Make Sure Your Online Business Gives Your Customers What They Want

  • Added:
    Oct 18, 2012
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Lots of people visit your website, including current customers, past customers, prospective customers, shareholders, suppliers and maybe even members of the press.  When these people arrive on your website, they are usually seeking some specific information about your business. They may want to find out about:
*    What products and services you sell
*    Your prices
*    How to use your products
*    The vision and mission of your company
*    Your company's history
*    How to contact you
In order for your website to be successful, you need to understand exactly what it is that all of these stakeholders will be expecting from your site. Once you have this knowledge, you need to make available the information they require.  It sounds so simple, but many businesses fail to include the most basic of information on their websites, costing them customers and damaging their brand.
Here are some useful strategies for providing information to your website visitors:
*    Have a detailed product catalogue - showcase the products you offer with a picture and a list the benefits that a user will get out of the products.  It is also essential to include the prices on this page - this is one of the main reasons why consumers use the Internet, so you need to supply this information.

*    Use case studies - these are a great way to share success stories of your clients with other customers and prospects. They can educate your prospects about your products and teach existing clients how to get great results from using your products.  Case studies are also an effective 'soft sales' tool, particularly for cross-selling to current customers.

*    Use testimonials - many of your site visitors will be trying to find out what your business is like to work with or what other users think of your products, so having testimonials on your site is a simple way to give them this information. Remember to always use real testimonials and to give enough details about the person to make it believable.

*    Have a 'contact us' form - another of the key reasons that clients and prospects visit your site is to make contact with you. Email is the most cost-effective form of communication for businesses, so facilitate this by having a simple 'contact us' form easily accessible on your site. When possible, you should also include your address and phone number to give prospects other options for contacting you.

*    Have a reading room - articles are a great way to share information with your clients and prospects. These articles can be anything from company news to product reviews to useful advice. You should make all the articles available in a news room or reading room on your website so clients and prospects can read them.

*    Have a press centre - this may not be necessary for all businesses, but if there is the chance that your business may gain media attention, you need to have specialised information available for journalists.  This centre should contain press releases, company fact sheets and details of a media contact person.  This will ensure that your website is always the main source of information about your business.

*    Create a resource centre for clients - a simple way to add value to your services for existing clients is to offer them access to important resources and information that is not freely available to others. This could include articles or white papers that are relevant to them, or even invoices and company documents. You can have a secure area on your website where clients can login to access all the information they require.

*    Have restricted access areas - if you want specific groups of your audience to use your website, you need to design specialised sections for them.  For example, a large company may want to have a restricted area where their shareholders can login to view news and reports relevant to them or a wholesaler may have an online ordering area specifically for retailers to order their products.  Create these pages on your website, and then give each member their own login details.

*    Enable users to search your site - to make it even easier for your site visitors to find what they are looking for on your site, you website should have search functionality.  This means that if your users can't find what they are looking for after a quick browse of your site, they can type their query into the search box and be directed to the information they need.

It is vitally important for your business that users of your site can find the information they need.  If they arrive on your site looking for something in particular and can't find it, chances are they will leave and find another business to help them.  This is definitely something you want to avoid, so use some of the strategies above to make your site a goldmine of information!  

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This article was provided to you by Bloomtools, Australasia's leading website developer. With Offices in Melbourne, Newcastle, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Wellington New Zealand. Online business solutions provider - SEO, Websites (with simple to use Content Management System), Email (Database) Marketing and CRM.

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