Having a website to support your small business should be a fundamental piece of your marketing plan in 2017. Even bricks-and-mortar stores benefit, as 91% of shoppers have visited the store because of an online experience.
While websites are important to the overall success of small businesses, many business owners are challenged by design and content decisions and frustrated by less-than-desirable site metrics. Stagnant traffic trends, low conversions rates and sky-rocketing bounce rates may seem tough to overcome, but there is hope. A quick inventory to identify gaps and missing pieces can make your website your strongest marketing tool.
Ready to get started? Go ahead and open up your website in another tab, get your note-taking tools ready and let’s look at the top five reasons your website may be pushing customers away.
1. Your website isn’t mobile friendly.
More and more people are searching the Web using their smartphone. In fact, in late 2016, worldwide mobile browsing surpassed desktop browsing for the first time ever.
What’s that mean for you? Customers are more likely to engage with your business while on their mobile device, and those customers expect to be greeted by a mobile-friendly interface. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly are hard to navigate, and customers will likely experience engagement issues (e.g., they can’t click buttons, read content or advance further into your site).
Fortunately, making your website mobile friendly has become much easier in the past few years. If your site isn’t already mobile friendly, you’ll want to consider employing one or more of the following:
- Conversion platforms like bMobilized, which can convert your desktop site to a mobile-friendly version.
- Mobile plugins, which are especially useful if you’re already utilizing a content management system like WordPress.
- Responsive web design, which will automatically change your site to accommodate the device on which it’s being viewed.
2. No obvious value proposition or customer-based solution.
There are a variety of things that motivate consumers to complete a purchase (price points, shipping policies and general shopping experience), but none are more important than the perceived value your product/service offers and the problem it solves.
It’s true that some consumers simply are out to peruse the market with no real need, but more often than not, customers will come to your website because they are searching for a solution to a problem. Perhaps they need to find a dining solution that offers gluten-free and vegan menu items, or maybe they’re searching for a printing service that offers online ordering and express delivery. Either way, they’re coming to you with a problem and hoping you can solve it.
Consumers searching for those items are more likely to become converting customers if the merchant’s value proposition is concise and easy to identify. Of course, that’s not to say that your home page should be filled with information. Instead, strategically design content to highlight your stronger value propositions while allowing for easy navigation to more in-depth product and service pages. Additionally, as you develop your website, you can design landing pages that appeal to more specific customer needs.
3. Absence of reviews, ratings & testimonials.
Consumers can find merchants by typing a few keywords into a search bar and hitting enter. However, when page upon page of results is returned, it’s often difficult to sift through them to find the best product or service provider.
So how do consumers go about finding the best product to suit their needs? A whopping 82% of adults in the U.S. say that they sometimes read online customer reviews before they make a purchase, and 40% of them always read them before making a purchase. Those are some telling statistics.
Whether you’re selling products or services, including reviews on the product page or adding a testimonial page to your website can greatly increase buyer confidence and conversion.
4. Contact information is hard to find or inaccessible from your home page.
A decade ago, the yellow pages may have been a feasible way for consumers to hunt down your physical location and phone number, but that’s definitely no longer the case. Instead, today’s tech-savvy, smartphone-owning consumers are searching the Web to find the information they need.
Consumers want (or demand) quick and easy access to information that will help them contact or locate your business and that includes easy to find click-to-call phone numbers, navigation friendly map coordinates and efficient online contact forms.
When evaluating the availability and accessibility of this information, it’s also important to keep the importance of mobile-friendly features in mind, as many consumers want to be able to access this information straight from their smartphones.
5. No social media buttons.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide small businesses with free or low-cost brand awareness and exposure. If you’re not currently including social media platforms in your marketing strategy, it’s definitely time to consider taking the plunge.
Assuming you are present on at least one of the top social media platforms, your website should include social media buttons, especially ones that allow existing and potential customers to quickly share your content across their social media accounts.
Strategically placing these buttons on your website will give your current and potential customers a direct line of access between your site and their social accounts. For merchants, this means more customer-based brand awareness and exposure: free advertising. Additionally, similar to reviews and testimonials, customers that are happy with your product or service are more likely to share their experience when that functionality is easily accessible from your site.
Creating and maintaining a website that converts can be a challenge, but including these five things on your small business website can jump-start your online efforts by increasing traffic, decreasing bounce rates and ultimately meeting your online and offline conversion goals.
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