At HS, we’ve worked really hard to make the website development process both easy and effective. We’ve also talked a lot about the importance of optimizing your site for search engines.
These are important things, but today, we’re talking about your user or consumer. What has changed for them? What are they looking for in a site experience? How can you best serve their evolving needs?
What Do You Stand For?
It’s important for users to know what you do, how you do it, where they can get it done, etc. But it’s also important for them to know why you do it and what you stand for.
According to a 2020 Consumer Culture Report, 83 percent of millennials say that it’s important for the companies they buy from to align with their beliefs and values, and 76 percent of 18-34 year-olds like when the CEOs of companies they buy from speak out on issues they care for.
More than ever people are driven by values and beliefs in their decision to choose one company over another.
- How do you highlight or treat your employees?
- Do you embrace or make diversity a priority?
- Do you give back or support social causes?
- Can your service be tied back to environmental impact, emotional impact or societal change?
All of these things are important to today’s customer and they don’t want to be BS-Ed about it. Let’s consider a pet store, just as an example.
A pet store is in the business of moving products or services, as are all businesses. However, a pet owner is a very discerning customer. They don’t want just pet food, doggy treats or cool toys.
They want to know if you value their connection with a pet in a similar way that they do.
- Do you welcome pets in store?
- Do you promote causes like rescue?
- Do you have free resources that enhance the health of a pet?
Today’s savvy consumer can find “product” anywhere from Amazon to overseas to the darkest corners of the web. How will your company be a bright spot? And how can you convey that online?
Getting Specific About Your Web Strategy
Yes, people need to know the very basics of the user experience: how to find you, how to order or engage, what services you offer. But, you also want your web design to reflect how you act.
A group shot of your best realtors smiling is nowhere near as impactful as seeing workers in logo wear getting time off to volunteer and build a house or serve at a food kitchen.
A menu list of what you do is important, but the web pages must address why you do it.
“We were moved to find a better way to treat our patients”
“The old way of recycling wasn’t helping anyone”
“If your time here isn’t the best part of your day, we’ve failed”
These are emotional appeals that not only say what you do, they indicate your motivation, and embrace a transparency that endears customers beyond just your mission, vision and values.
So How Do We Build That Into a Site?
Perhaps your company already adopts these principles or aims to. How do you communicate that on your website in a way that is both purposeful and encourages transactions? Here are a few things HS recommends:
Give Information Away – Remember, any web search for you is an attempt to solve a problem, whether it’s immediate or impulsive curiosity. Your site should answer that problem.
If you can provide a blog, white paper or other resources to “give them something to think about” you’ve shown confidence in your value and likely made a new friend or advocate.
HS helps many companies develop and promote their blogs and other content. This is not only great for your consumer, but it improves the SEO of your website.
Commit, Don’t Brag – It’s pretty easy to promote what you’ve done. Give the reason why you did and invite others to get in on the act. You’ve likely heard digital commercials “For every one you buy, we’ll do X”,
You hear that a lot because it’s effective, and it signals your commitment, with a direct call to purchase, that is now part of a movement. HS did this as a company when we promoted Feeding South Dakota at the start of the pandemic.
Think Like Your Customer – Melissa Doyle, Web Projects Manager and Emily Sorenson, Digital Marketing Director often emphasize to think like your customer would think. In other words, you may want to say X, but your customer is wondering Y. Here’s an example of the difference:
Company line: Emphasizing all COVID recommended protocols.
Consumer searches: Who has contact free deliver? Which businesses are taking safety seriously?
Company line: 125 years in commercial real estate excellence.
Consumer searches: Who can find me an office space downtown?
Yes, the mechanics of your site are important: the menu, the appearance, the meta tags, the SEO and more. But when you begin to think about how your customer thinks, you are providing a more moving, readily available and problem-solving experience.
We Want to Solve Your Problems Too
Certainly, a website should answer a question, emote a feeling, and solve a problem. But HS aims to solve your problems, too.
We build your website in a way that is cost-efficient, optimized for search and easy to update. One of the biggest complaints we hear from companies is that it’s difficult or impossible to access their own site without incurring more expense from developers.
HS builds our sites in a way that makes it easy for clients to do their own updates. Of course, we’re happy to make those updates, too.
This type of collaboration not only makes for a better website, but a better customer experience online and a more impactful web presence.