Does Your Website Have the Five Abilities?

This post is part of The PR Channel’s “Guest Blogger Series” featuring insights from Austin-area entrepreneurs and business leaders in areas complementary to PR (including marketing, sales, graphic design, web development and more).

By Chris Bailey

Since my company is currently undertaking a website redesign project, I’ve been thinking a lot about websites lately – in particular, what makes them successful as a marketing tool. In a quest to learn what other companies have done, I’ve visited dozens upon dozens of business sites for clues to their potential success. What I think I’ve discovered is…

It takes five -abilities to make your site a successful marketing and business development machine.

Justifiability: What do you do and why do I need it?
Your site has to make a convincing and fast value proposition to a potential customer. That means not pummeling them with countless feature sets, services, and all the things that YOU think make you great. It does mean succinctly describing what your business does and why it matters to a customer.

Capability: How will you solve my problem?
While it’s not necessary to go in-depth into how your business works, it is necessary to show you understand your customer’s challenges and then offer how you can uniquely resolve them. Conduct some market studies and learn your core customer’s pain points. Then use their language (not your own cryptic in-house terminology) to demonstrate how you can make their lives easier.

Easability: Is it easy to work with you? Is it easy to buy from you?
No matter how incredibly wonderful and life-changing a product or service might be, no one – REPEAT, NO ONE – wants to buy it if it only leads to a painful experience. Your site needs to not only be easy to use and navigate, it needs to mirror just how easy it is to work with you.

Credibility: Can I trust you?
We all know that trust is a cornerstone of business. Prospects want to know that your company isn’t some fly-by-night operation that’s not going to deliver on promises. It’s why so many sites have those areas on their home page showing logos from companies they serve. That immediately implies credibility by getting us to think, “Well if [Company X] trusts them, I can too.”

Dependability: Will you be there when I need you?
Just like credibility, prospects want to know that once they make the decision to work with you they’re not going to regret it. They want to know that you’re there when something doesn’t work. They want to know that you’re listening when they have an idea or suggestion. They want to know you’re going to be a partner in their success.

Take a look at your site and ask whether it meets these five criteria. If not, what can you do right now to change that? I guarantee it will be worth your time and effort.

Chris Bailey is an anthropologist, marketer, and business strategist, in addition to being the Marketing Manager for Journyx. In his professional role, he’s responsible for demand generation, branding, social media, customer experience, and product development. He blogs at www.baileyworkplay.com.

photo found on flickr commons.

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4 Responses

  1. LuAnn Glowacz says:

    Chris: thank you for the post! Your advice is always so spot-on. So many businesses fall into the trap of jamming too much info onto their sites or providing bells and whistles like live chat that aren’t even “manned.” It’s amazing how simple usability fixes can turn things around.

  2. Chris Bailey says:

    LuAnn, I think the real trap is forgetting that a site isn’t brochureware that gets pushed outward onto your customer. Instead, it needs to be more like a mirror where a customer sees his- or herself in the website. The more that happens, the more likely a customer is to want to do business with you.

    • Chris, I’m also working right now on the complete redesign of a client’s website. This post could not have come at a better time; full of reminders about why a good website is important, and that sometimes, especially in this case, it’s definitely quality, not quantity, that make a website stand above the rest.

      Thanks for guest blogging, by the way! We’re honored to have you.

      • Chris Bailey says:

        Christine, it’s my pleasure. You’re so right…a good website is about quality content. And quality content starts and ends with how it resonates with the end user. Socially, we tend to avoid people who do nothing but talk about how great they are with zero interest in us. It’s really the same in business.

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