Is your website designed to meet business objectives?
It’s a question every business owner needs to ask themselves, according to Farwest Seminar speaker Timothy D. Howard, president of Clarity Connect Inc.
Business websites are often designed to provide good content or look attractive, but these are not business objectives. Business objectives might include increasing order size and frequency, generating leads, increasing margins, providing better customer service, or positioning the company as a subject matter expert in order to build customer trust.
And to do these things, the website should clearly communicate the key services and benefits your business provides. Although these are obvious things, they often go unstated on many business websites.
“The people who know you may know you grow a good plant, but if you’re only interested in selling to current customers, maybe you don’t need a website,” Howard said.
Benefits must be stated in language the customer understands and would use in a search. If you are a landscaper, for example, don’t talk about “irrigation” — talk about “sprinkler systems.”
“Quit talking your smart language and start talking the language of your customers.”
Aside from these core principles, Howard covered a number of tricks on a nursery, grower or landscaper website that can increase the time the customer spends on the site and, ultimately, the business the site generates.
Good ideas include a plant calculator showing how many plants the customer needs based on space, a mulch calculator that does the same, information on volume pricing, or a quote request form that gathers good information about the customer. It’s also handy if the site can present the customer’s order history, allow them to duplicate a prior order, or indicate their preferred or drop dead ship date.
Sites should also be kept up to date regularly, from fresh content on down to the page footers (nothing says “stale site” like a copyright date other than the current year). Blogging on the site is often an effective strategy for keeping things fresh and positioning your business as an expert source of information, but “It’s got to be good content, or don’t bother,” Howard siad.