The internet has become a core part of the purchasing process for most businesses. In fact, whether installers are looking for a particular product, hoping to solve a problem, source new information, or looking for the best possible price, your website is fast becoming their first port of call.
However, while online channels provide customers with the information they need to guide their buying decisions, your website must help them to find this in as little time as possible.
At Westco, as well as offering an ever-growing range of over 5,500 product lines, we’re committed to going above-and-beyond through the provision of sales and marketing support. Helping our merchant customers to maximise their revenue.
Over the next few months, Westco Marketing Manager Katie Cullen will be sharing a range of handy guides to help us do this. And, in this latest instalment, we take a look at how merchants can maximise their websites to meet the needs of their customers, and generate those all-important sales.
Top tips for getting the most out of your website
1. Establish what you want it to do
Your website needs a clear purpose, whether that’s as an e-commerce channel, as an online product brochure, to capture new sales leads, or to establish your company as a quality supplier. So, before you write one word or build one page, take the time to figure out exactly what you want your website to do for you.
2. Understand your audience
We keep saying it, but understanding your customers is essential to delivering excellent service and generating business. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to create a website that appeals to them – and more importantly – satisfies their needs. So, if you haven’t already done so, spend some time figuring out the wants, needs and motivations of your customers, and then use your website to demonstrate your understanding of these.
3. Segment your audience
Once you know who you are talking to, identify all the relevant players. For example, there are often a number of different people in the buying process, including the purchaser, the influencer, and the manager – all of who want different information. Audience segmentation will help you to appeal to all the different visitor types, with the right information (white papers, case studies, costs, etc.) to meet their individual needs.
4. Show them what to do
Once you know who your customers are, and what you want them to do when they get to your website – show them how to do it. Make a list of every possible action that you want visitors to do on your site and then rank these in order of importance. Once done, be sure to design your site to facilitate these goals with a strategically placed call-to-action or conversion point on every page.
5. Don’t transfer the company brochure onto your website
It’s tempting, but online marketing presents businesses with a unique set of challenges. And often, what works in print just doesn’t cut it online. Never forget that web visitors are information hungry, impatient and sceptical of ‘fluffy’ marketing speak.
6. Consider the user journey
Usability is one of the most important factors to consider when designing and building your website. The truth is, if people can’t find what they want in a matter of seconds, or if your site is sluggish or difficult to use, then they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.
7. Keep it updated
Far too many businesses create a website and then never update it. But there’s nothing more frustrating for a customer to come to you after finding a price online, only to discover that it hasn’t been reviewed since 2005 and is now 30% more expensive! Think about what must be updated and where you can regularly refresh your site to increase the likelihood of repeat visitors. Which leads us on to…
8. Create a content and engagement strategy
Content such as blogs, guides, infographics, and videos can really help your website to stand out. The more content of value you give away, the more you’ll be seen as an expert in your field, and the more people will return to your site so as not to miss out. A well thought-out engagement and content plan will establish what you want to tell your customers and how you plan to do this. Even better, this approach won’t just generate repeat visitors, but will also appeal those pesky search engines!
9. Be responsive
Your website is no longer being viewed solely on desktop computers. With an increase in mobile devices, today’s screen sizes vary enormously, and it’s unlikely that visitors to your traditionally built website are enjoying a consistently positive experience. Today Google cares just as much about the user experience as it does about your content, and, if your website isn’t delivering the optimal viewing experience, it’s likely that your SEO rankings will suffer.
10. Don’t be afraid to show off your achievements
Word of mouth really is the best form of endorsement. As such, customer testimonials, case studies, etc. are invaluable when selling benefits and building credibility. A few words from a satisfied client have far more authority than anything your sales director can say.
In addition to the above website guide, we have also provided some top visual merchandising tips to increase sales in store and a guide to maximising your social media presence.
Keep an eye out on our website and across our social channels for further updates.