As business owners, it is common during the early years to have more time than money. There is nothing wrong with that. It is what prompts us to turn many of the startup tasks, such as building a website into a DIY project.
There are plenty of easy-to-use templates available on content management systems such as WordPress that allow a novice designer to build a nice looking site. What those templates cannot provide, however is good selling copy.
What Do I Say and How Do I Say It?
As you sit in front of that daunting empty screen your mind goes blank. You know what you do. In fact, you know you are darn good at what you do. How do you begin to tell your potential customers via your website? There are some general guidelines I will outline but starting with the most important. Try to sell a solution to a problem using benefits the customer will receive. People search the web for answers to problems. My TV stopped working. I have a wedding coming up and have nothing to wear. My faucet is leaking. Whatever the issue, it represents a selling opportunity for a merchant or service provider.
Your tendency may be to jump right into why you are the man or woman for the job, or why your product is the best choice for the viewer. Well, hold on a minute. Have you determined the customer’s issues and concerns? They may have a general idea they need a paint job, but telling them how great you are is the same thing they read on every painter’s website. But wait, you are insured and licensed. Of course you are, customers expect that. Its okay to let them know it, but it is not going to be your selling differentiation. So how do you begin on your home page?
What’s Wrong and How Can I Help You?
When you walk into a store and are greeted, the first words from an employee may be, “How can I help you?” A website is no different than a bricks and mortar store. It is a place to provide a showcase for what you are offering. Following the same tried-and-true protocol of problem solving is a good course of action for your site.
You can set your visitor onto a path by first acknowledging they have a problem. You can safely assume they need a paint job but have you determined why? A mother in Seattle is unhappy because her kids chocolate chip drenched fingers are leaving streaks everywhere. A farmer in Iowa is embarrassed because his is the barn that has flaking paint. The young urban couple in new York City thinks their wall colors are outdated. Each of these folks have different hot buttons to get them excited about your company. Try to remember, the only goal of a home page is to get people to click to that next page. Jumping into the me, my, we, us, our stuff is a bore. To put it bluntly, none of those potential customers cares about you at the moment. They don’t care about your experience, your license, your craftsmanship. At least, not yet they don’t. They are here with a problem they want acknowledged and they want to know that you offer a solution. That’s the primary job of your home page.
What A Potential Customer Will Do On Your Site
Most likely, they have just arrived from a search engine. The very first thing they will look for is relevance. They don’t want to waste their time on a hardware store 800 miles away that sells Benjamin Moore paints if they are seeking a local solution. This is where the use of a headliner, also called a header, comes in handy. Spend some time thinking about what that very first bolded line in larger font will say or ask. There may be something that will achieve better results than, ‘Welcome To Our Website’.
Choosing our NYC couple as an example, the headline, “A New York City Painting Service That Offers High End Solutions” may be enough to make them stick around. Following that with things the paint company owner knows his customers will be seeking such as, designer color choice, and color consultation will make them read more. Guiding them to the ‘About Us’ page that tells about their high end customer base will keep those folks engaged. Their next click lets them read testimonials from other customers they can associate with and guides them finally to the picture portfolio which includes a picture of a loft just like theirs. The deal is almost sealed. They are calling for a proposal.
You have to know your customers. That means knowing who they are and what they are concerned about. Once you have a grasp on who you are targeting, its simple to let your website address those concerns and begin selling yourself. Your testimonials will sell your company. Your pictures will sell your company. Leave the “I’m great” stuff for your ‘About Us’ page. That is the only place people expect to read it. Whether you own a painting or power washing service, try to keep in mind.. its always about the customer.
In some possible future articles, I will outline some ways to get people to your site and keep them there as well as how to get people to call for service.