ECONOMIC UPDATE: Website important factor in customers’ decisions

NANAIMO – Tips help turn digital window shoppers into satisfied customers.

By Sasha Angus

Your website is an increasingly important factor in the purchase decisions of new customers. The following are methods for improving your website to not only retain visitors, but to also begin the conversion from ‘digital window shopper’ to satisfied customer.

Immediate Value Proposition

While it may seem to you that describing your product or service is the most important characteristic of your homepage, an equally if not more important step is describing the benefit to the consumer of purchasing your offerings. How will an individual’s life be made better by purchasing your product or service? Use your homepage to clearly define the problems faced by your customers, followed by a brief explanation of how your company offers solution to those problems. Whether you are designing a website homepage, crafting an e-mail marketing campaign, pitching to an investor or networking at a business function, the value proposition of your business should be made apparent right away.

Clear Call to Action

What would you like the customer to do next? This might be different for every business and it’s an important question to consider. Would you like your website visitors to join a mailing list? Shop your online store? Talk about your business on social channels? Once you have a goal, you can begin to shape your homepage to reflect that goal and encourage your audience to follow the path you’ve laid. When appropriate, incentivising a call to action is a great way to increase conversions from inactive to active visitors. For example, offering a free e-book is an excellent way to build your e-mail list. If you would like visitors to browse your online inventory gallery, consider providing a few items right on the homepage to entice further exploration. Whatever your goal, there is likely a simple way to shepherd your visitors in the right direction.

Social Proof

If a new potential customer is visiting your website for the first time, establishing trust is paramount. In today’s consumer driven marketplace, providing testimonials or social media recommendations goes a long way, as peer-to-peer feedback is becoming the largest influence on purchase decisions. Even if your company deals exclusively in business-to-business transactions, other satisfied customers singing your praises will always encourage trust, and as such should be present on your website. Identify your company’s biggest fans and advocates and ask for a short testimonial.

There are countless ways to improve visitor experience and the NEDC is available to provide tangible feedback and put you in touch with great local companies that can help you get there.

Sasha Angus is CEO of Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.