Your business may feature the best products or services that anyone can offer, but it isn’t run by robots, code, and servers. The old adage that people like to do business with people, not companies, is correct. No matter how advanced your systems, product, and practices are, at its core your business was started by real people and is hopefully managed by talented individuals.
Make Your Website About Your People
You likely work in a space of some kind that is frequented by others; you likely have vendors, customers, and employees. You have plans as you move forward, and have made decisions in the past. All of these facts add up to you being ‘Real People’, and give great reasons why others will want to do business with you. In a world where more and more business tasks are being automated, every chance you have to show that you are just like your customers, you should take it. Customers are always looking for expert assistance, and will trust that you have the expertise they require to answer their questions, and that you are easily approachable, if you show it on your website.
There are four webpages that are often overlooked, because you see them so often, but these are great opportunities to show your visitors that you are “real people,” with a strong desire to help them with their pain: About Us, Contact, Terms of Service and Privacy. Take your time to make these pages stand out from all others in your niche – it will pay off if you are transparent, open, and caring.
The ‘About Us’ page is your opportunity to say exactly what you want to about your business, your company history, and the future. Be warm and welcoming, and take the opportunity to introduce yourself. Even in today’s wired (or wireless!) world, ‘About Us’ pages are still one of the most visited areas of any site. If you are trying to attract sales prospects, it is here that they generally go to first, so make it about them – even though it’s clearly labelled “About Us.”
This will take some thought to perfect and keep it from appearing self-serving and boring. Use your testimonials here, and include social links.
If a prospect’s wishes when contacting you are unknown, then the way that they prefer to get in touch with you are equally opaque. There are a myriad of choices available, and you should be able to fill all possible requests: E-mail, phone, Live Chat, Skype, smoke signal…
Too often, today, Companies ignore this vital contact system, which is another opportunity to show that you care about your clientele by dealing with their requests in their favorite way when possible. Put this information in a prominent, easy to understand, and dedicated page.
Your Analytics will begin show you which are your most popular pages almost immediately after launch, and you will soon understand how people navigate your site overall. You can then tweak and re-design as required to make their online experience the optimally enjoyable one, but always make it easy for them to figure out how to contact you.
TERMS OF SERVICE
In today’s ‘wired world’, businesses have many advantages in offering more and more events, temptations, and specials to entice buyers to stick with them, and not their competition. Of course, this has led to a much more sophisticated buying public; a public that is aware of the minutiae of today’s online business. Protect yourself, and your customers, by being clear on how you can help your customers and what delineations or parameters are in place for purchases, follow ups, etc.
Just as you did with your contact page, ensure that these are clearly available on your site, are easily understood, and can be achieved by both you and your customer: The more pre-purchase answers that can be offered to prospects, or those that are upgrading their existing relationship with you, the better. Obviously, showing these Terms of Service also make you more trustworthy, and – in a world where everyone has a website – means that you to stand out from the crowd and make the overall purchasing experience an enjoyable one.
If the above points appear to be obvious, this one follows the same logic. Namely, that the more data being shared by the buying public, the more danger they feel there exists for personal information to fall into the wrong hands. Too often, businesses hide these details, or try to ignore them until ‘The worst case scenario’ hits them.
Whether you decide that a simple statement that: “Your personal details will not be shared”, or a detailed description of why you are asking for this information, what happens to it, and how people can trust you that it won’t be given, or taken, by others outside of this transaction, is up to you. It is important, though, to show that you care about your customers, so ensure that you can follow up on your promises, and are able to do so.
These points haven’t changed so much in the last few decades of doing business, but the faster, and more remote that the business world becomes, these core competencies become more and more important to Prospects and Customers. The more details you can offer in advance that shows that you are professional, caring, and show that anyone can contact you at any time about any facet of your business, the more of a partner you appear to the World. Don’t fall into the trap that because these guidelines have been around forever, everyone assumes them and you don’t need to do it. Best business practices help everyone, and should lead to more contact between you and the purchasing universe at large.
Take the Guesswork Out of Website Content