Is your website for you, your business or your customers? Your customers. Keep this in mind as you work through every stage of your website project. While your competitors are busy talking about themselves, you’ll be standing out with a customer-centric approach. Your prospects are the hero to your website’s story. Use the following questions to make sure your family business website engages and empowers them.
#1: What problems are you solving?
First things first, visitors to your website need to know if you can solve their problem. What kind of business are you? What is your expertise? What problems do your products or services aim to solve? What is the desired end-result you help customers achieve?
#2: What is unique about your business and how does that benefit me?
What sets you apart from your competition should directly benefit your customers. Successful businesses aren’t different for the sake of being different. Help them make that connection from your uniqueness to how it benefits them. Maybe you’ve been in business 100+ years, how do your customers benefit from your knowledge? Perhaps you’ve made it through 4 generations, what does the continuity of family ownership signal to customers?
#3: Who is your ideal customer?
Am I your ideal customer? That’s what visitors want to know. “Best in class” comes from experience in solving similar problems for similar people. Be clear about who you produce the best results for and back this up with testimonials, case studies and more. You will never be all things for all people so don’t pretend to be. It’s really about being respectful of people’s time. Presenting focus when it comes to who you serve will inspire confidence in your visitors, even if you’re not right for them.
#4: What are your family business values and how do I stand to benefit as a result?
Hold your family firm accountable by publicly displaying your values. People do business with people they like. You enable visitors to self-identify with your business when you stand for something. Values give life and shape to a business and identify how the family contributes to supporting the business’ future success.
Check out our Discovery guide for questions you can use to kickstart discussions at your next family meeting.
#5: How can you help me pre-sale?
Successful businesses know their customers and the problems they face on a daily basis. Earn the consideration and trust of your customers long before they are purchase ready. Showcase your expertise and build a relationship with prospects long before they are purchase ready. If you provide visitors with value, free-of-charge, they’ll wonder how much they stand to gain by paying you.
#6: How easy do you make things for me?
Every aspect of your website impacts the user’s experience. How users navigate from page to page can be either confusing or natural. Your homepage may take forever to load on mobile or it might be zippy quick. The words that describe your services may be overly technical or simple and concise. Your design may be cluttered and unfocused or minimalistic with the right amount of white space. Every design, content, technology or performance decision should be ran through the lens of what your visitors really need.
#7: What’s important for me here? What about here?
Use design to help lead visitors through your website. For first-time visitors, what pages they should view in what order won’t always be obvious. Successful websites are designed to guide a user from one page to the next until she has achieved her goal. This is called “user flow”. Sometimes the flow is obvious, other times not so much. Size, color and whitespace are tools we have at our disposal for this very purpose. Use them sparingly and intentionally.
#8: Who does “we” or “us” refer to?
Family businesses are typically more modest than non-family owned businesses. But for the family aspect to be considered a strength, people have to know the family behind the business. Some business families might promote the family aspect of the business more than others. That’s totally ok. What’s important to remember is that you want to humanize your business as much as possible. Include team photos, bios and even awards they’ve received. If you’re worried that you might be coming across as boastful, you most likely aren’t.
#9: What’s next?
What you’ve said thus far has resonated and I’m ready for whatever is next. What exactly is next? Where are we in the this process? What else do I need to do and how much longer until my problem is solved? We find that answers here need to be rooted in logic. Think about the technical details involved: timeframes, pricing, contracts, etc. Touch on warranties, return policies and shipping options. Questions asked right before and right after any transaction usually fall into this category. Each time a new one comes up, add it to your website. Be transparent by uploading samples of popular agreements, pay schedules, work orders, etc.
#10: Where do I sign?
Regardless of what industry you’re in, who you’re serving and what solutions you’re offering, there will be a time when your website needs to close the deal. For eCommerce businesses this is simply the checkout page, for service-based businesses this might be a schedule meeting page, others might just ask for contact details. Your close the deal page needs to be focused and simple, visitors to this page should be absolutely certain what they need to do to move forward. Take the time to construct unique automated email messages, responses after successfully submitted forms and helpful alerts that describe what required info might be missing from forms.
Need help getting these questions answered on your website? Check out how we can help.