Love it or hate it, your website is an integral part of your business. Gone are the days when you can have your website developed and then forget about it for a few years. Most websites need regular tweaks, changes, updates and ‘revamps’ to stay current.
This is the first in a series of blogs about how to make your website much more customer focused. In this post we are looking specifically at your logo. A few good questions to ask yourself when thinking about your logo, include:
- How big is your logo and how much space does it occupy on the screen?
- How big is it on a smaller device (smart phone or tablet)?
- Where is it positioned on the page?
The very first company website I developed in the late 1990’s was designed in flash because it was ‘cool’. The homepage comprised solely of my logo, filling the whole screen and spinning around. In order to get to the next page you had to click into the logo. Whilst many people commented on my logo and actually wanted something similar for their businesses, it did nothing for customer engagement and it definitely did not help me to sell more online.
Nowadays, if you look at some of the major e-commerce websites, you will notice that their logos are usually on the small side. They are normally in the left hand corner of the screen. They are discreet and do not detract from the rest of the webpage. Companies that are doing well have realised that your website doesn’t exist for you to show your logo off, or to tell the world “Look! I’m amazing!”. It exists to engage visitors. It may sound like an obvious point but generally people are interested in what your website can do for them. How does it answer a customer problem?
Your website needs to be completely customer centric. If the logo is too large, it becomes distracting and stops the customer focusing on your core message.
Two companies that do this really well are:
Here we look at technology giant Apple, who, whether you like them or not, often lead the pack with all things online related. Flic is a smaller company, but one that is doing really well. I am including a slightly less well known business to demonstrate how these principles of customer focused engagement can really be applied to any company, big or small.
Apple have taken the small logo concept to a whole new level. They just use their icon. This is acceptable when you have a brand that is as well known as Apple. Most business can’t get away with this. When we were redeveloping the Jersey Beauty website we did toy with the idea of just using our icon, rather than the complete logo. Ultimately we decided against that as we, unfortunately cannot yet claim to be as well known as Apple, therefore what might look fresh and modern, could actually be confusing for customers. Although we may not be as well-known as Apple, our website design follows the same customer centric principles: the logo is small, it located in the top left hand corner where people expect to find it and when clicked you return to the homepage, which is also what visitors expect. Don’t make things hard for your customers, make it about them and make it super simple. Clever, all-singing, all-dancing logos, do not add anything for your customer.
"I very much doubt you have ever purchased anything online because the company had a great logo!"
- Matt Edmundson
This is a great little company that I have recently discovered. They design and manufacture Bluetooth buttons that you can use to control things through your smart phone. I have one on my fridge, which can control my sound system. They can also control your lights, find your phone, unlock doors and make calls, among other things. They have a great website and a great product. They follow the same principles as e-commerce giants like Apple or Amazon. Their logo is small and it is in the top left. You can clearly see it but it doesn’t attract much attention. Their headline is the core message.
Many businesses feel that their logo should be front and centre. They have often spent a long time deciding on the design and colour etc. This thinking that it should therefore have a prominent place is often based around ideas about brand awareness. Although brand awareness is important, it should never be at the expense of the customer.
Websites have changed dramatically over the last few years. Those that are really successful, increasing sales and profitability, are those that make the customer the hero. The customer can’t be the hero if your homepage comprises of a large logo and lots of information about who you are and how your business is really fantastic. A customer focused website will always be much more engaging and can dramatically improve growth and sales.
In my next blog, I will be looking at the power of your main website headline and why it needs to grab your visitor’s attention in seconds.
Personalised website content or ‘smart content’ is the name of the game. Many larger companies are already doing it and it won’t be long before it is the expected norm. Why not get ahead and start thinking about simple but effective ways of creating smart content so that you can engage better with your customers? In part 1 of this blog post, which you can read here, we looked at personalisation on the basis of:
- The logged-in experience
- Customer personas
In this post we will be looking at how to create great smart content based on:
- Country and language
There are, undoubtedly, many ways of providing a personalised experience. Copywriters and all those involved in the development of smart content will need to stay abreast of advances in technology. Gone are the days when developers can strip back their default content in the vain hope that it will work on a PC, tablet and mobile device. However, for today, these six are a good starting point.
Country and language
Do you have customers from different countries? If so, is there a way to make the homepage more appealing to each country? Is it worth translating into another language? Could you sell in multiple currencies? Can you show testimonies from customers in the country?
These are all important questions to be asking yourself when producing content. Nowadays, technology can easily inform us where our customers are based and content can be tailored accordingly.
At Jersey we have a large number of Swedish customers, mainly because our prices are significantly cheaper than those of comparable retailers in Sweden. We toyed with the idea of translating our whole site into Swedish. Ultimately, we decided not to because English is widely spoken in Sweden. However, if we had a large pool of customers in a country where English was less well known we would definitely consider translation.
These days customers have pretty much come to expect some level of personalisation. A tailored homepage is not a new-fangled idea! Customers now use a range of devices to view content. According to the latest research from Adobe, consumers use an average of 6 devices and consume 12 sources of content; millennials use an average of 7 devices and 14 sources. Nearly 9 in 10 consumers (88%) say they multiscreen, and use an average of 2.42 devices at the same time. With these figures in mind, marketeers, designers and developers need to think about the key devices that their customers use and create smart content that is specific to each device.
It is important to cover the basics including screen size and layout. Content creators also need to consider copy length in relation to the device being used. When a consumer is researching a potential purchase on a PC, they may well want to read a longer paper on its uses and benefits. However, someone on a tablet or smart phone is likely to bounce from the site if the content is too long. Adapting content to the device type and to where the customer is in the buyer journey will maximise your website’s impact.
This is a big one in the world of smart content! If you get a lead from a specific Facebook or Google ad then your content should connect specifically with that ad. Where do your different referrals come from? Look at the top 5 to 10 sources, and ask is there a way to develop smart content for each source that makes more sense for the visitor clicking that link? For example, if someone has come through to your site via a Facebook ad, then it is likely that this is the social media platform with which they are most familiar. Therefore make sure that the content they see mentions your Facebook page and a Facebook sharing button is prominent. Similarly, if someone has arrived on your landing page because of an advert they saw on a social media site for a discount code, make sure that discount code is the first thing they see. If they have to hunt for it they are very likely to become frustrated and your page abandonment figures will increase.
Personalisation plays an increasingly important role in the world of e-commerce. What is your business doing to stay ahead of the pack?
How do you write effective, engaging copy that will encourage your customers to take action? One good way to dramatically improve engagement is through personalised content. This emerging trend is becoming increasingly popular and definitely one not to be ignored. The idea is simple: if you know who the visitor is, try and give them content that applies directly to them. If someone is visiting your site for the first time or has never shopped with you before, is there a way to make their experience more personalised? Your main aim is always improved customer engagement. This blog is the first of two posts on this subject. In this blog we will look at the first three tips.
1. The logged in experience
If you have shopped with an e-commerce business, it is likely that the next time you log in, the homepage you see will be personalised to you – if it isn’t, it probably should be. This is generally called the logged in experience.
Companies like Amazon and Netflix have been pioneering this trend for some time. When I log into Amazon what I see will be very different to the next person’s logged in experience. The headline will also be personalised to me e.g. Hello Matt Edmundson… The content is then based on past purchases, average spend, products that are likely to appeal to me. It definitely feels more tailored and encourages me to buy something. Personalised content can be a valuable selling tool.
Any business that has a geographical reach will benefit from personalising their content based on the location of the customer. A good example of a business that could benefit from location-based personalisation is Deliveroo. Their website headline is ‘food you love, delivered to your door’. The idea behind the business is that they deliver food from restaurants that don’t normally deliver. Their business idea is fantastic and their website looks great. However, when I log onto their site, none of the restaurant options that appear are available in my area. This is a very simple thing to fix and is likely to engage their customers much more effectively.
Another good example is an airline. They often use location information to pre-populate the field with the name of the airport from which your visitor is likely to be flying. You want the customer to feel like they are having a conversation with someone that knows them.
3. Customer personas
If someone is visiting your website for the first time, you can still personalise on the basis of customer personas. Your visitors will then need to self-select. A good example is our own site, Jersey Beauty Company. We stock hundreds and hundreds of products. If you don’t know what you are looking for, this can be very overwhelming for a potential customer. We have therefore developed a clear selection process on the homepage. We have used the four most frequently shopped skin types as navigational options. They are: dry skin, oily skin, problem skin and lines and wrinkles. Once a visitor has clicked on their skin type or customer persona, they are then invited to complete a simple questionnaire. Once completed, they will be sent a PDF with their skin profile, tailored to them, and a list of recommended products. This allows us to capture valuable customer data, including their email address. The customer receives helpful information and is hopefully guided towards a product appropriate to their skin type. This is a great way to personalise content for new customers. For this to work well, you do need to know the main customer groups that are likely to shop with you.
Another company that does this well is Heavenly Greens. They are a US based company that sell artificial turf. They have four clear customer personas: yards, dog owner, putting greens and outdoor living. Once you have clicked into the section that matches your requirements, the landing page is appropriately tailored.
Gone is the one size fits all approach. Personalisation is now an expected part of most website experiences. Look out for my next post, in which I will be looking at three more ways to provide personalised website content.
Let me start by saying, I really dislike the word, ‘innovation’. It is widely overused, to the extent that is has become a very vague term which is attributed to all kinds of things. I much prefer the word ‘discovery’. New discoveries that stand the test of time, tend to be products or services that solve an existing problem or change the way we do something for the better, often because of market led demand. An ‘innovation’ that is looking for a problem to solve, is without a cause and often a flop.
If we call ourselves ‘creatives’ or ‘innovators’, we can begin to feel pressured to change things that perhaps were perfectly good as they were. I’m not saying your website never needs to be updated, far from it. However, if we look at Google or Apple, they are constantly ‘innovating’ or discovering ways to solve problems as technology moves forward. Nevertheless, their fundamental design has remained more or less unchanged since inception. What I am trying to say is don’t change things for the sake of change or to be ‘innovative’. It often isn’t necessary or helpful.
Google Glass is a great example of an exciting innovation looking for a problem. It arrived on the scene to huge fanfare and publicity in 2012. However, by January 2015, Project Glass was all but dead. Ultimately it proved to be sizzle without the steak. Unfortunately, users fell out of love with a device that solved no major problems, and was unlikely to be worn as a fashion accessory.
Now, I wouldn’t claim to comment on industries in which I do not work, however, in the world of e-commerce, I believe there are a 5 golden rules for innovation in technology:
1.The two year update
Whilst I definitely do not advocate change for the sake of change, your website will need updating be updated at least every two years. This is because technology does move on very quickly and what was cutting-edge two years ago, will seem dated very quickly.
Does what you do work for where you are at? Does your website function in a way that best serves your business. There may be minor tweaks to make or a quantum shift. In the last five years websites have had to work on mobiles, then on smart apps and now on smart watches. It doesn’t necessarily mean a redesign, but the technology that drives your site will inevitably need updating.
Make sure that the technology isn’t a flash in the pan. Customer expectations change and evolve as the technology improves. What is pioneering and innovative today, won’t be in two years time. You have to keep asking yourself, “what am I going to do to keep up and get ahead”. Two years ago it was really exciting and amazing to get a text giving an hour window in which your parcel will arrive, now that is just what customers expect. A great place to look for successful new discoveries is Amazon. Whenever you see something new on their site, if it is still there a month or two later, then it is likely to become the new standard. Like it or not, for e-commerce, they are leading the pack.
Your website needs constant tweaking. This is where it pays to have developed the site yourself. You might want to put out an offer or include a voucher. These are minor changes that affect your site.
It is very likely that you will need to make monthly changes to your site. They should be scheduled in and worked through systematically. As you test and work, you will find ways to improve what you do for the people involved, whether they are customers or your own in-house team. A good example of a monthly update from Jersey Beauty Company, is our scanning app. We were losing £2-£3K per month on a turnover of £5-£6M per year. When we updated our system to include scanning we stopped losing this money. This was particularly relevant for us as all our products look very similar to each other.
There will, inevitably, be other ideas to keep your website doing what you need it to do, leading the pack, driving sales and functioning well for everyone using it. However, these 5 golden rules are a good starting point.
The two main types of conflict, healthy and unhealthy, have several identifiable characteristics. An excellent definition taken from the Small Business Chronicle Houston states that “Healthy conflict builds team bonding by causing those involved to change their attitudes and grow personally. It also results in problem resolution due to increased involvement of all affected team members. This contrasts with unhealthy conflict where team morale is destroyed and team members become divided and polarised. Unhealthy conflict leaves the problem unresolved, and leaches resources and energy from the core project at hand.”
There are many ways to encourage healthy conflict and debate in your organisation. Human resources expert, Susan Heathfield* shares ten really practical ways to make this happen. They are summarised below:
10 ways to encourage healthy conflict in your organisation:
Make sure you set clear expectations to encourage healthy conflict. This should be part of your company culture.
Reward, recognise, and thank people who are willing to take a stand and support their position. It is often scary to express an opinion which is different from that of the group. Make sure everyones opinion is respected and valued, even if you don’t agree.
If you experience little dissension in your group, look at the way you communicate. If you want to avoid “group think,” but this isn’t happening, do you, non-verbally or verbally, send the message that it is really not okay to disagree? Do you make employees feel uncomfortable when they express an opinion, particularly one that is different to your own? It might be worth asking a trusted member of your core team for some feedback if you are unsure.
Expect people to support their opinions and recommendations with data and facts. Are staff members are encouraged to collect data that will illuminate the process or problem?
Create a group norm that conflict around ideas and direction is expected and that personal attacks and bullying are not tolerated. Group norms are the relationship guidelines or rules group members agree to follow. They often include the expectation that all members will speak honestly, that all opinions are equal, and that each person will participate.
Provide employees with training in healthy conflict and problem solving skills.
Look for signs that a conflict about a solution or direction is getting out of hand. Exercise your best observation skills and notice whether tension is becoming unhealthy. Listen for criticism of fellow staff members, an increase in the number and severity of “digs” or putdowns, and negative comments about the solution or process. Are secret meetings increasing?
Hire people who you believe will add value to your organisation with their willingness to problem solve and debate. Behavioural interview questions will help you assess the assertiveness of your potential employees.
Make bonuses dependent upon the success of the organisation as a whole as well as the accomplishment of individual goals. Pay senior members of the organisation part of their compensation based on the success of the company. This ensures that people are committed to the same goals and direction. They will look for the best approach, the best idea, and the best solution, not just the one that will benefit their own area of interest.
If you are using all of the first nine tips, and healthy work conflict is not occurring you need to sit down with the people who report to you directly and with their direct reporting staff and ask them why. Some positive, problem solving discussion might allow your group to identify and rectify any problem that stands in the way of open, healthy, positive, constructive work conflict and debate.
You can read her full article, including examples here