How to Develop a Customer Focused Website
Customer experience today is quickly becoming a buzz word in the marketing world. Although at SparkBDM we believe this is for good reason. As the experience that a customer has with your brand can be the vital piece of the puzzle that develops trust and ultimately loyalty.
Loyalty. That ever-elusive commodity that is invaluable when attained.
A common misconception is that the experience starts when a customer first enters your retail store, opens the door to your offices or, picks up the phone and speaks to someone directly. That would be something closer to customer service. Which is an important part of a customer’s experience with your brand although doesn’t encapsulate the entirety of it.
The experience that a customer has with a brand must be monitored and tailored to cover every interaction that a person has with it.
Your heard me, that’s every interaction.
Everything from the first glance at an advert to a personalised digital communication or the after-purchase follow-up. All are included. This means that brands need to be considering the customer journey, and everything that they do in conjunction with this, to act as part of their experience
So where to start?
With this perspective of a customers’ experience, the thought of working on it can become overwhelming. That is why The Joy Division exists, it is a bespoke analytical process which looks at the entirety of your organisation, and develops the culture, brand, operations and experience to create loyal customers (this is called a plug, so click that link).
Although one place you may like to begin is often where your customers start in relation to researching you… your website.
When you were planning your web presence, how much effort was put into considering the experience that your customer would have whilst there? Maybe it was a lot, although we have found that quite often it is very little.
Website’s are often built because “we need to have a web presence, it’s 2017 for goodness sake,” or, “we need somewhere we can tell people about our product.” Unfortunately, these approaches are entirely business focused and therefore won’t create a site that is optimized for success.
So how do you create a website that enhances your customers’ experience throughout their journey with your brand? Here are just a few of the things that must be brought into consideration.
1. Start with a strategy.
Far too often we see websites being built based on the organisations brief for what they think needs to be on their site.
But what does your customer actually need and want? What are they looking for? What questions do they need answers to? What is going to motivate them to seek more information, get in touch, or, make a purchase.
Your website should be no different to any of your business operations. There is no point in developing something just for the sake of it. So why not do it with a purpose that ties in with the businesses overall strategic direction. For example, how does your website fit into the communication plan and customer journey? Is it where people will first begin to interact with you? Or is it the last piece of the puzzle where people decide to make a purchase? Depending on where it fits into the plan, will have a drastic impact on the outcome you are seeking, and therefore how you design it.
The outcome desired will help you to determine the best call to action for your site. Whether it be a call to get in contact, make a purchase, find out more information or book a ticket.
And all of this needs to be done in such a way that it meets the needs of the customer first, not what you deem to be necessary.
2. The first impression counts, although it isn’t everything…
The look and feel of your website is important, although don’t just build a website that looks good. Have you ever eaten a donut that looks amazing but tastes like junk? Me neither… but if you had, that is what a website that is visually appealing although doesn’t meet audience needs or provides the correct information would be like.
Design your website to look great, don’t get me wrong, make sure it is consistent with your brand, is appealing and catches viewers’ attention with a great first impression, but don’t let that be your main motivation. If the soul objective for your website is to create something that looks great, then although you may get some results, they will not be optimised.
The goal, is a website with ace content, that is presented beautifully.
Make a good first impression, although back it up with a well-structured site that is strategically designed to provide the right information, at the right time.
3. Get in their shoes.
To build a successful customer focused website then you have start by understanding the customer (as mentioned above in point 1) and then put yourself their shoes. Build your site based on how your customer uses it.
There are two things to consider here, your websites architecture, i.e. what is placed where, and your ongoing content strategy.
The architecture of the website needs to be constructed in such a way that fits into the customer’s journey with your brand, and helps them navigate towards becoming a loyal advocate. Provide the right information at the right time, seek to understand what your customers want, and when they want it. This is an on-going task as website analytics may reveal that 6 months into your new site, audiences are seeking different types of information. So, make it easier for them by designing your site to answer people’s questions before they have to even ask them.
Secondly, the content strategy. You can’t just set, and forget!
Sorry to burst the bubble, but you can’t. It is important that you keep your website up to date with the latest trends and features as well as relevant and valuable content for your audience. Content that both works with your websites strategy, and achieves a purpose of its own in drawing people in. Having a website that is continually updated and produces new content regularly will also help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and specifically, your ranking on Google.
Which leads to…
Often when it comes to a website being easy to find, people start and finish with SEO. Which is important, don’t get me wrong, although from a customer’s perspective, it isn’t the only route of getting to your site. Therefore, it shouldn’t be the only one that is considered in placing your website as the first port of call when people are seeking relevant information or a product/service in your industry.
People may be finding you primarily on social media, or via referrals, or maybe even through a billboard or business card. Either way, it is important to understand how people get to your site, so you can make sure it is readily available where they are searching.
Part of this also includes marketing your website. You can’t just develop a website and expect business to come your way. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Part of your websites ‘findability’ involves how you are drawing and bringing people to it.
At SparkBDM we focus on developing brand assets, such as websites, that have strategy and purpose, are designed to produce valuable outcomes for both the brand and its customers and are marketed to then make a difference for your business. Get in touch today.