If you’re running any kind of business today, odds are that it has at least a minor online component. It’s become less of a luxury and more of a necessity – particularly given that studies indicate 8 out of 10 customers are likely to engage with your business if it has a website. A business without a web presence, in 2019 and moving forward, is archaic to some degree.
What’s also likely, if there’s an online component to your business, is that there are also websites for some of your competitors. There are very few companies that occupy categories or genres unto themselves, which presents a problem for you. From a prospective customer’s point of view, there may be little difference between your website and that of your competitor – unless, of course, you make sure that there is one, which is what we’re discussing in this piece.
Simply put, how can you make sure that your business’s online presence stands apart? There might be endless answers to this question, and one could even argue, vaguely, that it just comes down to creativity and innovation. Considering some digital marketing strategies and a few examples from around the web though, we have four tips to start with if you’re building a website or giving new thought to one you already have.
Look Different – It’s a simple tip, but arguably more important than any in-depth strategy or practice. It’s worth your while to take the time to find your competitors online, observe the ways in which they look and feel similar to one another, and then avoid repeating those things with your own site. That’s not to say your site shouldn’t look like the business you’re in; a steel construction site should not resemble an online gaming arcade, for instance. However, if your site literally has a different appearance at first glance, visitors may be less likely to gloss over it and keep clicking through options.
Offer Payment Variety – With more and more digital payment methods being offered these days, we’re just beginning to see prominent companies in certain industries recognize the importance of offering payment variety. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is most visible in online gaming platforms, where money is changing hands constantly. Once largely reliant on digital card payments, UK gaming sites have led the way in expanding. Some embrace digital processors, a few handle cryptocurrencies, and others still even welcome payment by phone bill. The benefit to this is that with more digital payment options available to today’s consumers, people have developed their own comforts and preferences, and you can cater to all of them rather than asking prospective customers to pay in a way they’d prefer not to.
Explain Yourself – Take this tip literally. Whatever your business might offer in the way of services or products, be sure to explain it clearly and concisely, and in a manner that’s easy for site visitors to find. This is a tactic that, as you might expect, is most clearly demonstrated by newer companies in newer spaces, where explainers are more obviously needed. One example we’ll point to is Robinhood, the hugely popular online and mobile investment tool that’s exploded in the last few years. To many, the notion of signing up with a new, decidedly modern company to trade stocks is unusual. To younger people, it might be entirely foreign. But through a clearly placed “Learn” tab on its homepage, Robinhood directs visitors to a very helpful, step-by-step explainer. Granted, not all businesses face the same challenges, but in general being able to explain your purpose and functionality is a positive.
Put Trust Center Stage – Last but not least, we’d recommend you make an effort to put trust center stage on your web platform. That can mean different things for different companies, but overall it means a combination of providing transparency and credibility. Make your contact information easy to find, and show (at least vaguely) where your operations are located in the real world, so as to give the impression of legitimacy. Post any reviews or positive write-ups your company may have to boast about, and do so prominently. And if there are any necessary licenses, certifications, or similar qualifications in your field, make sure those, too, are broadcasted. This isn’t to say your homepage should be a running scroll of five-star reviews and certificate titles. But to the extent any of this kind of information is relevant, use it to make your platform instantly trustworthy.
Again, there are endless answers to how you can make your business stand apart online. But the above tips should be a good start.