Information. We absorb it over breakfast, inhale it during lunch, and devour it for dinner. By the time we’ve gotten to dessert, we simply cannot digest anymore. The next morning you´ll ask yourself, ¨What did I eat yesterday?¨then shrug, and continue on with your daily diet of (mostly) useless information.
But, on occasion, there are those very special dining experiences that we don´t quickly forget. The ones that we talk about for days later and recommend to our friends. The ones where we remember everything from the light fixtures to the music play-list. And, the ones we are happy to experience again. When designing a website for your business, your goal is to deliver that unforgettable meal and keep the customer eating out of the palm of your hand.
If you´re just learning the website-building recipe, remember three basic ingredients in generating repeat online customers:
Start by playing the role of customer. Visit your favorite websites and ask yourself:
What is Immediately Appealing to the Eye?
It´s all about first impressions, and just like a first date, you will lose the viewer and your potential customer in seconds if your website is not:
- Easy on the eyes
- Easy to navigate
- Easy to understand
This means avoiding aggressive colors, lengthy text or awkward layouts. More importantly, your customer needs to be able to easily navigate your website. Don´t worry so much about the bells and whistles and pyrotechnics (besides, this often leads to long loading times and quick turn-offs). If your content is presented in an interesting, neat and manageable way, you will likely get a second date from your online customer. Simplicity can be very sexy!
What Am I Reading and Why Do I Care?
Content. This is the the meat and potatoes of your website and how your online customer discovered you in the first place. If the second date goes well, you want to make sure you’ve got some muscle under your belt. Er, that is to say, stronger content equals more traffic. More repeat customers. More chances to get lucky. So, how do you build such website muscle? For starters, focus on content that is:
- Relative and varied
- Interactive and engaging
- Clear and explicit
It´s simple- The more fresh, current and varied your content (using multi-media like blogs, videos, and images and updating often is key), the wider net your website will cast and the more online customers you´ll catch. Keep your patrons engaged by giving them forums to discuss, comment, and share their experience with other users. No secret here… social media will revolutionize your online business. So, get stuck in and clearly define your objectives. By identifying exactly what your business´s goals and aspirations are, you make it easier for customers to connect with and care about your product or service. Or, not. Either way, explication is a filtering tool that can help you reel in the many potential fish in the online customer sea!
What Exactly Do You Want Me to Do?
Is the website candy for your eyes? Check. Are you interested in what it has to say? Check. Great! But wait, what were you looking for again? What exactly am I suppose to be doing? Hidden, obscure commands are no good when your online customer has little time and lots of question. Don´t assume your online customer knows what to do and don´t worry about being pushy. The whole point is to guide and persuade your customer to do what you want them to do by sending out a clear Call-to-Action:
- Buy now
- Click here
- Eat this
- Date me
- Order now
With every demand, tell your customer why they should do what you tell them and how they will benefit. Offer a clear road map with easy-to-find buttons and simple instructions around every corner. Your Power of Persuasion relies on your website being simple, explicit and relative. Like the demise of most relationships, the more complicated, vague or dull you appear, the less likely your customer will want to dine with you again.
If all these food and date metaphores are making you feel more hungry and a little hot to trot, download Barry Feldman´s 21 Pointers to Sharpen your Website. A copywrite pro, Feldman offers very helpful advice on building and maintaining successful websites that will have your online customers begging for more.