One of the hardest challenges web designers face is helping clients create effective websites that actually convert users into customers. It is not enough for a site to have a nice design. Our real work is to provide a platform that will build interest in the company, instill trust in what they do and that allows for the development of ongoing relationships that will eventually generate business.
People who build their own sites or have a friend do it, are at a serious disadvantage since they don’t usually have the background in website marketing and usability needed to create the proper web presence. Even us professional designers and developers have our work cut out for us in educating our clients and steering them towards best practices.
Clients fall on a continuum of preconceived notions about marketing and personality styles from narcissists to introverts. Web developers working with clients who are entrenched at either end of this continuum have to overcome their biases and inclinations to create effective websites.
On one end of this scale are people who can’t give up the old school high pressure, marketing techniques. Their inclination is to want the front page to be all about their company and why they are the best. They use a lot of self referencing pronouns such as we and our rather than you and your.
These clients are insistent on taking every opportunity to remind readers that they should work with them. They want to add a call to action to work with them at the bottom of every page, at the end of every blog post and in every email newsletter. Calls to action are important in that they provide website visitors with information about how they can take the next step, but one has to be careful about coming on too strong. A bit more attraction, and a lot less promotion works much better today.
At the other end of this continuum is the client who wants their website to be impeccably designed, using few words. These people expect that their portfolio of services or products should speak for itself. They are hesitant about including any personal information, their photo or their story on the site.
This client tends to be uncomfortable about dealing directly with money for services with their target audience. This usually has its roots in feelings of unworthiness causing this type of business owner to not let people know exactly what they do and nor do they provide clear information about their various products or services leaving their visitors in mystery about exactly how they make a living. Usually, the answer to that question is they are not making a living.
Business owners need to know that there is a new normal for marketing that is customer focused and relationship driven. Their websites today should provide content and messaging designed to tell a story and walk your visitors through a path, that lets their ideal client discover for themselves that this business and its products and services are exactly what they were looking for.
A prospect may not be ready to make a purchase decision right then, which is why a content marketing strategy that includes a blog, email newsletter and social media posts is important. The request to sign up to receive your newsletter should be the first call to action on the site. Building a list of interested people allows you to continue to stay in touch with them, giving you an opportunity to develop the fledgling relationship to the point where they are ready to do business.
The first step in building an effective website is to take the time to understand the client, their business and the pressing needs of their target audience. Then you can help to craft a compelling customer centric message that will grab the attention of their ideal client and then keep their attention with great content and good images that will tell a consistent, authentic story. When what a business offers lines up well with what their ideal clients need, in a way that the client feels that they know what it would be like to work with them then the magic happens.