Your website is the front door to your equine business. It is one of the first places where new customers will learn about who you are, what you do and what makes you a better choice than your competitors. Your website is an extension of your brand and a place where customers may do business with you. It is where transactions take place – either in the form of direct sales or acquiring customer information.
That’s why it’s so crucial you evaluate your website. The best performing websites are easy to navigate, fast loading and mobile responsive. They achieve their aims of connecting with the customer, creating ease and urgency, and directing action. It’s time to evaluate if your own website ticks all of these boxes.
Every successful marketing strategy requires a time for review. No business remains static over time, which means your marketing in general and your website in particular, should also change as your business does. Your website is a virtual introduction to your prospects on a platform over which you have control, unlike external websites, like Facebook. The goal of your website is to be found by those who are searching for products or services like yours. You achieve this goal by ranking high in search engines, like Google.
The issue is twofold. Firstly, you must be found in order for your prospects to learn more about you and, secondly, your website must encourage prospects to choose to do business with you. Whether you are an online shop or brick and mortar business, this is the most important success metric when evaluating your website. You should have a firm idea of your sales goals per month, so the question is simple: is your website achieving these goals?
If the answer is no, or if you aim to increase your sales targets, there are several important considerations to keep in mind when reviewing your website, including:
- Is there a clear path for website visitors to take to achieve your goal?
- Is the copy on your website easy to read and customer-focused?
- Does your website display well on different screens and browsers?
- Do all of the links on your website actually work?
- Have you used good quality photos and product descriptions?
- Would additional elements, such as video, help to show what you sell?
- Are you collecting customer data and using this to influence your website?
Your brand is more than simply your logo; it is everything people see, hear, think and feel about your equine business. It is made up of the tangible – your business cards and website – and the intangible – the values you strive for. A loyal customer will not only require, need or want what you sell, they’ll also buy into your brand. When crafting your brand story, you write the beginning but, ultimately, your customers tell the ending.
The most powerful brands are consistent. Across every touchpoint, the use of logo, colours, fonts and style remain the same. This must also be achieved by your website. If your website doesn’t reflect the elements of your branding, then you fail to create a cohesive experience for your customers. You must ask yourself: how is my website nurturing customer loyalty? At the end of it all, it’s not only about short-term gains in the forms of sales, but building a business with longevity.
When reviewing your website’s branding and the customer experience it creates, there are several areas that you should analyse closely, including:
- Is your logo prominently displayed on all pages?
- Have you used the same fonts and colours throughout your branding?
- Do images and graphics create a sense of your brand?
- Have you written in a way that connects with your customer?
- Do you have an automated system in place to thank your customers?
- Does your website retain information about your customers’ behaviour?
- Do you reward your customers with special offers, etc?
Finally, it’s important to determine if your website is performing at its optimum. This includes the navigation and layout of your website, along with how it ranks in major search engines. No matter how snazzy the design, if your website isn’t user friendly, you have slim chances of driving action. While your website should be visual and appealing, you must always consider the user experience when making design decisions. This means the menu should be prominent, the pages should be neat and your website must re-size for mobile devices.
Every website should also be routinely updated for organic search engine optimisation (SEO). From a front-end perspective, this means you should be adding new content or at least updating content at least once a month. In terms of the back-end, you should ensure the software is current and plug-ins are checked. Lastly, your equine business simply can’t afford to ignore the need to be mobile responsive. With more and more searches now taking place on mobile, it’s proven this trend is here to stay.
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.