Small businesses that cater to local customers can benefit from a solid web presence. Even if you’re strictly a brick and mortar operation and not selling your products online, customers will expect your website to provide enough information to satisfy their curiosity and compel them to visit your location rather than your competitors’.
Does your small business website have what it takes? Here’s a checklist of the basics to include:
- Your address, phone number, email address, and a contact form
Customers expect it to be easy to find out where they can visit you or reach out to you for more information. While that seems like common sense, according to a 2015 SCORE Association report, 27 percent of small businesses surveyed didn’t include a phone number on their websites.
- Your hours of operation
Nothing will aggravate customers more than driving out of their way to your location, only to discover your business closed early on that given day. Always post your hours of operation on your website—and update them immediately if you’ve changed your schedule.
- Photos that are an accurate representation of what you sell or services you provide
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” and customers will expect your website to give a glimpse of what they’ll see and what they can buy when they visit you. To ensure images are of good quality and reflect your business at its best, consider having a professional photographer take photos of your store/office and products.
- Content that shares what’s in it for them
As tempting as it may be to go on and on about how great your business is and how wonderful your products and services are…easy does it. Turn your focus toward your customers. Tell them how they will benefit from visiting you and buying from you. What’s in it for them? Choose wording that makes them the center of attention, for example: “You’ll discover…” and “You’ll get…” versus “We have…” and “We do….”
- A sense of the customer experience they will have
Customers care about what they will get, but they also care about how the experience of doing business with you will make them feel. Including customer testimonials on your website can help convey that. Photos and videos can provide an open window to the customer experience, as well.
- Up-to-date information about what’s new and special sales and deals you’re offering
This gives customers a reason to visit your website often…and your business location. Always keep this content current. Otherwise, you’ll have unhappy customers when they come to your location expecting a deal that’s no longer available.
- Links to your social media accounts
This makes it convenient for (and encourages) your customers to find and connect with you on the social media platforms you have in common.
A website that’s too cluttered with wordy content or that’s difficult to navigate can frustrate visitors and cause them to tune out. Think “user friendly” and don’t overcomplicate your website with pages and content that aren’t going to provide value to your customers. If you’re not sure about what customers care about or whether or not your website is too complicated, don’t guess. Talk to a few customers to find out.
Just like your brick and mortar location, your website is an important piece of real estate for your business. Get the most from it by making sure it’s meeting your customers’ needs and expectations. If you need guidance about website best practices, contact us to talk with one of our SCORE mentors. Our mentors have knowledge and experience in all aspects of marketing and are here to help you grow your business.