An easy-to-read and navigate web page is a plus for any website, but for B2C or B2B businesses, it is vital. Today’s online market is larger than it ever has been, and businesses which have the know-how can take full advantage of this. A problem that plagues many sites, even major players like Amazon or BestBuy, is the challenge of complicated, cluttered pages. A cluttered homepage that is difficult to navigate can frustrate visitors into leaving for another vendor that is concise and clear.
(Photo credit: Daniel Oines - dno1967b / CC BY )
Clutter, Clutter, Everywhere!
If you don’t believe your customers would do this for your site, then think again. According to Retailing Today, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying (Retailing Today, 2014) and B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand's site (Google, 2014). The business that does not keep the customer in mind when developing their site not only loses that sale, but it also has the potential of losing a customer for life. A clean presentation, with a focus on presenting the business’s desired image, and avoiding overwhelming the visitor are the main elements to keep the incoming traffic clicking around the site.
Where is the mess coming from?
The difficulty many businesses have in maintaining a customer focus is they have never determined who their ideal customer is, and developed a strategy around reaching that customer. Web based selling depends on attracting visitors to your site and keeping them long enough to convert into customers. Unlike the traditional brick and mortar business which may be the only game in town, the web based buyer has a multitude of sellers to choose from.
Develop Your Customer.
It is therefore imperative to know the likes and dislikes of your target customer and develop a web strategy designed to reach, and keep, that customer. Marketers describe this as developing a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. Not just the demographic data of age, gender, income, location; but also how that customer behaves, are they active in social media, what they search for, how and when they shop, and what their needs are. A persona allows the business to better understand the customer and relate to that customer as a human being not just a number. As Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot puts it, “Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, …This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.” (HubSpot, 2015). For a more detailed explanation of persona development (and a free persona template), see Pamela Vaughan’s blog post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business. After the business develops their buyer persona they then have the task of reviewing their web presence through the eyes of those ideal customers.
Clean Up On Aisle 12.
The business can now extend their efforts and strategy on meeting the needs of the customer they have focused on rather than trying to catch everyone. Attempting to catch every fish in the sea when you really want swordfish is not only exhausting, it is confusing. Keep it simple by focusing on your target customer. Develop your web presence around that customer’s behaviors and likes. The business no longer has to attempt to advertise every possible combination. De-clutter your web site by moving or eliminating the items that don’t appeal to your buyer persona. The idea is for the client to click to the item(s) that appeal to them with the minimum of fuss and enjoy the experience. This is the way to a delighted customer, and a delighted customer will spread the word to their friends and social media. Both traditional word of mouth, and social networking gain your business more attention and positive feedback than advertisement ever could.
Keeping It Clean.
Nearly all websites have advertisements in the margins; links to ongoing promotions or just mainstay products. The difficulty is when the page has promotions in the upper margin, side margin, and even at the bottom attempting to get attention and contending with the main page. The viewer is bombarded by these images competing for their attention. Development of buyer personas and the creation of an online strategy that concentrates on the needs of those buyers eliminates the need for all the clutter. Developing their web presence around how the pages, navigation, and advertisements would be viewed by that customer, they can develop a higher click rate and convert more visitors. As the now delighted customers recommend the products and services, the business is motivated to maintain the unencumbered web presence and instead can focus on the business of creating long lasting relationships with customers. De-cluttering can indeed bring new customers to your business, and help keep current clients as well.