The Purposeful Website

What is the purpose of your website?

For a long time there was an understanding about small business websites: you need one, and it should give people information about your business. I think that is a misunderstanding. That was the functional approach that ignored the purpose of a website.

What should be the purpose of a small business website.

Think of your website as the gateway drug to your business. So throw out the brochure mentality about listing products, features and benefits. Amazon is for products, your website is the beginning of a relationship. To that end, I submit there are two purposes to a small business website:

1. To get visitors to feel something about your business.

2. To convert visitors into potential customers.

The Emotional Connection

Let’s tackle the feelings part first. For you to establish a brand relationship with customers, there have to be emotions involved. People should have feelings about you. We’re not talking love-at-first-sight feelings (although that’s not bad), but we are talking about some sort of feeling. Are your website visitors intrigued? Do they feel some comfort, maybe security? How about happy? All these are possible feelings and any one is good. The key is to get potential customers to FEEL something about your business. But how?

Emotions are about connecting the heart to the mind in a personal way. Most small businesses are run by interesting entrepreneurs with engaging personalities, but you wouldn’t know it by the website. What is is about business that makes us turn all formal and sterile? The first step to getting website visitors to feel something is for you to get personal.

Review your website:

Remove all copy that is formal and sterile. Re-write it in a personal way. Talk directly to the website visitor one-on-one with lots of “you” and “your.” Write it so that your personality shows through by pretending you’re writing to your spouse or best friend.

Include staff, and personal, pictures and videos. We’re not talking videos of you blowing out birthday candles (unless you’re doing it at the office) but enough visual media for website visitors to see that you are a real person with a real personality.

Include personal revelations. Let website visitors get a sense of who you are. Write something personal. Is there a cause you are passionate about in your life? Is there something really cool you’ve done in your life? Include that on your website.

Be Empathetic

You also want website visitors to feel like you understand them. Website copy tends to be sales oriented: “Here’s how great we are, and here are all the reasons you should buy from us.” That’s not empathy, that’s self-serving.

Do you understand the customer? Can you feel what they are feeling? Does that show in your website? Write to what they are feeling.

Review your website:

Inject empathy: First, ask yourself what’s the customer thinking? Then re-write your website copy to that feeling.  Address what they want your service to do for them. Speak to their fears and doubts. Talk about what gets them excited.

Convert Visitors to Customers

Conversion has this connotation of being immediate and on the spot. That’s not reality. Customers are on a journey, and conversion is a step-by-step process. Your website is part of that journey and you provide those steps as part of the website experience. So what is conversion: It is the process of leading website visitors at least one step closer to becoming your customer. But how?

Action. Visitors must be encouraged to take some action that moves them closer.

Review your website:

– Insert conversion actions by encouraging website visitors to:

  • fill out a form on the website to request more information
  • call you
  • visit your store or office
  • set an appointment to speak with you
  • sign up for your email list
  • download your brochure
  • order a free sample

The Purposeful Website

Is your website one of function, or of purpose? What do you want your website visitors to feel? How can you convert them?

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