As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we’re proud of our self-made success—and we should be! It takes a lot of determination and grit to get to where we are.
But entrepreneurs and small business owners often think too objectively when it comes to their website. Here are three ways they miss the mark:
- Feel they only need to share what it is they do or provide or facts about why they are qualified.
- Focus on the product or service specs, not on how it can make their customers’ lives better.
- Get lost in the humble—or not so humble—brags about their accomplishments, state-of-the-art facility, high tech or highly educated team.
- Lose the story of how you connect with customers and the passion their business gets lost in marketing activities.
Make your website more suited to your target market
This is not at all what your customers want in a website, nor is it how people make decisions to purchase or revisit your business. These three great ways will make your e-commerce site more about your customers, and less about you:
ONE: Use empathy-based marketing.
Empathy-based marketing has become a much-talked-about topic since COVID-19 hit. It was around before then, but it’s really gained momentum in the past six months.
Basically, empathy-based marketing means thinking like your customers, and putting yourself in their shoes. (It sounds similar to compassion, which is related to sympathy).
For example, a retail store that serves a wide range of age groups, but elderly people aren’t coming in as often. You think like one of your customers. Maybe you’re tired, or frail or extremely anxious about COVID-19 because you’re immunocompromised.
So, as an empathetic small business owner, you update your site content to suit your target market. You create store signage for this segment of your audience. Between 8 and 9 am, your store is going to open just for people over the age of 65. Everything will be sanitized, there will be free coffee and staff will be available to help people shop.
A real-world example! When hundreds of Delta Airlines passengers had to sit for hours on runways due to extreme weather, the airline ordered hundreds of pizzas. The passengers were in a much better mood. And following that experience, they were more likely to use Delta again or give positive feedback thanks to the extra-cheesy empathy.
TWO: Don’t build an e-commerce site for yourself.
Often when small business owners are building their e-commerce site, they concentrate on the design aspects they prefer. Liking the color green or having a collection of already-purchased images from a stock photo site are not good reasons to make them part of your e-commerce site.
It’s all about doing the research before you make a website for your target market. It’s important to do an in-depth analysis of things like:
- Your target audience. You want to know your customers. Are they middle-aged, high-income empty nesters? Or tech-savvy, time-strapped moms? You need to speak their language; show them you care and get to know them.
- Your target market’s values. If a questionnaire you send to your clients shows the majority of them are very concerned about sustainability and the environment, images of happy people drinking out of disposable coffee cups could be a deterrent.
- Your competitors. You don’t want to copy a site design from a competitor in your space—you always want to be unique! ??This is why I frown upon purchasing a pre-made theme. It’s been used by hundreds if not thousands of others. As a result, your unique brand will not stand out. But doing proper research can give you an idea of the look and feel that your audience might gravitate towards.
Consumers are online more than ever. And that is a good reason to be online now more than ever. Once forced to buy online because of COVID-19, many consumers will continue to do their shopping online. They will become accustomed to the experience and convenience.
Your target audience is spending so much time online. These are some common problems that often come up. Apply them to your website design to improve your e-commerce store.
THREE: Keep everything simple.
It’s easy to get caught up in giving our customers lots of options. Often the when we are telling the story of our brand, we don’t even realize we’ve created utter chaos!
Before you begin posting content or products, it’s crucial to map out your navigation. Adding multiple drop-down menus or tabs as you go, without a well-thought-out plan, is a recipe for disaster.
When you make a website for your target market, every image, piece of content and CTA should have a purpose.
Bold, concise headlines will draw attention, while long chunks of copy will look overwhelming. What customers want in a website is a clear path to a call-to-action to gently guide them, not randomly placed buttons.
And don’t be afraid of white space! Clean areas of white space will do wonders for your site. White space makes your copy much more readable and creates a contrast with your other elements that visitors love.
Tell your website visitors what you want them to do (CTA)
By cleaning up the clutter and guiding people towards your products or services through sensible navigation, you offer a much more enjoyable experience than hitting them with walls of copy, multiple drop-down options and muddy CTAs.
I hope this gives you a clearer idea of what customers want in a website. By truly listening to your audience with an empathetic ear, you can create a connection with your e-commerce site and products or services that will keep them coming back.
If it’s time to give your website an upgrade so it will attract the right people with the right message, hire a professional web development agency who has the understanding of how much psychology plays a role in great web design.
To your business success.