How are things between you and your website? If the answer is uncertain or less than stellar, don’t panic. Instead, think of your website as a marketing tool that needs to accomplish four things: establish value, build trust, make a great impression, and help visitors take action. Here’s how to put these four crucial components into action.

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1. Establish value to visitors

First, look at the value your website promises visitors. Your website speaks on behalf of your business, and it should address a need or needs that your target audience/customer may have. Are visitors able to find the information relevant to them?

Let’s use a real-world example: Ramona Jones is the owner of Discover, Learn & Grow, a preschool that provides affordable education and child care to families in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. Success for Jones is dependent upon generating awareness, connecting with families in the community and encouraging them to enroll. To reach these goals, Discover, Learn & Grow’s website needed to articulate the organization’s value and inspire confidence in its services.

The Deluxe team helped revamp the website, starting with research into the needs of parents and guardians of young children. The team determined that searching for preschools and child care services online is a high-investment choice. There are many factors that families consider before they feel comfortable committing to a child care program, from the safety of the facility to the quality of the instruction. Discover, Learn & Grow’s website needed robust content that addressed these concerns.

The revamped website includes specific pages — including a Q&A section and a Health & Safety page — that address these concerns. Scannable bullet points were used to make that information easy to digest. And to give families a solid understanding of what they could expect from the program, a schedule describing a typical day at the center was included. By taking stock of its audience’s concerns and addressing them clearly, the Discover, Learn & Grow website demonstrates the value of the business.

Discover, Learn & Grow’s website before

Discover, Learn & Grow’s website after

Discover learn and grow new website showcases bright colors and images of teachers with children

Tip for your own website: Understand what your audience needs and wants from a business like yours, and provide answers on your website. Start by finding the common terms people are using when searching for businesses like yours online. By using these key terms on your website, search engines like Google can see the value you provide to searchers and direct more traffic to your business.

2. Build trust

While providing value is essential, you also need to back up what you say on your website. Offer “social proof” that lends credibility to your business. This social proof can come in the form of customer testimonials, staff biographies detailing their expertise and certifications, relevant awards or favorable media coverage.

For Discover, Learn & Grow (and all child care facilities), establishing trust is a major concern. The Deluxe team added parent testimonials, in-depth staff bios and a list of certifications, and it mentions some awards the business has won. All of these elements communicate professionalism and build trust in an authentic way.

Client testimonials provide social proof

 

Tip for your own website: Take a look at what you can share about your business that lends credibility to the claims you make, and put this social proof where online visitors can easily find it.

3. Make a memorable first impression

When someone lands on your website, they decide whether to stay or leave within seconds. So make sure you’re making a positive impression, instantly. What do you want visitors to understand about you as soon as they arrive, and what do you want them to remember when they leave? These impressions are vital for gaining and keeping customers.

Some items that contribute to a good first impression are how fast your website loads, a design that’s easy on the eyes (without crazy colors or hard-to-read fonts) and the clarity of the information. A clean website with a clear value proposition — that is, a statement telling visitors what your business is and what it stands for — allows visitors to find what they need in seconds.

In the case of Discover, Learn & Grow, the original homepage failed to entice families to learn more. When landing on the website, visitors were greeted with an image of a nondescript building and text that was difficult to read. It wasn’t an accurate reflection of Discover, Learn & Grow’s mission — or of the joy in educating children that the staff brings to work each day.

The marketing team at Deluxe understood that Jones herself, her decades of experience, the passion she has for early education and her unflagging energy were all great assets to the business. Consequently, the team put her front and center in the homepage’s main image. That image of Jones — along with all the other photos, fonts, words and colors used throughout the website —  was designed to be readable, vibrant and demonstrative of the fact that Discover, Learn & Grow is a nurturing, fun environment for children.

Homepage image before

 

Homepage image after

 

Tip for your own website: Make sure your website’s homepage has the essentials and conveys the impression you want it to. Keep it direct and put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. What do they want to know the instant they arrive at your site, and how can you communicate that to them?

4. Guide visitors to take action

Having a memorable website is important, but how can you get people to take the next step?

No matter if your website is designed to gain interest in a preschool or to get more animals into your veterinary clinic, the website has to prompt people to do something. If someone is interested enough to visit your website, they’re highly likely to become customers.

Discover, Learn & Grow’s old website had a contact page with the business’s physical address, phone number and email address, but it was not easy to find. Since the primary call to action (CTA) for this website is to encourage families to visit the center, the Deluxe team included a “Schedule a Visit” button on most pages and another “Schedule a Visit” link in the header. They also added the inviting language “Grow with us.”

The new Discover, Learn & Grow website provides visitors with multiple opportunities to connect with the business as they make their way through the webpages and learn more about services.

Contact form before

 

Call to action after

 

Tip for your own website: Provide your visitors with a way to engage with your business. It’ll keep them involved and interested in your services while they’re on your website. Calls to action include “call now,” “schedule an appointment,” “get directions,” or “sign up for email updates.” Choose the action that makes sense for your business.

Get started revamping your website

Since the redesign, Jones has seen a large increase in enrollments. The revitalization has been so successful, in fact, that she’s preparing to open a second location soon.

To implement similar practices on your own website, follow these tips:

  • Research your audience to create the right messaging, so your website establishes the value of your business.
  • Provide social proof that builds trust.
  • Make sure your homepage creates the right impression — quickly.
  • Consider adding multiple CTAs that make contacting you simple, no matter where on your website a visitor may be.
  • Use lively, descriptive language on your CTAs. Something like “Contact a Vet today” is much more clear and compelling than generic ones like “Click here.”

No matter your industry or goal, utilize your website as a way to establish the value of your business, reassure visitors and encourage them to make contact.

Get answers to all your website questions

Get all the secrets to an effective website when you download our free Guide to Websites eBook.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and has been revised for accuracy and relevance.

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