Hal Gatewood photo of a watercolor mockup for website design

The Best Websites Do This for Customers

Sure, you have a business website. But is it doing what the best websites do to attract customers?

First, some perspective. As of January 2019, there are now over 1.94 billion websites on the Internet.

That’s a pretty mind-boggling number.

With so many sites competing for attention, businesses have to look sharp to stand out.

Do Websites Matter Anymore?

Increasingly, some businesses wonder if they really need a website, or if their social media pages are enough.

Here’s our take.

Clearly, social media is important. But you shouldn’t use social channels as a base camp for your business.

A website simply looks more professional and pulled together:

CareATC home page, best websites

Image Source: CareATC

Think of it this way. You’d never set up a physical presence without signing a rental agreement—right? It’s the same for your business website.

Quite literally, it’s your domain.

It’s About Trust

While social media pages can expand your reach and showcase your human side, your website builds trust.

“The Internet can be a worrisome place. Whether you are just browsing the web or you go online to make purchases, (it’s easy to be) leery about everything people do on the web.” – James George, web designer

Fortunately, you can build trust with payment logos, security badges, employee photos—and of course, useful information on your business site.

Section of OptimizePress's homepage, testimonials section

Image Source: OptimizePress

Here’s how great business websites build trust and engagement.

What the Best Websites Have in Common

Think of Apple’s iconic minimalism—or ZocDoc’s friendly, helpful vibe.

Different personalities? Sure. An effective website always appeals to its target audience in a unique way.

Apple's home page, minimalism in website design

Image Source: Apple

Zocdoc home page, friendly and helpful medical website

Image Source: Zocdoc

Thankfully, business sites don’t all look the same—at least, the best ones don’t.

But here’s what all great websites have in common:

  • They’re not shy about their unique selling proposition.
  • They are clear and easy to use.
  • They compel visitors to take action.

For the best results, you need to use all three strategies more effectively on your website.

A Unique Differentiator

Tiago Fioreze's photo of a bowl of green tomatoes with one red tomato on top (metaphor for a unique selling point on best websites)

Image Source: Tiago Fioreze

How many times have you visited a business website and found it nearly identical to a competing site?

Sad, but true. In their desire to keep up with the Joneses, too many companies end up looking like the Joneses.

Take plumbing. Unfortunately, plumbing is a tough industry with lots of competitors.

But instead of really focusing on a unique selling proposition, many plumbing sites try to be all things to all people:

Anta Plumbing website

Image Source: Anta Plumbing

As you can see, Anta Plumbing employs fully licensed professionals.

However, most plumbers are fully licensed, which makes this USP not all that … unique.

Now, check out a competing site:

Public Plumbing website, Toronto

Image Source: Public Plumbing

No doubt, both of these plumbing companies have a lot going for them.

But we’d argue that the second example shows a more unique selling proposition (e.g., environmental responsibility).

The website is also easier to read, with the phone number front and center.

And yes, clarity matters.

A Clear Message

Ben Kolde, Unsplash photo of a laptop screen on a wooden table

Image Source: Ben Kolde

Too many businesses think that if a little information is good, a lot is better.

Long lists of services? Check. Products tab, pop-up chat box, company description? Check and double check.

Don’t get us wrong; you need helpful information on your website.

That said, your website has to capture—and hold—a viewer’s attention in about eight seconds (the average attention span).

To capture attention, you must be clear. Here’s an example:

Massih Ortho website, simple websites

Image Source: Massih Ortho

On this website, the most important information is easy to see: phone, address, and engaging photo.

And what about the diamond-shaped call-to-action button? Simple. Easy. Clear.

A Compelling CTA

Matthew Kwong photo of Google pay screen on smart phone, by laptop computer

As mentioned above, your website’s main purpose is to compel action from visitors.

You might want visitors to shop now. Or watch a video. Or see a demo.

Regardless of your CTA, you want visitors to spot it immediately. Which means it needs to be visually interesting and in the right place.

Of course, even a well-placed CTA won’t be effective unless it’s also compelling.

Take a look at this laundry company’s homepage:

Home page for The Laundry Company in the UK

Image Source: The Laundry Company

Now, glance at another laundry company’s site:

Web page for Laundry Room, with CTA examples

Image Source: Laundry Room

Both sites show a primary CTA early on. So far, so good.

In the first example (The Laundry Company), visitors are asked to call. However, the phone number doesn’t immediately stand out against a gray background.

By contrast, visitors can spot the primary CTA (“Register Now”) immediately on Laundry Room’s site.

There’s also a logical hierarchy on the Laundry Room site (bolded subheadings as secondary CTAs).

A compelling message in the right place? That’s gold.

The Best Websites Focus on Customers

Brandi Redd, Unsplash photo closeup of smiling woman with blonde hair

Image Source: Brandi Redd

Bottom line: The best websites are about customers.

What can you do for customers that your competitors can’t do? What hassles can only you solve? Make this obvious on your website.

Some final reminders:

  • Create a site that’s user-friendly and mobile friendly.
  • Ensure that your site loads quickly (try one of these tools).
  • Use customer-centric language (‘you’ and ‘your’ instead of ‘we’ and ‘us’).
  • Make it easy to act right from your website.
  • Create a CTA that’s clear, compelling, and easy to find.
  • Make scheduling appointments easy (e.g., LocalMed for a dental website).
  • Put your most important information “above the fold” (near the top of the page).

 

Need more ideas for being visible online? Let Banyan help.

 

 

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10 Quick and Easy Videos That Spotlight Your Customers

In the past two posts, we’ve shared twenty fun and engaging ways to video your boss and co-workers and share those impromptu moments with your followers on social media.

Now it’s time to turn the spotlight on your customers.

Customer Videos—For the Win

As you probably know, the first rule of engaging social content is to post with your customers’ interests in mind. What do they want to see?

HINT: Feature customers in a video—and you better believe they’ll share that video with all their friends.

 

via GIPHY

We could also rephrase the question and ask what your customers don’t want to see.

HINT: Too many promotional posts can get old fast.

Want a lot more Facebook shares? Then make your customers the stars of the show! Just as you did with your boss and co-workers, ask simple questions that don’t take lots of time and thought to answer.

Social Media Experts Say …

You’re always looking for new customers. So why not let your current customers help spread the word?

According to WordStream, 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. As you feature customers in your Facebook videos, you’ll tap into an audience that already loves video content.

You can also expect a higher-than-average number of shares.

“Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.” – WordStream

Another plus?

By posting original video content directly on your Facebook page, you’ll see ten times the reach of a YouTube link copied and pasted into a post.

While we were visiting one of our Banyan clients, we decided to try out our own “video the customer” approach:

How to Do It

Look through the names of those who’ll visit your offices today. Or, send coupons to your best customers and single them out for an impromptu interview when they come in. Ask if they’d be okay responding to a short question on video.

If you’re a medical practice, try this approach just after check-in or at the end of the appointment. In-between ‘lag time’ also works—just use your best judgment.

Your Vacay

“Tell us about your last vacation. What did you do? How did you relax?”

Silly Face

“Quick! Show us your craziest, silliest face!”

Best Birthday

“What was your greatest birthday ever?”

Trouble Child

“Tell us a story about when you got in trouble as a kid.”

Spending Money

“If you had $10,000, what would you spend it on?”

customer video, illustration, Banyan

Scary Moment

“When you were little, what were you afraid of?”

Binge Watch

“What’s your favorite TV show? Why do you like it?”

Treat Yourself

“How do you reward yourself for doing something hard?”

Fave Food

“What is your favorite food and why?”

Best Part

“Tell us about the best part of your week so far.”

If you are engaging and friendly when you ask a customer to answer a quick question on video, you’ll put them at ease from the start. Then, let them know as soon as you post the video.

Pro Tip: Consider investing in a few inexpensive props (toy microphone, emoji signs, comic glasses, funny hats, etc.) to help break the ice and provide a relaxed atmosphere when you video your customer.

BONUS Video Idea

Want to make a bigger splash with a customer video?

Pick a milestone (100th patient or visitor this month, a customer wearing the most colorful shirt, etc.) and get ready to surprise your intended honoree LIVE on video! Here’s how it might play out:

  1. Ready the camera – Make sure your camera is ready to go live as your honoree comes in the door.
  2. Balloons & gift card – Have a big bouquet of balloons (or some other colorful display) and gift card in hand.
  3. Make some noise – Hold up congratulatory signs, whoop it up as a team—and get the whole thing on film!

 

via GIPHY

As you can see, engaging videos don’t have to be difficult to make. Use any of our ideas from previous blog posts to boost your social engagement, build a greater following online, and show your customers how much they mean to you.

P.S. We give you permission to have way too much fun with your customers.

 

Have you ever posted customer or patient videos on social media? Tag us @banyansocial so we can cheer you (and them) on!