As a small business, your website is often the first place consumers will go to find you. Your site is your chance to make a good first impression on potential leads and bring back existing customers. If you want to accomplish this, it's important to make sure your website keeps its visitors interested and engaged.
Most brands are aware of the need to create an engaging Web presence, but smaller ones typically don't think they have the time or resources to constantly update their website with fresh, new content, or even create a website at all.
"A trend among smaller businesses is to create just a Facebook page with no website," said Sarah Bordson, engagement manager at Web development firm Adage Technologies. "This is a great place to start, but to gain [customer] trust, having a website is important. It shows you're an established company."
Bordson noted that a company's website can be its No. 1 driver of business. With the right tools and strategies, building a great website doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Bordson offered the following tips to help small business owners optimize their Web presence for maximum customer engagement. [The 7 Most Important Elements on Your Business Website]
Make your website experience match your customer-service experience. In today's increasingly mobile and Web-centric world, consumers have come to expect the same type of experience with a brand online as they would in-store. Bordson recommended enabling features on your website that allow visitors to complete as many interactions as possible for a seamless customer-service experience. These features can include detailed descriptions of each of your products and services, easy-to-access contact and purchase information, and a way for customers to reach you quickly, such as a live-chat function or links to your social media pages.
Personalize your website in ways that make sense for your business. Another way to enhance customers' experience on your website is to tailor it to their needs. But Bordson warned against using flashy gimmicks: Only use personalization tactics that make sense for you, she said. Big Data analytics and voluntary surveys can help you send customized offers based on consumers' past shopping habits and preferred contact methods, which can help with sales conversions.
Use social media as a communication tool. The role of social media for businesses has evolved considerably in recent years. In addition to being a way to share and promote content on your website, social media can and should be used as an extension of your customer service, Bordson said.
"Your website should be the focal point for [your brand's] information," Bordson told Business News Daily. "If you can get beyond that, social media should be a way to reach out to clients in a cost-effective way."
By using Facebook, Twitter and other sites as a line of communication between your brand and your customers, you can drive them to your website in unique ways, such as by sharing a blog post that will help answer a customer's question.
Originally published on Business News Daily.