The owners of an environmentally friendly paint company decided to market their product internationally. They did everything right, they used experienced sales people and local connections to start slow and to expand in a few key areas. They also invested heavily in training their managers so that each would be able to network and build up their business independently without relying on central HQ that might not understand the market or be slow to react. Everything went well. Everything that is, except for the company homepage. The president was a “traditionalist” and felt that personal relationships and loyal customers were the only way a business could succeed. While focusing on this side of the business, he completely ignored the company’s online presence.

As essential as a personal touch is, customers are becoming more educated by the day and your web page is often the key decision factor that pulls people in or pushes them away.

Every kind of business needs a homepage. That’s a given in this day and age. Even traditional “bricks and mortar” businesses can benefit by having a well-designed, easy to navigate, educational site. If your business does not rely exclusively on internet based sales, it does offer something for the customers, right? The only way to attract new customers and show off what you can do is to provide information for them. And unless potential customers walk in the front door on their own, you have to reach out to them via your business’ homepage.

So how do you make a webpage that is both useful to customers and able to bring in business? First of all, your site has to be well-made. The content of your page needs to match the services and products you have, and your design needs to appeal to your market. If you don’t nail this first and most important point, there won’t be anyone looking at what you offer because they don’t trust your site. For a quick look at getting started, see starting the marketing conversation.

Assuming you have built a good looking website that matches your niche customers and shows off what you can do in a good light, what’s next?

Fresh and varied content.

Fresh content is essential for a few reasons. If there are a few good articles on your page with links to products, but the time stamp says that your page hasn’t been changed in 2 or more years that’s a HUGE red flag for any potential new customers. For repeat customers it’s nearly the same. Without new content your repeat customers will quickly realize that your homepage never changes. If customers believe that they are wasting their time they will never visit your site on their own.

Varied content is another vital point for any serious business. If you sell products online, then you’ve got to maintain your sales pages – of course. But even if you don’t sell products online, or you do, but you also offer other services, making educational content is just as important as your sales pages.

Educational pages don’t necessarily need to be “sales” pages. Educational pages show who you are and what services you provide. Good ones will not only show your company’s information, they will even build up the feeling of “need” people have when they visit your site and read more and more about your topic.

That paint company that played so many of their cards well ought to have been successful. But they used an ancient homepage that was gaudy and slow-loading. The icons looked like they were taken from a 90’s printing program, and the background colors clashed horribly with the text. Just by associating themselves with the site, they were undermining their credibility and pushing customers away.

Marketing a business is tough, we know. Earlier we talked about the need for a strategy with regards to your online presence. This is something we can do for you.

Don’t risk not doing anything – when it comes to marketing your business via a homepage, inaction is the same as serving your customers to your competitors on a silver platter.