase off website visitors faster than a malfunctioning phone system.
- Understandable Navigation - Is your navigation intuitive guiding a user to where they need to go? Do you have fewer than seven top level headings? Are you using words and phrases your customers' know and understand?
- Images - Do you have images throughout the site? Are they engaging and interesting?
Would you ever greet someone in an unkind way? Not likely. But an uninviting website conveys the unkind greeting that you would never make in person or on the phone. You might not be able to make your website smile, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be friendly.
Unlike A Customer Service Rep, The Digital Version Is Available Anywhere, Anytime
Your site works when you don't. Powered with the data your audience needs, it provides them answers on their schedule. That schedule might be in a line at the grocery store or in the lobby at the dentist. Is your site mobile optimized?
What would happen if your office only took calls from land lines? How many conversations would you miss? How much business would you lose?
A non-mobile optimized website creates the same risk. And although you may believe that few customers use a mobile device to access your website, there are plenty of statistics that indicate otherwise.
Website Benefits - Nurturing Referrals
A referral from a customer creates a great opportunity for new business. If you have an in person or phone conversation you effectively convey your capabilities, the benefits you offer and how you can handle their needs. All executed by a personable, knowledgeable person that understands the prospects' needs and conveys a viable solution in a energetic effective way. Although the prospect may not become a customer, the odds are good.
But today, most prospects don't pick up the phone, instead they will check you out online. Will your website invite them in and get them to look at your capabilities? And if they do, will they understand your capabilities and how it may fit their needs? Buyers judge you by your website, will they think highly of you after an online visit. Evaluate your site:
- Do they get a positive first impression on their desktop and mobile device?
- Does it contain easy to understand product, services and capabilities information
- Is it concise and written in their language?
- Does it reinforce the confidence the customer that referred them has in you?
Contact information, location and answers to common questions not only make it easy for a customer to quickly get the information they need, it strengthens your relationship. Every company can gain competitive ground by making things easier for its' customers. Plus a positive experience makes it more likely that they'll refer an associate.
Take a look at the key points on your site:
- Is your contact information visible on each page and easy to find with a quick glance?
- Can you easily find a contact link?
- Does the contact page include your phone number - that is answered during business hours? Are your business hours published? Do you show your street and mailing address. Is there a simple email or form they can fill out if they need more info?
- Do you have common questions answered in an easy to find page?
- Have you discussed the typical inquiries your customer service or support team receive and included those questions and answers? Is the information up to date? Do the instructions you provide actually work?