Some small business owners make the mistake of trying to make their small businesses look larger, as though customer are judging them by their size alone. In fact, most customers prefer a small company who gives good customer services and delivers quality products, than one that is too big to service all of their customers needs. Therefore when operating a website presence, companies can display key information that lets customers see the business’s personality, uniqueness, and quality-driven service. That is, displaying your uniqueness, instead of your size is truly what customer want to see your website.
No matter what type of company you operate, you can display your uniqueness and character. Most importantly, smaller companies are able to be more creative with their websites than most big companies. According to Kelly Cutler, Chief Executive of a Chicago based website consulting firm, “People want character….Tell your story line.” She also stated that customers want to know who your employees are, as well as a little about their experience. This helps customers familiarize themselves more about your company, and learn who all of the players are.
So the question is, what are customers looking for when visiting your website?
1. Clarity in what your company has to offer. Sadly there are a lot of companies that have a website, however there is little information about their services, or what they have to offer. Customer are not quite sure what to make of website, let alone the company. Businesses should think like a customer, and then tailor their websites accordingly. Most importantly, the website’s homepage is where customers are looking for basic information about the company. Therefore you should utilize your homepage to display general information about what you have to offer regarding any products or services. Then the product or service should be specifically linked to another page that gives full details on that particular item. You don’t have to give too much information on the homepage because of competitor issues. However, you should have enough information to where your customer will feel comfortable in buying from you.
2. What makes you so special? According to Alice Brendin, President of a company that helps big businesses market themselves to small businesses, states that you should provide information regarding, “What is unique about your business?”. Also, you should answer the customers question of “Why should I buy from you?” Interestingly enough, business owners have not taken the time to evaluate and ultimately answer these question because they have not thought about it themselves. This is the key reason why this vital information is not included in their websites to begin with. More importantly, such information should include management bios, years or experience in your particular industry, and all unique attributes that make you different. This is the type of information that customers want to see on a website
3. Provide contact information such as an physical address and phone number. There are many small business websites that believe that they should not have to include such information because customers can conduct all business online. However, they fail to realize that providing such information builds trust and credibility with their customers. Wayne Porter, co-founder of an online marketing publication states, “A phone number, a street address, and even pictures go a long way toward building credibility.” Customers feel that you are a legitimate business and feel more comfortable with doing business with you. Most often, customers will never tell you that they are uncomfortable with the lack of information. Instead, they will just take their dollar somewhere else.
4. Place customer or third-party validation statements on your website. Customers feel more confident in your services when they are able to read positive information such as customer testimonials, awards and recognitions, client list, or news clippings. Also the new trend toward building credibility according to Porter, is to have a online presence on blogs and networking sites. This is especially good when you are able to have a positive influence in your particular industry.
5. Use privacy protection software. One of the most important things that customers want to see on a your website is that you are sensitive to their concerns regarding the safety of their information. The main concern of most online consumers is the fact that they are worried about identity theft, credit card theft, etc. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the business to communicate to their customers that privacy protection measures are in place. Using software products such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), helps to keep customer’s information safe while exchanging information over the internet. You may also display any other efforts that are made to protect your customers information as well.