1. Phone number on every page
I know it can seem intimidating to list a phone number on your website when you’re a work at home parent but many suppliers and customers prefer to talk rather than e-mail, even in this day and age. In fact, one of my favourite clients came to me because the first person he’d been recommended refused to chat on the telephone. My willingness to talk earned me work, and his word of mouth referrals continue to benefit my business in a huge way.
A phone number gives an appearance of ‘real-ness’ and transparency. It takes you from “internet nobody” to someone tangible.
If you only have a personal number and don’t want to invest in a work phone, consider paying for a virtual phone number to mask yours.
2. Examples of your work
Although difficult if you’re bound by NDAs, showing examples of your work is crucial to quickly show your potential customers that you can do what you say you can. This is especially true if you work in an industry that relies on creativity or visual ‘stuff’ – design, writing, etc.
If your work is all protected by NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements) or you’re just starting out and don’t have any “real” work to show, put examples and dummy work on your website. As long as you make it clear to your potential clients that it’s fictional work, you’ll be fine.
3. Contact form
Although there are still lots of people who like a good chat on the phone before handing over business, there are just as many — if not more — people who want to make contact via the web. This can be for a variety of reasons:
- They’re making enquiries at work and don’t want to have to take a personal call during work time (or shouldn’t be on the internet in the first place!)
- They have anxiety issues or dislike talking on the phone: this is incredibly common
- It’s quicker to describe their query or give requirements in text format than it is to explain on the telephone
- They want a written record of communication
- Laziness! (Guilty as charged…)
For this reason I highly recommend you have a working contact form on your website. But — and this is hugely important — don’t add a ton of required fields. Name, e-mail address and enquiry are all that you need to reply to the submission. You can ask for more details later on if it seems relevant.
4. Social media links
If you’re on social media (and if not, why not?) then make sure that you link your social media profiles from your website. Like many people now, if I have a quick question for an item I want to buy or about a venue etc, I always reach out first on twitter or facebook before I resort to emailing, purely because people generally respond faster via social media than they do via email.
5. Make it clear what benefit you have over competition
Every business should have a USP (Unique Selling Point), some reason or another why customers should buy your product or services over the competition. If you don’t make it clear to your website visitors what that USP is, and why they should use you, you run the risk of losing them before they’ve even left your home page.
If you can make it look like you have the perfect solution to your client’s problem, you have a guaranteed sale.
Testimonials (or product reviews, if you are selling something physical) sound cheesy and are easy to fake (NEVER do this!) but people still read them before spending their hard earned cash. As someone who does their shopping almost exclusively online, I avoid anything with zero reviews or things rated poorly.
To give your testimonials or reviews authenticity and make them feel more powerful, make sure you use a name and — where possible — a picture or image to represent the person behind the words. Use the testimonials on appropriate pages, e.g. from an existing customer of ABC Widgets on the page selling Widgets.
Don’t forget, your customers and clients are unlikely to offer up a testimonial, so make sure you ask. Give them some guidance: ask for specific reasons why your product or services worked for them, ask for figures or stats to back it up if appropriate, and then bask in the warm glow that comes from being told how awesome you are.
Image credit: anna maria lopez lopez