When visitors arrive at your website you have a handful of seconds to convince them they’ve come to the right place. Whether or not they stay on your site is up to them, but the impression they get in those precious seconds is up to you. Your immediate objective should be to make them feel at home.
If you’re not sure of what I mean by that, take a moment to think about times when you’ve felt totally comfortable in a place that was brand new to you. While searching for a new residence, have you ever walked into a place for the first time and had the immediate feeling of being home? That’s it, exactly.
While a home needs only one buyer, your website needs to make lots of people (and probably different types of people) feel at home. Here is a three-part quiz you can use to review how welcoming your website is.
1. Have you determined your business goals for the website?
“Wait! Goals? We were talking about the beginning. Now we’re at the end! What happened?“
Yes, we’re working backwards here. If you don’t have goals for your website, there is no way it can achieve them.
That may sound a little snarky, but the truth is that if you don’t have expectations for what your website will achieve as an active part of your marketing strategy, you are unlikely to end up with anything more than a digital brochure that speaks AT your visitors and gets nothing from them. That’s not anyone’s home.
Solution: Work backwards from your goals to create a path that will lead visitors to them.
Here’s how you get started creating that path.
2. Have you aligned your website goals with your customers’ needs?
Many people give lip service to this, but don’t put it into practice.
Understanding who your customers are is basic marketing. For your website, you have to dig a little deeper into who these people are. Once you’ve determined what kinds of people are most likely to do business with you (customer segments), develop written personas that describe each of them in-depth so you can speak directly to each of them.
The tricky part about your website is that it needs to speak to all these different types of people and make each one feel at home. For each customer segment you need to reach, put yourself in their shoes and gain an understanding of their most essential needs. Ask yourself…
- Why are they coming here?
- What do they want?
- What will they look for here?
- How can I give it to them?
- How can I give it to them in such a way that it leads them down the path I have created to accomplish my goals?
Solution: Understand your various customer segments and make your website welcoming to them.
Here’s how you make them feel welcome.
3. Do you have relevant content elements at the top of the page so visitors can immediately identify it as a place where they will find what they want?
Remember, you have different types of people coming to your website. Using the personas you’ve written, identify what they will be looking for. These welcoming cues will fall into four major categories:
Within each category you have several options. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
- Logo that expresses your brand identity
- Image that is visually attractive to your target customer segments
- Special offer
- Tagline that distinguishes you from your competition
- Unique selling proposition so they know what you offer
- Legitimate promise you can make to every customer that is relevant to them
- Easy to digest copy that puts you on your customer’s side
- Copy that will help you get found by another key member of your audience: Google.
- Phone number
- Video to introduce your business, product, service, or you
- Audio (music, voice, both)
- Twitter or Facebook feed
- RSS feed
- Social media icons that link to your profiles
You may not need to incorporate all of the above elements. Use the personas you’ve developed to decide which are most relevant to the customer segments you need to reach. Whichever elements you decide to use, make sure they align your goals with your audiences’ needs to create one clear statement, “Welcome home.”
Share your thoughts on how to make website visitors feel at home in the comments section. Need help making your website visitors feel at home? Contact me, Meyer Baron, at 727-235-2841.