26 Aug 6 Better Small Business Website Tips
Consumers demanding better websites
People love their local businesses. Their quality of work, personalized services, reliability, trustworthiness and convenience drive people to local shops day-in, day-out, and are part of the reason why 99.7% of US employer firms are small businesses. Much as they are loved, a recent Yodle survey of 6,000 US adults found that 67% of US consumers want better Websites from Local Businesses. A website is often the first thing a consumer sees before going to a shop, so isn’t it important for Small Businesses to know what consumers want and put their best foot forward?
1. Don’t divorce your customers, use loyalty programs!
First and foremost in the minds of consumers are loyalty programs, offline or online. In addition to the desire of consumers for better websites, Yodle also found that 88% of consumers either expect or appreciate special offers for returning customers. People have come to expect the same marketing pitches that large retailers practice from their Small Businesses, but with sophisticated data collection and analysis available to corporate enterprises, how can small businesses keep up? There are CRMs and other solutions available for Small Business that let you track customer appointments, preferences, schedules and behaviour so that you can target them with the right offers at the right time, or simply market to them when business is too slow for your liking!
2. No need to be brave for these Calls-to-Action
The Yodle survey also found 61% either expect or appreciate the ability to book appointments online. Part of this demand accompanies a crucial element of appointment booking: its function as a “Call-to-Action” (CTA). CTAs encompass sets of features that also include the ability to live chat or click-to-call with a business, as well as tools for saving or sharing listing information like an address and phone number. They are integrated with a website or social media page and prompt browsers to click and immediately start building a relationship with a business, rather than only perusing for information. With a conversion rate higher than 2% of visitors for click-to-call, and 40% of those calls resulting in sales, Calls-to-Action grab the attention of a customer and bring them into a Small Business before they even think to look somewhere else!
3. Online Payments (They’re not just about the money)
Ever in pursuit of convenience and automation, 61% of consumers also either expect or appreciate Online Payment from their local businesses. Greg Sterling at Screenwerk.com sees this as an example of why services like Uber and Lyft are eating up market share from conventional taxis. The ability to pay when already engaged with a business’ website or Facebook page can be integral to converting more visitors into customers, and particularly in taking capturing the whims of impulse buyers or simply making a customer feel more convenienced by getting payment all the way. Integrating with Paypal is one way to accomplish this, as its payment processing fees are minimal and it uses all major bank accounts and credit cards.
4. Don’t be shy, welcome online reviews
76% of consumers either expect or appreciate being able to access Online Reviews about a local business, while 62% feel the same way about the ability to leave reviews. Too often, Small Businesses fear the effect of negative reviews and shy away from feedback, but the Yodle study shows that 80% of reviewers are motivated by positive responses, while 28% are motivated by the feeling that they have “found a hidden gem”! For a gem to no longer be hidden, it’s crucial that Small Businesses connect their Facebook, Yelp, Google and other social media pages in order to manage reviews and allow people to see great feedback on their business.
5. Read the signs, Improve Web Design
We believe that at the root of this lies a demand for more engaging web design from Small Businesses, as 67% consumers want web design to improve within the next twelve months. Consumers have grown comfortable with the sleek look and integrated interactions that come from major electronics products and web services like those from Apple, Samsung and Google. They now expect that same ease, comfort and simplicity at their fingertips no matter what product or service they’re interacting with. It’s incumbent upon small businesses to improve their web design, particularly when 46% of mobile-users report problems viewing a non-responsive website. All this while 34% of the 2 billion mobile searchers in 2015 will search with the intention to purchase. Improving design doesn’t require a huge investment, just enough to let customers show you care!
6. Don’t be content with your Web Content
More engaging design can’t do everything alone however, as sleek and engaging bells and whistles need meaningful content to back it up. When 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that offer custom content, Small Businesses need to take notice. Local businesses ought to use their blogging and social media capabilities to communicate changes, ask for specific feedback, expound on their values and manage the expectations of their community. When people are increasingly posting and commenting on big issues that affect their day-to-day lives, shouldn’t the businesses they depend on participate in that conversation as well?
Letting Local be more Local
Customers want to get closer to the local businesses they are already close to, and a substantial percentage of them want to see online experiences better meet their needs within the next twelve months. The more ways a customer gets information, books appointments, leaves commentary and builds a relationship online, the more likely they are to keep coming back. In an environment where Small Business Owners get more than 50% of their revenue from loyal customers, responding to what they want is key to Small Business success.