COURTESY OF GUEST BLOGGER, JILL STONE, STONE MOUNTAIN SOLUTIONS & TRENDS IN MARKETING MAGAZINE
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This is the third of the articles in the series “Marketing Your Service Website like a Retailer”. This article will focus on the organization of your website. There is a reason why retailers place their products on the shelves the way they do. Grocery stores, for example, place great importance on the layout of the store as it guides you through each aisle so you can see (and be tempted by) all the delicious items available for you to take home. What can we learn about website design by studying grocery store layouts?
When you first come into the doors of a grocery store you will likely encounter one of three departments: bakery, floral or produce. Why? Because these three departments have the most sensory appeal. You may be attracted by the smell of the baked goods or the colors of the produce or flowers. They grab your attention the moment you walk into the store. Alternatively, another layout may be to place the staples far away from each other. For example, milk at the far end of the store while bread is available when you first walk into the store. The psychology of that is to draw through the store to force you to see the other items available for sale. It works! How many times do we say “I only came in for a few items” and we walk out with a cart full?
The organization of your website should also have a logical structure. Not only for the purposes of search engine optimization but also to draw your visitors through your website to see all the services or products you offer.
As I mentioned in previous articles, your home page has to be the most enticing of your pages so visitors will be drawn in further to the interior of the site. With minimalistic design being the trend in 2016, it can be a challenge to have a simple home page that tells your visitors what your entire site is about. Give your visitors a way to simply and easily enter the website then draw them to the page that entices them to the smorgasbord of products and services you offer. This can be tricky but there are many visual ways to accomplish this.
In my last article, I mentioned the idea of a using a hero image on the home page…
Another option is a full sized image on the entire home page with a scrolling feature combined with the traditional layout. These are sometimes referred to as hero images or large attractive headers that take up the entire home page. They can contain a call to action, a video, an image or illustration.
This is a great way to employ the minimalistic design to the home page of your website. But an alternative design is the grid style which is similar to the Pinterest layout. Each image takes the visitor to the exact page they want. At first glance, you may think how does this take them through a tour of the entire website? Once your visitors click on the image they are interested in, it takes them to the page that gives them the information they are looking for but within the content of that page they will find links to follow to the other “aisles” of your store. The goal is to make it easy for them to follow the trail to the other pages where they will find all the other products and services you sell. As with anything in marketing, this requires a strategy and carefully written content.
You need to think about:
1. The trail you want to lead your visitors to follow (aisles)
2. Get them thinking about the other services they may need (impulse items)
3. Provide an easy way for them to access those services (checkout)
This is not an easy task, but if you put thought into your website before you design it, you will develop a website that works for you and makes it easy for your customers to buy from you.
As I mentioned in my marketing article in this issue, a sales page is a great way to lead your visitors on a trail and to make a purchase. A simple sales page will start out with the following goals:
1. Identifying the problem or desire your customers may have
2. How you can identify with them
3. How you can help them resolve the problem
4. How others have been helped by your product or service
5. Finally a call to action to contact you or purchase the product that will fulfill their business need or resolve their problem.
A sales page can vary depending on the need, product or services but generally they focus on these five goals.
You have likely gathered from reading this article or series of articles that a website is not something you just slap up and hope business will result from it. It is a strategic process and takes a strategic design. This is necessary in regards to marketing your business through a website as well as in the process of customers finding your website in the search results. The important message in this segment of the series is how to draw visitors through your website so they can see all you have to offer. Our next article in this series will discuss the décor of your store and the ambiance your visitors will encounter when they enter through the “doors” of your website.
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