How to keep customers coming back

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Perhaps you’ve invested time and money into developing a website to promote your small business but your visitors aren’t being converted into paying customers. Even worse, some of your potential customers are leaving without even exploring what you have to offer.

Here are some of the most common problems that cause this and how to fix them.

Bad design
First impressions count! If a potential customer finds their way to your landing page and they don’t like what they see, they’ll leave. A bad design can include:

  • Unprofessional design. If the layout of your site looks extremely amateur, visitors are going to have a hard time trusting you. This can include gaudy colours and mismatched branding.
  • Difficult to read fonts or too much text. Ensure that headings and body text are big enough that they can be read easily. Sometimes people want to communicate everything at once and this can be intimidating to viewers. Remember, less is often more.
  • Browser plugins. These are annoying; they slow down the page load speed and often crash because of compatibility errors. Ditch Flash and Silverlight for new HTML5 technologies which are cross-platform, load faster, and more versatile!
  • Autoplay video media. This is very intrusive and often seems spammy. Video content is great, but let users choose whether they want to play it or not. If your homepage is engaging, chances are your audience will want to play your video of their own accord.
  • Too many ads. Ads can be malicious so people have learned not to click them. If you absolutely must carry revenue generating advertising keep it minimal and unobtrusive.

Confusing navigation
It should always be easy for your visitors to find their way around your website. If it’s not, you need to rethink your layout immediately.

  • Non-responsiveness on different devices. These days you need a page that automatically adapts to the viewer’s device, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. This is important so that your information is presented in the most accessible layout for your visitors.
  • No call to action. Sometimes people have great websites that tick nearly all the boxes but they have forgotten to entice the customer to reach out and take the next step. Is your call to action obvious?
  • Broken page links. Due to the ever-changing nature of the internet, pages often get moved. The problem with this is that if you have content that points to a page that has been moved, the link will be broken and the user will be unable to find what they are looking for. Make it part of your business practice to run a broken link checker frequently.

No personal touch
If you do not make it easy for users to contact you most people will leave frustrated and give up. It is not enough to offer a single contact method either. Customers are diverse in age, language, disability and technological ability so you need to offer multiple methods they can use to reach you. You need to ensure that you engage with these and offer timely responses, not just automated replies. Contact methods you can consider include online enquiry forms, an email address, a contact phone number, online live chat form and social media links.

Information and content issues
Nothing annoys customers more than false claims. Be honest about your product. Don’t surprise your customers with hidden costs or hide information. If you charge for shipping, be upfront about this. Many have abandoned the shopping cart when they realise that there’s a $40 shipping charge they weren’t aware of.

It’s important to focus not only on product features but also the benefits for your customers. Help customers understand how this product will make their life better. Tell a story. If this way of writing about your products doesn’t come naturally to you, it may pay to hire a copywriter to assist with this. They can also help insert short and long-tail keywords into your text to help your content rank higher in the search engine rankings.

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Related articles:
1. How to improve your website ranking
2. 5 digital hacks for small business owners
3. The best free online places to promote your business

Why retaining customers are important

Luke Chaffey
Luke Chaffey is a senior member of the KBB Digital team, and heads up the search marketing division. With a keen eye on innovation and developing digital trends, Luke regularly attends the Google Partners Masterclass, and is also a prolific writer for websites such as Yahoo, The Australian Government (Digital Business sector), Kochie’s Business Builders, Smarter.Digital, KBB Digital.

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