What Makes or Breaks a Small Business Website
Often overlooked by business owners, but many times this one thing is the deal-breaker.
Although great videos and killer images are important for making a great website that gets customers, there is one thing much more important to the small business website. Though it is often overlooked by most people because it isn't as flashy or noticeable at first glance, this element is vitally important to make sure your website does what it is supposed to (showcase why you are special, and get business). The reason why this element is often sub-par is due to the fact that it is probably the hardest part to perfect and get exactly right: your messaging. What you say, how you say it, and how you address the visitor/customer will overshadow any nice videos or epic images, and ultimately determine your success. So, seeing how difficult it is, and how many business owners aren't sure where to start, here are some tips to help you get the proper messaging for your exact audience.
1. Know Your Mission: who are you, what do you do, and why do you exist? This sounds basic, but if you can't write it out in a simple and clear sentence, how will you be able to effectively communicate this to visitors on your website? If they do not understand what you can do for them, and why your business is important to them within a few seconds, they will most likely leave and not return. So, sitting down and clarifying this before you pop up a website is a crucial step in messaging.
2. Communicate their Problem: customers are looking for someone who can solve their problems. Identify the problem you solve, and make sure to concisely communicate this problem to the visitor. Your words must be focused. The visitor may not even be totally aware of the problem they have, making this very difficult. However, the best websites find a way to help the customer clearly see what their problem is. This should be done immediately on the first page, so they know what you do and can determine if you can indeed fix their problem(s). If they are foggy on this, or you're not speaking to the heart of their problem and get them to say "aha" or "yes, yes,", then they will not take action and will leave.. forever.
3. Communicate your Solution: once you have clearly shown the problem, you need to quickly pivot to how you solve this problem for them and will make their world a much better place. Focus not on what YOU do, but on what the result will be for THEM. Let's say you own a landscaping business and are looking to gain lawn mowing contracts. Most people would be tempted to message phrases that focus on what they do, saying things like "we'll mow your yard," or "we trim hedges." Although this does describe some of what you do in this case, it doesn't speak to the customer's true solution, which probably isn't just cutting the yard. There is a deeper need that can be spoken to that will get much better results. The deeper needs probably are along the lines of needing more free time (or not having enough time to care for their lawn), and making their lawn and yard look stunning without all the hassle. In this case, communicating messages like "have the best-looking lawn in the neighborhood," and "no more time and hassle on your yard" will get better results. You can then further tell them how you'll do this, but that is secondary.
4. Be Concise: as stated before, using as few words as possible, in a memorable way is vital on a website. Think of it more like a billboard than a novel. People only take a few seconds to look at billboards, and your website visitors need to get your message just as quickly. Careful crafting of words, slogans, phrases, and how these will call them to action are extra important, and can definitely make or break your small business website.