There are six important characteristics that can play a major role on the impact your website has on prospects. Outlined below is the importance of each characteristic and tips on how to maximize your potential. It is always important to tailor everything you do to what your customer is expecting, doing so will help keep you one step ahead of the competition.
Convenience ? Allowing your customers to make decisions at their convenience is a very powerful element. Nobody wants to feel pressured or hurried into making a buying decision. When a customer can go to your website, browse your products and services, and make a purchase at their convenience, you are satisfying a crucial consumer obstacle -- time. They don't have to keep returning to your storefront every time they wish to evaluate your value. In fact, most customers do not buy something the first time they see it. Instead, they must see and consider it several times before they finally talk themselves into purchasing. A website allows customers to quickly review their reasons to purchase something, leading to a greater number of impulse buys.
Information ? A website can allow you to communicate much more information about a product or service than an in-store display or advertisement. You can also control the way the information is presented. Supplying information in an orderly step-by-step process can greatly improve the chance of a purchase.
Evaluation ? Many customers will not purchase something without searching for the best value. The internet allows your customers to obtain the information they need to feel like they are making an educated buying decision. Make sure you are using your website to take advantage of this opportunity. Inform your customer why your product or service is of the best value compared to their other options. Always acknowledge the competition instead of acting like your product or service is the only one out there.
Guidance ? The pages of your website should guide the customer towards the specific solutions they are looking for. They should serve to help them quickly locate what they came to find. Think of it as a store map located at the entrance of a department store. The customer can use this directly upon entering the store to get to the department they are interested in, instead of wandering around looking for it. Get their relevant information in front of them quickly while they are still the mood to purchase. People buy on impulse. If they have to spend 15 minutes searching for what they are looking for, that impulse may very well fade away.
Contact ? The internet also allows for another form of contact with your customer. Some people can be hesitant about talking to a representative in person or on the phone if they don't feel very knowledgeable about the product or service. Email allows them to carefully collect their thoughts before sending them. They feel less awkward about their lack of knowledge. Again, use this opportunity to gain an edge over the competition. Go out of your way to educate them about the product or service.
Entertainment ? Use the informal atmosphere of the internet to entertain your customer. The internet is used by more people as a means of entertainment than as a means of business. If used effectively, entertainment can significantly improve the business relationship. Provide clever facts, amusing presentations or even a witty character or mascot to assist them. However, be sure that the entertainment is used appropriately. Be sure that is does not obstruct the information or value you are trying to bestow upon them.
Always use your competition to your advantage. Research how your competition uses these characteristics to improve their customer relations. Your website does not have to be boring just because it is informative. Create an appeal that will set you above the competition. The internet can be an extremely powerful tool for your business, reaching a greater audience than ever before. A successful business uses a complete arsenal to reach its market.
Copyright 2004 Mike Moorefield III
About The Author
Michael Moorefield is one of the founders of ThirdWeb Solutions, a digital multimedia company specializing in creating and improving the internet presence for small businesses.
Working with a range of businesses to establish a prosperous web presence keeps Michael up to date with online trends not only in a design & development aspect, but a business aspect as well. Visit http://www.thirdweb.com for more info.