In the modern age of the internet, you need a website if you want your business to succeed. In the past, we relied on direct advertisement, but this is swiftly becoming obsolete. DVRs record programs so that viewers can watch TV shows at their leisure, allowing them to skip commercials, and that’s when they don’t just stream a show directly. Ad blockers stop most ads from appearing on websites, so they don’t get seen much. All of the old ways of marketing are becoming less valuable, making your company’s website the hub of information that customers can go to learn what your company is about. That’s why it’s important that you make your website S.T.I.C.
S.T.I.C. is a short acronym I’ve developed to help remember the 4 most important things a website needs to do to get people interested in your company. You need to Show, Tell, Invite, and Capture your visitors.
To show your audience what you’re about, you need to make effective use of visual media – images and videos. The visual side of the internet is the most effective part of keeping a customer’s interest. Ideally, you want the customer to be able to see what their experience with your company will be like at a glance. Use real photographs of your business to do this. Hire a professional photographer to get the best results. You’ll want an image of your business as they’ll see it from the road, letting them know what to look for as they drive by. Images of real employees and real customers are preferable, as it creates a sense of authenticity.
Be wary of stock photos. Stock photos may look good, but since anyone can license and use them, they’re likely to have multiple copies floating around on the internet. If people see a photo on your website that they’ve already seen somewhere else, it destroys that authenticity that draws them in. This is doubly true if it is apparent the image could not possibly have come from anywhere near your business.
Whenever possible, make use of videos. Videos engage the audience in a more direct way than just images or text will, and will keep their attention longer. A good video will help you show what your company is about.
While images are needed to help convey a sense of authenticity, they aren’t enough. You need to also tell them what you’re about. Customers need to know who you are, what you do, and why they should care. You want to make sure they know what makes you different from your competition. How are you smarter, more experienced, and safer than other companies your customers could go to? What do you offer, and what does it cost?
Images can ground your business in the real world, but the text gives visitors the information that helps them decide whether or not they want you. On this front, videos help a lot, too. Videos combine the showing and telling into a single element that is easy to process and understand.
Finally, an FAQ can be hugely effective. It can condense all of the important points your customers need to know into an easily understood question and answer format. Make sure your FAQ covers all of the important points before your site goes live and don’t be afraid to expand it as you get more customers. Any question your website doesn’t answer that you find your customers regularly ask should be added to the FAQ.
After showing and telling your customers what you’re about, you want to invite them to take action. In the web design business, we call this the Call to Action. It basically means providing easy steps to get in touch with you, to learn more, or to purchase your goods or services.
Generally, the best call to action is a clickable button that takes the visitors to an appropriate location, or provides them with a sample download. These include buttons to start free trials, download sample documents, or learn more by going to pages with more detailed information. Generally, you’ll want call to action buttons to have warm, comforting colors – like red, orange, and yellow – to draw the eye and make customers curious. Naturally, what colors work best will depend on the color scheme of your website, so make sure you talk this over with your web designer.
While buttons are highly effective, they’re not the only way you can invite your customers to take action. Having a contact form that customers can fill out along with a text prompt to get in touch with you if they have any questions is an effective call to action for those who are on the fence and want to know more. If you place bolded title text above a video telling your customers to “See us in action!” that’s also a call to action, inviting them to watch the video to learn more.
Remember, a call to action isn’t about what you want, but what the customer wants. When deciding how to phrase your call to action buttons and text boxes, you want to make sure they’re focused on helping the customer see how you can give them what they want.
The ultimate goal of your website is to capture people’s attention and draw new customers to your business. If you’ve worked all of the above steps into your website’s design, you’re on the right track. Your invitation to take action should have hooked them, so now you reel them in.
To do that requires you to take some action outside of the website. Your contact form is the most effective way to capture new leads. This directs them to personally contact you and gives you a chance to give them a personalized sales pitch that’s more effective than the general information on your website. It gets customers more invested because it gets them to open communication on their terms; they get in touch with you instead of you going to them. If they contact you, you already have their interest, so with timely replies and relevant answers to their questions and concerns, you’ll have a chance to turn curious visitors into loyal customers. Remember, the interaction between you and your customers is the most important part of keeping people coming back.
Make it S.T.I.C.
Customer loyalty is all about providing customers with the best experience combined with the best services or goods, but before you can get customers, you need to make sure they know about you. As people move more towards the internet as their primary source of information, a website becomes more invaluable to your business.
The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into customers. You do that by Showing them what your business is like with visual media, Telling them who you are and what you do in the text, Inviting them to take action to Capture their interest and convince them you’re the business they’re looking for. If you follow these steps in designing your website, you’ll create an effective tool for converting casual visitors into loyal customers.