Does your website persuade your customers?
A common mistake that people make while designing their website is not deciding the goal or objective of the website clearly and upfront. Most people consider their website to be an online version of their brochure. What they forget is that the web is an active and interactive medium and not a static medium.
The important difference to keep in mind is that a website is an interactive medium while a brochure is not. There is a huge potential to engage the customer in myriad ways and actually persuade the customer to do something useful. People are intrinsically curious and like to interact. A website is a great way to create this engagement with the customer. However, if you do not define what the result of the engagement has to be; you could lose out on the engagement created by the interactivity on your site.
So what can you do to improve the architecture of your website? This has nothing to do with graphic design or look and feel but to do with what you want the website to do and how to do it. Here’s how you can go about deciding this:
1. Define the precise action you want your customer to complete on your site.
In retail websites, it is to buy something on your site. In B2B sites, it is to generate an interest to do business with you or to request for more information. This is called a website goal. The end result is the completion of the goal; for example a filled form indicates a level of interest that the visitor has in your services. You can then this follow up with your sales efforts to convert this interest to an actual sale.
2. Identify the incentive or persuasion factor that will motivate the visitor to complete this action.
This could be something like a freebie that you might be willing to give away. For B2B sites, whitepapers, downloads, industry information sheets all serve as excellent incentives and also serve to establish your credibility as a trusted provider. For retail websites, discounts, timed offers, limited stocks and other such persuasion tactics help motivate specific action.
3. Allow the designer to build these into the design.
The designer then has to use these elements to create a persuasive design that compels visitors to execute the action that you have defined. This form of design is broadly called PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust) design that focuses on the usable and persuasive website design. The designer has to use proven techniques, within the ambit of your business objectives, to give you a design that funnels people into action zones within your home page.
When you design in this manner, you get a website that actually works rather than a website that simply sits around waiting for someone to do something. So take a look at your website and figure out whether it persuades people to take any kind of action.