Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” That oft-quoted remark now borders on cliché, but small businesses can still learn a lot from The Great One if they focus on where their customers are going to be.
That’s because customers will occasionally go places you’d rather they wouldn’t. For example, they may do a search that lands them on a random page within your website instead of your beautifully curated home page. They may ask social networks about you or see your business on Yelp.com. Rather than focus on the ideal route for customers to come to your website, anticipate all of the other ways they might find your business.
Review sites are often ignored entry points, but they can have a massive impact on your business. If you have a solid business, you will likely have a nice distribution of reviews, with a few outliers in the mix. Negative reviews can’t always be mended, but by responding to those reviews in a positive and public fashion can help potential customers see you care and are making an effort to address issues. You can’t make everyone happy, but take time to regularly check your reviews online and resolve customer issues.
A Google search is the beginning of many customers’ experience, so it’s critical to appear near the top of the results page. There is a wealth of information from Google on search engine optimization (SEO), but at the most basic level, businesses should claim their free business listing on Google. Not only does this assure Google can find you, it opens up opportunities for geo-targeted advertising and other location-based opportunities.
Many customers will be researching your business on a mobile device. You’ll be missing out if your site isn’t responsive, meaning the site detects which type of device is being used and adjusts the display accordingly. Responsive design provides a much better customer experience, and responsive capabilities are easy to implement in many WordPress themes and with other features from Bluehost. Consumers are mobile; your site should be too.
It’s a global marketplace, and some of your potential customers might not be fluent English speakers. Luckily, offering language support doesn’t have to be complex. There are tools available from Google, Bablic, and others that can translate your website into multiple languages without a lot of expense or effort on your part.
There are countless customers scenarios, but by proactively anticipating how visitors will find your site and what they’ll need, you can improve customers’ experience — and, of course, your bottom line.