No business can afford to waste money on tools that don’t work. Local businesses must be particularly discerning when deciding where to distribute the yearly budget.
A useful litmus test for local business website design is whether the website will pay for itself over time.
Good design is not decoration.
Your company website should look great and make a winning first impression for your business… but looking “great” can’t be the only goal.
A cost-efficient local business website serves rather like an “employee” for your company, that helps:
- Increase Clients and Sales: Get new customers from the Internet to your door.
- Increase Customer Retention: Empower existing clients to support themselves.
- Reduce Staff Workload: Automate routine tasks to reduce man-hours.
To that end, local business website design must incorporate these four vital features to ensure it becomes worth your investment over time.
1. A user-friendly experience for mobile browsers.
Most local searches are now done with mobile devices. It stands to reason that if your local business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re getting fewer leads and losing a good amount of potential customers.
In a recent Google survey of 1,088 smartphone users, 67 percent stated that they’re more likely to buy when a website is mobile friendly.
And 61 percent will quickly “bounce” from (abandon) your website, returning to search results if the website isn’t mobile-optimized.
You likely spend THOUSANDS on marketing each year to attract leads.
If 61 percent of those leads bounce because your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then 61 percent of your marketing budget is being wasted.
As an example, Excellent Presence reduced one client’s bounce rate from 73 percent to 26 percent as a result of a recent website redesign, largely by making the website mobile-friendly.
Their leads are now spending 332 percent more time on the site (from just a few seconds, to several minutes). And they’re taking action 117 percent more often.
Can you think of some actions you’d like leads to take more of when interacting with your company?
In 2015, there’s no way we can fool ourselves into thinking that mobile-friendly websites don’t matter.
The proof is in the numbers: Strategic website redesign can increase revenue.
2. Careful use of vanity phone numbers.
Vanity numbers, like those offered by Grasshopper, are great to help customers and prospects remember your number to get in touch with your local business.
On your business website, though, be sure to also have your number listed numerically.
Ever noticed how some phone numbers on Web pages are clickable when browsing from mobile? Making a phone number dialable with one click is something mobile Web browsers do automatically…but not for vanity numbers.
Potential clients would have to view your number in their mobile browser, switch to the dial pad, and try to remember your business number to dial you.
Not worth it.
Additionally, many smartphone dialpads don’t show associated letters like traditional phone dialpads do. In these cases, mobile customers wouldn’t be able to dial your business at all!
3. A direct, clear path to the exact info visitors want.
What do users expect from local business website design…in YOUR particular industry?
If your local business is a restaurant, have daily specials and menus put online (and not as PDFs, an exceedingly frustrating, yet common website mistake).
Ensure that phone numbers are prominent so diners can call for reservations, and have a map and/or directions to allow patrons to find your restaurant during hunger pangs.
If your local business is an apartment community, list community features, unit amenities, and rental rates. Consider incorporating an online application.
For existing residents, consider allowing them to submit maintenance requests and pay rent online.
Website users in different industries expect different things. A skilled Web design company should be able to help figure out what your audience expects during the goal-identification stages of your website project, to ensure you’re fulfilling their expectations.
4. Thorough, instant answers for impatient website visitors.
Good Web design can save your company time by reducing support burden. For instance, it can help your organization spend less time supporting customers, or even training your team.
What are the top questions clients and prospects call or write in with?
Address those issues directly on the website—and point potential or existing clients to that Web page when they email your company for support. Or give a brief overview by phone, or in the office, pointing them to your website for full details.
Even better, once your local business website design is complete, be proactive: start publicizing it immediately as a self-service resource for current and potential clients.
Tip: The majority of clients don’t want to interact with us at all.
For instance, only about four percent of unhappy customers bother contacting the company when they have a problem. The other 96 percent say nothing.
Even worse, 91 percent of those unhappy customers simply leave, silently…never to return with their business again!
So not only can turning your website into a self-serve resource help you free hours of time each month, it can provide a huge boost in customer satisfaction.
If your local business website isn’t increasing clients, reducing your workload, and/or helping boost customer satisfaction, then that website becomes an extraneous expense.
Remember: Good Web design is not “decoration.”
Partner with a Web specialist that knows this, and your local business website design will soon pay for itself.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community