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How to Create a Customer-Focused Website

How to Create a Customer-Focused Website

September 9, 2010

This may sound like a ridiculous statement, but all too often, companies do not design their website for their customers. Rather, they take an egocentric approach to Web design, more interested in talking about themselves and their products instead of serving their customers’ needs. If your website does not serve your prospects and customers, then it is not serving you either.

A customer-focused website puts your customers at the center of your online offering, while making it easy for them to do business with you. At the same time, a customer-focused Website is aligned with your company’s overall business strategy and marketing objectives.  And, most importantly, a customer-focused Website produces results – leads, sales and profitable long-term customers.

How to Create a Customer-Focused Website
So, how do you make sure your website is customer-focused? The following tips will provide you with ideas for designing a website your customers, and your sales people, will love.

1. Clearly identify your niche customer audiences - The first step in creating a customer-focused website is making sure you know who your most profitable customers are. If you are not already, you need to become a niche marketer. There is a paradox in marketing you need to embrace: The smaller your target market, the bigger your opportunity. If you say your target customer is everyone, the reality is you are targeting no one. Identify your niche customer audiences by considering the following characteristic:

  • Industry:  What specific industries do you serve?
  • Application:  What applications or needs do you fill within each industry?
  • Geography:  What geographic areas do you serve?
  • Job Function or Role:  What is the title or role of the people you do business with?
  • Demographics:  What common characteristics do they share, such as income level, age, gender, etc?
  • Psychographics: What common interests, opinions, or personality characteristics do they share, such as ‘green’ enthusiast, Web savvy, value conscious, etc?

2. Understand your customers’ needs and motivations - Your customers are not visiting your Website to kill time. They are visiting to solve a problem, serve a need or find a solution. Think carefully about your customers’ motivation for visiting your website. What are they looking for? What do they hope to accomplish?

3 Offer content and features that address the needs of each customer audience group - Next, let’s take a look at your website’s content. Based on your target market’s unique needs and motivations, offer content and features that speak to the needs of your customers and provide the solution they are seeking.  Demonstrate that you understand the challenges they face and offer a solution.

4. Don’t treat your home page like a ‘book cover’ - Is your home page a static book cover, or is it a welcoming and useful entry point. Your home page should clearly communicate the solutions your company provides and offer a timely digest of the latest and greatest information you have to offer. Most importantly, it should focus on your customers’ needs and guide them through your website toward the information that can best help them.

5. Educate and become a trusted resource - Your website should not just sell – it should also educate. Complement your product and service information with valuable educational content that helps your customers do their jobs better. Pack your site with ‘how-to’, articles, best practices guides, training videos and other educational content. This will turn your website into a resource center that customers will visit regularly because it is so helpful.

6. Have a conversation with your customers - Companies often think their website is designed to serve the thousands of people that will visit it. The reality is that one person will visit your Website at a time. Make sure you connect with each visitor by taking a friendly, conversational tone in your copy. Write as though you’re sitting with them over coffee. In addition, make sure you avoid using company jargon, product codes and other information that makes no sense to your customers.

7. Make it easy for prospects to take action - Lead generation consistently ranks as a top business priority. However, most companies handicap themselves by relying on their website’s ‘Contact Us’ page as the sole method for customers to take action. Turn your website into a lead generation machine by peppering every page of your website with relevant offers tailored to the needs of your target audiences. Also, don’t forget to prominently display your phone number on every page. More than half of Web visitors prefer to call rather than complete an online form.

If you want an expert's opinion on how to create a customer interested in learning more about how to create a customer-focused website, visit www.svmsolutions.com/analysis and request a free Website Analysis.

Bob DeStefano is an online marketing strategist and professional marketing speaker with over 15 years experience helping industrial companies leverage online marketing to produce bottom-line results. Connect with Bob on the Web at www.bobdestefano.com and www.svmsolutions.com or by calling 1-877-786-3249 x3.

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