When a business creates a website, they do it with the best of intentions. They certainly don’t do it with the intention of it failing. But, unfortunately, the majority of small business websites fail, and it’s not because the website looks terrible or the content is not informative. Instead, it’s because the website does not answer the visitor’s burning desire. It does not have a cohesive brand story. The startling thing is, the business could probably fulfil the visitor’s needs, it’s just that the website doesn’t get that message across.
Failing may be a bit of a subjective word as it depends on the website’s goal.
Let’s assume that most businesses want their website to generate more income for their business, whether that is due to more inquiries, which eventually turn into sales or sales direct from the website.
While the business wants to increase its sales, the customer wants a solution to a problem. Unless the company clearly tells the customer that they understand their issue and can solve it, the website does not meet the potential customer’s needs.
Why do small business websites fail?
When getting your website built, you can pay a lot of money to get your brand looking good, have a great looking logo, create your content and get a fantastic looking and functioning website. But if you have a confusing message on what you do for your customer, it can all be a waste of money.
Too much information or too many options confuses. The customer’s brain has to work too hard to decide whether what you offer will work for them. The more predictable and straightforward the message, the easier it is for the brain to digest.
It is not a given that a pretty website will make you sales.
Words make sales. And if you haven’t got a clear message on what you do and how you can help, your customers won’t listen.
Once you create a clear message, you will be surprised by how easy it is to create a website that meets your goals, emails that get opened and sales promotions that people respond to.
What your customer wants
Nobody wants to be confused or spend so long trying to work out if you can help. If you are not clear with your message, your potential customers will switch off.
Customers want clarity and not confusion. They want to quickly and easily work out whether you can solve their problem.
The following three principles are vital in making a potential customer into a buying customer.
1. Help your customer survive & thrive
One of the overriding functions a brain performs is to help you survive and thrive.
Maybe you have already heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. Survive and thrive summarises the deficiency needs and growth needs described in the theory.
All the brain does each and every day is to help their person and the people they care about to get ahead in life. So it is on the constant lookout to see if they can find something that will help them and make their lives easier.
This means that when we fill our websites with information about why the company exists, the history, how great we are, and the technical details of all of our products or services, your message gets lost amongst the minutia of the details.
Unless you write your content to show the customer how the things you deem important about your business or product will help the customer survive or thrive, it is just a lot of noise.
Ultimately our brains choose to ignore the noise.
As a result, always make sure that your message is customer focussed. Show them why and how you help them make a better life for themselves.
2. Create a clear message of what your business does
While you are filling your website with great information about your business that you think is important, you are actually making the customer’s brain work hard trying to work out your offer.
If the brain has to work too hard, this goes against the brain’s primary objective of making sure you survive and thrive.
Having too much seemingly random information that confuses the brain means that the brain switches off.
If you don’t get across your message on how the customer can survive or thrive quickly, with the minimum of scrolling or mouse clicks, the customer will go elsewhere. The last thing you want is your potential customer leaving your website.
Create a clear brand story
The key is to make sure your business’s message is about something that will help your customer survive and thrive and say it succinctly and clearly.
If you are unsure how to do this, the simple solution is to incorporate stories into your brand’s message.
Stories help get your message across by involving your customer. The brand story places them in the centre as the hero and lets them know that you understand their problems and can show them how to resolve them.
Using a brand story building formula that has been used for centuries puts everything in order, so the brain doesn’t have to work hard to understand what’s going on.
Find out more about using brand storytelling to improve your marketing here.
So what is your compelling message to your customers? Can you say it easily? Is it simple, relevant and repeatable? Can your entire company repeat your message to anyone who asks?