03 Oct The Big Question (Why Do We Run our Own Business)?
Why? Why do we do it? Why do we run our own businesses? Why do we work the long hours? Why do we deal with the obnoxious customers?
We do it because for some reason we find that the greater value is in the purpose or in the pleasure of running our own business. We find that what we receive from it is far greater reward than the long nights that we suffer through it. In essence, we do it because it makes us feel good.
Why, then, do our customers do what they do? Why do they search for things online? Why do they scour the Internet? Why do they, in a perfect world, visit our websites, review our products, and look at our services, and then perhaps contact us?
They, like us, do it because at some point it will help them feel good. It will solve a problem. It will provide an opportunity. It will enable them to do something they hadn’t been able to before.
Whatever their individual reasons or purposes, it simply comes down to this. They trust us when they do business with us believing that, then having left us, their lives will be at least a little bit better. The question for you now is: Is it?
One of the most common problems I see, when reviewing business websites online today, is that the information and content is presented in such a way as to showcase what the business owner wants people to see. At face value this seems like a good idea. However, from a customer point of view it’s not always so.
If a customer is to spend the time looking through our products, looking through our services to answer a need, a problem, and find a solution that they’re after, we should make it as easy as possible for them to find what they want, not just have us show what we want. In an ideal world we should merge the two of them together.
So let’s talk for one moment about the home page of your website and why it is set out in such a way. First things first, when someone arrives on your home page and they look at the section on their screen called ‘above the fold’ (before they scroll down), they should feel within three to five seconds an impression of who you are and what you do. This is done through images and through text and, of course, colour.
Here is the first opportunity for you to connect at a deeper, more emotional level with your customer. They either like you in an instant or they don’t: if they don’t, they may scroll down just a moment, but not likely. Chances are they’ll have a quick glance, read one or two things, and then leave.
If they like what they see, they will scroll down, and within the first glance of that page it’s so vitally important that you capture their attention with a strong headline. This headline can be presented in the text or within an image. Be careful if you choose to use a sliding image with multiple pictures, because this dilutes the strength of your message. In fact, research shows it does not help your conversions at all.
I recommend one strong image with a captured headline, which illustrates in a second what it is that you do and what they will get from doing business with you.
Then, as they scroll down, they should be presented with your primary products and services. This is the meeting of two minds. This is what you want them to see. It’s also, hopefully, what they are looking for.
The content on your home page should be based on your assessment of your most valuable products and services as a business, the ones that your customers are most likely to be looking for. They are, for you, the most profitable opportunities. They are, for the customers, the things they want most. These can be presented in just a few paragraphs, perhaps one, two, or three columns illustrating what they offer, illustrating what you offer, and how they can get it.
Here’s the rule. Everything that your customers are looking for should be able to be found within one click of your home page, just one click, no more. If they’re looking for it, show it to them. Give it to them. Make it easy.
But the exception to the rule is this. Do not clutter your home page with everything. Showcase your primary products or primary services. What is the 20% of your business that provides you with the 80% of your income? What are your core products? Showcase these.
These are the rules for a very simple home page!
When customers come to you, they have a question, they have a need, and they have a desire. They have a want. You have to answer it in an instant. What are they after and why? Think of it from this point of view. What do my customers want, and what else might they also want related to this?
That’s how you drive your content. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
Lastly, wrapping up, the most important thing, of course, is a good strong call to action. It’s nice to ask people to read things, but you also have to ask them to do things. Do this and your conversions should increase overnight.
First Published at PaulBarrs.com