Make a good first impression with an excellent website
You may have heard us say this before, but it’s worth repeating: Your website is your best tool for making a good first impression.
I was inspired to write this after vetting a business online I’d recently heard about. It was a completely disappointing experience. The business had an online presence, but I’m not afraid to call it a hot mess — an outdated website with a dummy headline, another website listed for the business that didn’t work, some poor grammar and nowhere to see past work or read other customers’ experiences.
Needless to say I’m moving on.
Finding the right company to do business with is kinda like dating, don’t you think? Gone are the days of looking up a business number in the phone book and calling them up to get to know them better. (Today it’s all about the text message and Insta profile, or so my 12-year-old tells me.) Word of mouth is still powerful, but everything else is right there on The Google. And if you don’t have at least some online presence when your potential customer conducts research, nine times out of 10 they’re going to move forward with a business that does.
Let me back that up a little. “Some online presence” is important, yes. Your business should show up and offer a way to be contacted. But nowadays that’s not enough (see anecdote above). An attractive website with a consistent, cohesive message that speaks to potential clients’ pain points and answers their questions before they ask? That’s the secret sauce (paired with a side of excellent customer experience, of course).
Maybe I’m a tough nut to crack, but there are essential boxes I must check before I say “yes” to a business relationship. I always start my research online. Does the business offer the services I need? Why do they do what they do? What is their method? What makes them different from the competition? How much does it cost? Do I know any of their customers? What do they think about the service they received?
I could go on. But my point is this: Being able to learn more about a business online before starting a relationship helps customers feel more confident in their purchasing decisions and makes the business more credible. Otherwise it’s like a blind date. *shudder*
Turns out, I’m not alone in this practice. Results of this survey alone should get you pumped up about improving your online presence:
- 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
The power of reviews
Oh boy, those reviews. They will getcha. Believe us when we say your online reputation IS A THING and you must do what you can to manage it. Take a look around on popular review sites (Yelp, Google or TripAdvisor, for example) to see if anyone is talking about your business. Claim and verify your Google listing. And if you have a Facebook page, monitor and respond to those reviews too. Use what you find to help you make changes to your customer service strategy if necessary. Reach out to unhappy customers to get feedback on how you can improve. And then celebrate the positive ones by saying thank you to those customers!
Be proactive by asking customers to provide a Google, Yelp or Facebook review if they are happy with your service. You can then share these reviews on your own website to give potential customers a look at how happy your clients are.
Look good, speak well
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, the cover is pretty daggone important. Making the effort to present your business professionally says a lot about the pride you take in your work. If your website is not visually appealing and does not speak to your purpose clearly, potential customers will likely swipe left before they ever see what you can do. Customers want to know you’re legit — that you present yourself professionally, that you’re an expert in your line of work, and that they believe what you believe. That all starts with a beautifully written, beautifully designed website that tells your story.
Don’t wait to be discarded. Make your best first impression with your website. If you need help, we make an excellent Chuck Woolery. *wink*
Ready to get started making your organization shine on the Internet? Let’s chat.