10 Ways to Better Serve Your Online Customers This Holiday
Last year, online holiday shopping exceeded $44 billion. But, companies still are making critical mistakes in the language they use on their Web sites that has users going elsewhere.
Unsuccessful sites are organization-centric. Practically all Web sites—whether intranets or public sites—start off with an organization-centric worldview. Gerry McGovern provides 10 tips to make your site more customer-centric.
1. You are not your customer. Never fall into the fatal trap of thinking that all you have to do to understand your customers is look into your heart. Constantly research and test.
2. Your language is not your customers’ language. Four thousand people a month search for “low fares” (industry language), while 2 million search every month for “cheap flights” (customer language).
3. You love to talk about features, but your customers, first and foremost, care about benefits.
4. Never, ever start a sentence or a heading with the name of your organization. Customers know who you are; they’re at your Web site, after all.
5. Your Web site is not a murder mystery. Tell them who did it in the heading and summary. Lead with the need.
6. Go easy on the flash and the bells and whistles. Functional, simple design tends to do better on the Web. (Just look at Google.)
7. Make sure your homepage communicates with absolute clarity exactly what you do—and what makes you special.
8. Don’t waffle. Avoid all that filler content. Customers are highly impatient. They just want the killer stuff.
9. Use the Web to listen to and get into more conversations with your customers. (That’s what blogging is all about.)
10. Never, ever waste your customers’ time. It’s the ultimate sin of the convenience society. Great Web sites are about convenience, speed and price.
—Gerry McGovern is author of “Killer Web Content” (A&C Black Publishers, 2006) and CEO of www.gerrymcgovern.com. He provides Web marketing and content consultation to companies such as Microsoft, Cisco and Hewlett Packard, universities including UCLA and the University of Minnesota and numerous government agencies including the FAA, HUD and the EPA. For more, visit www.gerrymcgovern.com.