How to Align your Website with your Business
Does your website represent your business? Businesses in various stages of maturity need to review how they present themselves to their targeted visitors and if they are consistent in their branding and style.
A business in the early stages may still be defining its image and audience, while a company going through great growth, may have shifted its product or service offerings or its targeted visitors. It’s important to take the time to see if the business reflects your current offerings and if that message is consistent across the various marketing platforms your business may be engaging in — like emails, social media sites, your website, YouTube, and anywhere else the business is represented.
When people look at websites, they make decisions about that site’s professionalism, safety, and whom the business serves. These decisions are made in a visitor’s mind in split seconds. According to a 2009 article in the Economist, people make decisions several seconds ahead of their awareness of a decision. Emotional connections can be made through pictures, perceived trust factors, and language.
Define Your Target Audience
Let’s look at four sites in similar industries in the same city to see how they’ve chosen to portray their businesses.
The first websites considered are life coaches in New York City. Each site has its unique identity. When you view these sites, consider who its targeted visitors are.
The Meredith Haberfeld site appears to be targeting high-end corporate clients. The design of the site is streamlined, though the home page is quite long. It uses white space and proximity to organize the various elements and presents a professional image.
It has strong trust factors, such as logos of the various companies where her clients work and logos of the media organizations that have featured stories on her business. The picture of the woman appears to be the actual coach, not a stock photo. Consumers unconsciously connect with photos of real people vs. stock photos, and more importantly, create an emotional connection. The site appeals to men and women.
By contrast, New York Life Coaching is a life coach who works with people on a more personal level. The tagline, “Helping you create a life you love” promotes the concept that this coach focuses on you, your passions, and your desires. To emphasize the intent of her site, she uses the headline question, “Ready for love to transform your life?” The site appears to target women, has a less formal feel and uses the color red, often associated with love.
In Austin, Texas two caterers with similar products and messages, present their services in different ways.
Emily’s Catering wants its visitors’ first impression to be food. It uses a large photo of an antipasto dish. People connect with food and Emily’s Catering presumably hopes not only to show off one of its dishes but also to tap into people’s memories — good food, good memories.
Under the picture is wording describing their services: “From corporate events to weddings, private parties to box lunches, Emily’s Catering provides premiere service unsurpassed by any caterer in Austin. With exquisite attention to detail, …”. It also states that it is a woman-owned HUB, which should be emphasized via a logo or an announcement image.
The other caterer, Gourmet Gals, uses a rotating banner of pictures with the types of services. One of these features a happy couple pictured on the left, and on the right side the word “Weddings” with a description is displayed.
Subsequent images and text in the rotating banner include a picture of a shrimp dish paired with “Corporate Events” and then an empty party room with the word “Celebrations.”
The text in the descriptions is written from the visitor’s point of view. “Weddings – It’s about YOU! Your love, your families and friends. Allow Gourmet Gals professional staff and chefs to create a day that reflects everything about YOU!”
Additional text on the page explains that the caterers have over three decades of experience and support various charities. It would be good to emphasize those points for easier scanning by their visitors by either bolding important information or by replacing the survey on the right side of the page with a callout stating their years in business and logos of the supported charities.