Imagine you’ve moved to a new town and you’re in desperate need of a haircut. You don’t know anyone to ask for a recommendation, so you decide to take a walk down the main street where there happen to be three hair salons.
At the first salon, you notice a cracked shopfront window with a sun-faded sign, shabby looking chairs and one sad-looking customer reading a magazine from 1999. You keep walking.
At the second salon, the shopfront is intact but there’s a sign on the door that says, “Back in 10 minutes”. You notice the signage looks pretty good, the chairs are trendy and new, and the walls are lined with photos of men, women and kids showing off their haircuts.
When you get to the third salon, you bump into a woman on her way out. Her hair looks amazing and she has a huge smile even as she puts her now empty wallet back into her handbag. The shopfront signage is clear and appealing, the salon looks stylish and comfortable (with those massage-chair thingies you love), and there is someone smiling at the front desk just waiting to book you in with your own personal hairstylist.
Which salon would you choose?
Your website is like a virtual shopfront, where your customers come to see what you’re about before they consider stepping inside. Your main aim is to get them in that door.
So, here are five questions to ask yourself about your website:
Is your USP (unique selling proposition) obvious?
What sets your business apart from others? Why should people come to you instead of ‘the salon’ down the street?
Why should your audience believe you?
Once you’ve established what you have to offer that’s distinctly yours, you need to back that up with evidence. A great way to do this is by including testimonials or case studies from happy customers detailing how you solved a problem for them and/or how much they love the product or service that you provide.
Have you given people a call to action?
What do you want people to do when they get to your website? Do you want them to book an appointment? Request a brochure? Buy something? If you can, make your call to action really obvious by using a button like this:
Are you talking to your target market?
Who is your target market? Are you appealing to women with children, retirees, DINKS (double income no kids), people with a particular profession, or someone else? Work out who your perfect customer is and have a conversation with them through your website. Answer the questions they would have when looking for a product or service like yours.
Does the ‘tone of voice’ reflect how you want your brand to be perceived?
Are you relaxed and friendly, stylish and sophisticated, professional and formal, quirky and unconventional, or authoritative and trustworthy? Maybe you’re a different combination. Whatever you are – is your website communicating your true voice?
For me, the decision to choose a hairdresser is not one I take lightly. And I have moved cities seven times in the past decade, so I know a thing or two about finding my way in a new town. In this case, the decision would be pretty simple: salon three.
Salon one is not even trying. Salon two is sending me mixed messages and appears unavailable.
Salon three, on the other hand, gives a glowing testimonial before I even get to the door, the layout is inviting, and there’s someone waiting to take my appointment (a clear call to action). We haven’t even discussed price – but I’m already sold.
Isn’t that how you want your customers to feel?