What is the purpose of a website? You will get an excessive number of answers depending on who you ask. Some websites are designed to help you feature on Google, others might be for credibility purposes, and some are for the sale of products and services directly from the website. Regardless of what your answer is, they all come down to one thing in the end, selling!
That being pointed out, there are a number of different design trends every other year, and keeping up with them can be gruelling. That being said, there are 7 reliable methods to sell services online through your small business website.
Sell Services or Products Online? Check out these website design tips
Have your contact form or opt-in above the fold
The top half of your website is ‘Above the fold’. It is the first area seen by people. A substantial portion of your website visitors will look at this area and decide straight away whether they plan to stay or leave. That is why it is vital that you place your contact form or opt-in there. It will be visible to the majority of your website traffic.
Clear big picture selling your service or product
Being visual creatures, about 90 percent of all our information is communicated through our eyes. We impulsively believe things we can imagine or see, even if the information isn’t all true or accurate.
To give you an example, take this analogy; when we take our cars to the garage we want to believe that the mechanic in greasy overall’s does a better job fixing our car than the one in the clean overalls. We believe he must have got covered in grease because he got into the nitty gritty and fixed our cars, meanwhile the amount of grease on the overalls has little to do with his ability.
Having a clear high-resolution image at the top of your website, which demonstrates your product or services purpose, benefits and fulfils the customer’s intent or need, provides suggestive clues to the visitor which allow them to start imagining how completing the purchase will make them feel. This works for selling products and services.
Product example; selling a lawnmower. Is it better to have an image of a lawnmower against a white background, or using an image of that same lawnmower being used by a smiling person on a glorious summer day – Ice cold drink in hand! I know which would grab my attention the most!
Services example; Fitness Instructing. Having photos of happy, healthy and successful looking clients emphasises your customers’ desires to contact you. They want to be like those customers! Whereas, technical drawings of muscles or somebody slugging away on a treadmill doesn’t connote the right emotions.
A ‘fresh-looking design’ simply implies not having a dated site. If I take a glance at your website and can tell that it is out of date, you would lose my trust. Why would I approach an accountant that has a website from the 1990’s? Is your knowledge of the tax laws limited to the 1990’s as well?
Your website is the physical equivalent of what your business is all about today! Are you dressed in a stylish blazer and rocking kicks, or are you in sweatpants with 2-day old stains on them?
Crafting and designing a great website design is not easy. Work with the professionals that understand the latest trends, can work with with you to create a design which enhances your customers experience and ensure your website is built with highest quality and cleanest code!
Social handles clearly prevalent with following and activity
Most human beings are natural skeptics – particularly when it involves parting ways with hard earned cash. For that reason, as a customer I’m on the lookout for two things when I check your website out;
First, all the reasons I should trust you…
Second, all the reasons why I shouldn’t.
Being a customer, it is my responsibility to make the best choice for myself; hence I want to rule you out as a potential option if I get a chance. Making the decisions easy for me is your responsibility.
One way of achieving this is having your social media handles clearly visible on your site – As a customer this builds a degree of trust in me. Similarly, when I do click over to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest page I want to see some activities. I want to see regular posts, customers’ engagements, answering customer support. If you do all of those things, then I’m sure of an easy contact point whenever I need one. Simply put, I know there is a reliable human still behind the business that I can communicate with – If I ever needed to.
I got a little bit of advice from one of my old friends whom is a long-term entrepreneur, “99.99 percent of people don’t want to fall onto invoice #1”. People want to be certain that you’ve been doing this for years and you are a professional. On your website, you want to show people that they made the correct decision.
There are diverse ways of being social proof, highlighted below are just a few examples of social proofing.
Blog article social shares
1473 reviews on yelp with a 4.4-star rating
Testimonials clearly visible
Although testimonials are a form of social proof, they deserve a category on their own. Your customers are not scared to spend money, provided they have a need and you can communicate the benefits. If they are visiting your website, then there is a big chance that they really want to buy and are already showing some intent.
What they are scared of however is ‘wasting’ their money. Customers don’t want to encounter poor service, poor quality, or a poor experience. That is why having testimonials on your product or service is a phenomenal way to ease their fears.
A customer wants to be certain that you’ve had clients just like them and understand how to handle their problems. Even as you and I both know that almost all of your clients’ problems are similar, to that customer they think their situation is special and very personal.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked as a marketing expert “I see you have great results in X industry but have you ever handled Y industry?… it is different after all”.
Although a fairly trivial question, as X & Y industries might in reality be quite similar, customers in B2B settings are bred in their own culture to believe their business is ‘unique’ in every possible way. This presents an element of fear, if they aren’t sure if you really understand their industry and therefore also fear they will be ‘wasting’ their money as you won’t achieve the same results. Your job is to ease that fear.
For example, for Square Media the reality is that for most businesses, tried and tested marketing techniques will work. Sure, there will be scenario’s where there are special considerations and we might have to adapt certain techniques for a audience or niche, but the fundamental marketing principles do not change – regardless of the industry.
As the king of the internet, Google sets the rules of the land. One of those extremely important rules is the ‘rule of relevance’. Google wants to make the best and most relevant websites and content appear at the top for the person making the search. The more they do this, the more money they are able to make as businesses compete through advertising.
When you type ‘plumber near me’ into Google for example, it will show every plumber that operates within your current location. If I live in Northamptonshire, I obviously don’t want a plumber that operates exclusively in London to feature in my search results.
By displaying your areas of operation, you will maximise the amount of relevant and local traffic which visits your website. If you operate in Northamptonshire; Say so!, if you operate in London; Say so! It is really important you communicate this to your audience, not only for their ease of knowing that you are local, but also because if you don’t include this information, Google and other search engines won’t know either!
Furthermore, featuring all of those locations with a strong presence on other sites such as Google +, Yelp, Trip advisor, and Social Media helps too – As these all provide valuable Social Signals to Search Engines and visitors.
Based in Northamptonshire, we offer professional Design, Development & Marketing services that help businesses increase their competitive edge, foster growth into new markets and overcome business challenges. Work with the experts at Square Media!
“Brilliant and supportive service to create a fresh website for my hotel. The guys were very clear and knowledgeable, offering full support and always listening to my input. Can't wait to see the results of the finished product!”
“Extremely professional but friendly to.We said what we wanted but it turned out even better than we could have wished for. You will not be sorry letting them design your website. And a great back up package to. Thanks”
Owner | The Flower Factory
“I am very pleased with the work SM has done for me. I'm a writer, not a publicist - in fact where that matters I am a complete dweeb. The website was fantastic, the suggestions apt and to the point. It's the first time I've had associates actually shove stuff in my face & say 'do this' - most of the literary crowd tend to be more of a 'whatever' mentality - which when you are a muppet, doesn't help matters. Thanks, SM. You are just what I needed.”
We're a creative marketing agency based between Kettering and Corby, in Northamptonshire. We work with our clients to carefully craft brands, create meaningful identities and conduct marketing campaigns that deliver real business results.
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