Did you know that more than 80% of consumers will do research online before they head to the store to make a major purchase? That’s according to a post in Retailing Today.
While this study focused on big-ticket items like appliances and electronics, it’s becoming increasingly valid even for relatively minor purchases. And if you have any doubt about whether people research services and businesses online, just check out sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.
This awareness of consumer habits underscores the importance of having a good web presence, engaging with your social media followers, and keeping up with reviews that are posted about your business. Why? Because you could be losing customers without even knowing it.
How do you get positive online reviews? This post will show you.
Here’s something else to think about: your website may well be your best shot at marketing. Another study, quoted on the Internet Retailer site, found that 62% of people looking for more information about a product used a search engine. Nearly as many—60%—used the manufacturer’s website, and 57% sought enlightenment from a retailer’s site.
So if your website is letting you down, you may not even realize it. Here are three things that you need to know, but that potential customers won’t ever tell you about your site:
Three Things Customers Hate About Your Site
The Fact That You Haven’t Updated Your Site Is Scaring Me. While web design standards don’t change with the budget-busting rapidity of clothing styles, they do change. And not keeping up with the trends can make you stand out as much as a guy wearing a bad 70s suit. Think about the message an outdated website conveys. Either you don’t know about the newest standards, or you can’t be bothered to apply them. Or maybe your business isn’t doing well enough for you to be able to apply them. See where this is going? To the land of not-good. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the security/compliance/confidentiality issues that can run through the heads of your more cautious customers.
Dude! Where’s My Shopping Cart? You wouldn’t think that website layout could be a problem. It’s not as if you can get physically lost in the ether we call the Web. But a poorly planned website can be so frustrating to use that customers may quit their search for further information and move on to your competitors. If they’re shopping on your site and abandon their carts, it’s just that much more obvious what kind of sale you’ve lost.
You Weren’t on the First Page of Google, So I Quit Looking. It’s been repeatedly shown that most people click on links found in the first page of search engine results and very few press on past the second or third page. This isn’t laziness; they know that Google, Bing, and other search engines rank their listings based on relevance. The further they go down the list, the less likely they are to find the information they want. This doesn’t mean you have to dominate the search terms associated with your industry, but you should be visible, especially to localized queries—the sort of thing “Plumbers in Fort Lauderdale” would turn up.
These days, creating a professional looking, easy-to-use site with passable security specs can be done on the cheap, if not absolutely for free. Search engine optimization can take a little time, but it’s worth doing right. And since we’re all tuned to the Internet for our information, having this web presence will help you connect with customers you never knew you had.
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