When it comes to a company's website, the goal for most is the same: reinforce their brand and acquire leads. Leads are increasingly the product of inbound marketing, which effectively encourages customers to contact you of their own accord.
The best platform for capitalizing on these leads? Why, your website of course!
In the inbound marketing world, your website functions as a sort of "first date" for customers. While you'd love for them to automatically get down the the nitty gritty of your company and actually read all of those eloquent bios you have up there, your customer will first notice first the look and feel of your website. Is it visually satisfying? Can they easily find the information they're looking for? Does it work on their smartphone?
Your prospective clients will most likely make the decision about whether or not they are interested in what your company has to offer on this "first date" interaction. Ideally, you want to turn this first date into a "second date" when this prospective client approaches you with interest - a lead.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
- 1980s era Head & Shoulders ad
So how do you create this personalized, inviting experience that will turn curious bystanders into active leads? Here are some tips.
The Importance of Cross-Platform Capabilities
One of the number one ways to ensure you're customers are having a user-friendly experience on your website is, first and foremost, to create a solid cross-platform website. This means your website responds well not only to all computers (and web browsers), but additionally on all forms of smartphones and tablets.
You're thinking that maybe if someone comes across your website on their mobile device and it doesn't appear to function appropriately, that they'll just wait until they have access to a computer to access your website... right?
Actually no. According to senior research specialist at Pew Internet & American Life Project, Aaron Smith, "45% of those who use the internet on their phones prefer web browsing on their mobile devices."
Not only that, but close to 97% of adult Americans under the age of forty-four own cell phones as of June 2013, and most of these cell owners (63%) use their phone to go online.
Additionally, "34% of the U.S. cell phone adult users prefer going online by using their phones instead of desktops, laptops, or tablets.*"
That's a lot of people who will be missing out on your website without a cross-platform design!
Creating a Responsive Cross-Platform Design
Responsive sites sport easy-to-use designs that adapt based on the platform it is being displayed on. They automatically know whether or not to alter navigation/menu options, and will resize imagery based on screen size and type.
This is a design style that takes some advanced planning on your part, as you want to make sure that when these sections automatically alter themselves, important information is displayed up top in a design-friendly manner. Working with a design specialist will help achieve this responsiveness.
How can you check out your site's cross-platform capabilities as they are now? Try a Google Chrome plug-in entitled Responsive Site Viewer.
Design vs. Responsiveness
Some companies are unenthusiastic about the idea of a malleable layout, as they prefer a specific look. While the design is certainly an important aspect of your website, a beautifully designed website will do nothing for you if your clients can't view it.
Note, of course, that responsive websites and well-designed websites aren't mutually exclusive. On the contrary, there are many ways to personalize a responsive website which you should take advantage of.
Personalization of Responsive Websites
Akin to a responsive website, creating a personalized experience for your viewers is a top priority. But what makes an experience truly personalized on a user to user basis?
Content is a leading form of inbound marketing, and your website should be a navigable hub for this content. Content takes many forms: images, text, videos... or encapsulated into one optimal form, the blog.
Blogging has been shown to be a leading way to drive new traffic to your website (and encourage those that are on your website to stay there). Well written blogs create a personalized experience right from the beginning, as they are informative, engaging, and provide information that is valuable to your prospective clients.
When clients process quality content on your website, they associate it with the quality of your business. It improves the likelihood of them approaching you just from this touch of personalization.
2. Visual guidance
Another key component of a personalization is creating a visual platform that encourages click-throughs. This includes:
- Organization, such as having a menu bar clearly visible on each page, or something similar
- Branding, including logo and color scheme
- Consistency, including 1-3 colors and 1-2 fonts
- Guiding imagery, including images linked to blogs, photos of the company
- Focal points, including highlighted text, images
- Interactive resources, including maps, contact forms, social media plug-ins
- Calls to Action, those things that encourage your visitors to click and share their information with you or order your product
In order to incorporate these elements correctly, it is important to work with a web designer who specializes in development AND content. These professionals have the best working knowledge of how to drive traffic your way from all angles; both look and feel are taken into stock when working with this type of developer.
The bottom line?
Your website is your biggest strength in the digital world. Invest in a strong design with cross-platform capabilities, responsive, personalized for customer interaction, and visually appealing. Your website is viewed as a direct extension of your company. If your website looks and feels good, your company similarly looks and feels good. Invest in a responsive website to soar above your competition. You won't regret it!
Have questions? Looking for a consultation on your website? Need to go cross-platform, or want to develop a blog for your company? Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call!