On the surface most business owners wouldn’t think there’s much in common between their local business website and an ecommerce shopping site, after all those two business models look nothing alike. But when you look at what both are trying to accomplish you realize just how similar they really are. Both businesses try to attract as many visitors possible via paid techniques such as SEO, PPC advertising, branding, TV and more. Both need those customers to convert in order to make a return on that investment and grow their business. In ecommerce that means having someone add an item to their shopping cart and check out, while the local website converts by having visitors call them, click for directions, get a quote, etc.
These similarities while basic would make you think that local business websites should be just as focused at optimizing conversion and ROI as their ecommerce counterparts, but that simply isn’t the case. Too many small businesses are happy to merely have a presence on the web instead of focusing on the huge potential it can have if done properly. But to do it properly owners need to find a design partner that isn’t focused on creating a site that looks great only. With the internet marketplace as competitive as it is design and marketing companies need to have their clients ROI on the forefront of their mind and realize local websites can no longer afford to be built without the same level of commitment to conversion that ecommerce has.
Here are 5 design techniques to get your local business website setup and ready to convert.
1. It All Starts With Calls-To-Action
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “What do I want my customers to do?”. If you’re a plumber you probably want them to call you or fill out a quote form. If you own a restaurant you want them to schedule a reservation, view your menu or click for directions. Once you figure out what the most important actions are that you want your customers to take you need to make these things the focal points of your design by creating calls-to-actions (CTAs).
CTAs are buttons or links with action-oriented text that compel a visitor to click on your offering. They should be placed in an easy-to-find area that is seen naturally while following the flow of your page. Give them a contrasting color from the rest of your website scheme, making it stick out but still look aesthetically pleasing. Make them large enough to be visible from a distance but not too big that it distracts from the rest of your content. And make sure they are added to every page of your site no matter the pages significance.
CTAs are the basic building blocks of successful website conversion, without them your site will never live up to it’s full potential and maximize your web profitability.
2. Responsive Design For Every Device
It’s no secret that mobile device usage has skyrocketed over the last few years. But it’s not just the number of users you should be concerned about, it’s also how they behave that should have you wanting to optimize your mobile today. 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within an hour, that means mobile users convert nearly 3 times higher than desktop or laptop users for the same searches. Mobile users have very specific intents on their minds when they get to your site, that’s why it’s critical your site uses a responsive design so it displays properly on every device.
Understanding mobile user intent on different devices allows you to make changes to CTAs and content so you can increase conversion on each.
Changes like making delayed CTAs like a quote request button in the header for a desktop user and replacing it with immediate action items like a click-to-call phone number and a click-for-directions button for mobile, actions that are more conducive to mobile users intents.
Mobile is only getting more popular, by making sure your site is optimized for conversion on every device you are setting your company up to grab market share from everyone else that is dropping the proverbial mobile ball.
3. Keep It Real
Every company has character, each has their own personality, your design needs to show it. Things like stock photos and generic text just don’t allow a prospective customer to gain insights into who you are as a company, and in terms of local sites this means lost conversions.
Take actual photos of owners and employees, get pictures of your building or product and action shots of actual people on the job. Get a professional video made with your story and offerings. Then incorporate these into your website, adding something on each page that creates personalization and builds familiarity and trust with your customers.
Now if you have real photos and video you need the text to match your companies unique message. It’s surprising to me how many business owners are happy to have a 3rd party content writer be the voice of their website. Having unique copy that allows customers to get to the heart of your story compliments your design elements to help increase conversions. By adding real elements to your customers are now more likely to contact you over the generic company down the block.
4. Build Out Content Pages
Everything you do, every service you provide or product you offer needs to have it’s own dedicated, optimized page. These drill-down targeted content pages are more specific to SEO strategy but are also relevant to conversion design.
These pages are often overlooked from a design perspective, often relegated to boring long page of text. But a few simple changes can make a big difference for conversion. Things like making sure your contact info or form is displayed prominently with an eye catching border on the top left or right of the pages content area. Always adding an image to the top of the page that exemplifies the topic, let the customer know visually that this is what they are looking for.
Also, break up those long boring pages of text. Use headings and subheadings to emphasize your most critical points and add example images whenever possible. Remember that most people are visual and would rather scan pages so keep your paragraphs short and to the point with more example images instead of long run-on paragraphs. Lastly, your content on these pages is topic specific so now your CTAs should be to. Make your forms and button text match that pages content, let users know that by clicking on these call-to-actions they are going to get exactly what they are looking for.
5. Always Be Testing
To truly take conversion as seriously as ecommerce companies you need to constantly be improving by using analytics to diagnose problem areas and test improvements. Setup A/B tests to compare different versions of pages to see which outperforms the other. Change up your CTA button colors and wording, re-write text, change your homepage banner, give different value propositions, all of these things can have different effects on conversion but you will never know unless you test.
Optimization of your site is never complete but to begin your conversion journey every local business website will benefit from implementing these 5 rules.