Having built websites for ECP’s for over 20 years now, the one constant issue that blindsides so many websites and dooms them to disaster is the failure to realize who the website is being built for. I can’t begin to tell you how many business owners want a website built for them instead of their prospective customer.
They want colors they personally like. They want pictures of people they personally find attractive. They want photos of them and almost never their staff. (How do you have an About Us, without the us?) They want to spell out their entire curriculum vitae. In short, what they really want and won’t come out and say, is they see their website as being an exercise in vanity. That’s a pretty pricey shrine, isn’t it?
For most ECP’s, your website is a tool to bring you customers and patients. It is there to be searched, to be indexed, to be found, and to ultimately find a solution for your customers and prospective customers. It is not a shrine. It is not an experiment in creativity. It is not a catalog of everything you do and everything you sell.
Think about how you shop and where you shop. Did you buy your last business suit based on the resume of the store owner? Did you purchase your last automobile based on where the dealer went to college? Did you drive an extra half an hour across town to see a new dentist instead of one somewhere close to your home or office? (Keep in mind I ask about a new dentist, not someone you’ve been seeing for years.)
People have a lot of choices as to where to do business. The number of choices we have is increasing, not decreasing. Who would have thought 10 years ago that people would buy quality eyewear online instead of at their local ECP? Who would have thought 5 years ago you would be seriously competing with your own eyewear vendor online for customers?
Your website is often the first and sometimes the only showcase for your store or practice. Are you answering the questions you want people to ask or are you actually answering the questions they are asking?
This is not a new problem. Many a business advertise on mediums they like instead of mediums their customers use. A business owner might advertise on the local sports talk show, but is that the show his customers listen to or he listens to? An eye care practice might carry a lot of a particular style type of frame, but is it the style your customers ask for and purchase, or what the buyer or business owner likes to wear?
You wouldn’t choose a location for your business or practice because it is convenient to your home instead of convenient to where your customers live or work, would you? I hope not, anyway.
Getting back to your website, you need to ask yourself these simple questions to see if your current website is good enough or the website you are going to build will be worth the money.
- Who is the website being built for? (who is your target market)
- What are the problems they have that you can solve?
- What do they want to see on your website?
- How easily will they find what they are seeking to make a decision as to your business?
No website is for everyone. It should be targeted for a specific audience. You can’t answer every question that could possibly arise about your business on your website, nor should you. You can answer the questions that are most commonly asked, however. You can’t showcase every frame and color you carry, nor should you. Unless you only exist online, you want people in your store or practice, so you want to tease them with enough product information to convince them the trip is worth their while. Remember, if you try to show everything you sell, you by default show everything you don’t sell as well.
People will on average spend less than 3 minutes on your website. Can you tell them what you want them to know about you in 3 minutes? You better…