A customer makes a decision if he wants to shop in a store within few seconds of entering the store. The store attendant’s smile and welcome, the deodorized air conditioned air, lighting, freshness of the wares on display are some of the physical factors that help make this decision. If the clothes on display look dull and faded or the mannequin has a chipped nose, the customer is unlikely to stay. Today the walk-ins are mostly online and I cannot emphasize the importance of a well-designed web page with useful and relevant information to draw and keep customers in.
WordPress is an incredibly strong, easy and beautiful content management system software that makes the creation and updation of a well-designed online brand space possible.
If business owners had to earlier stave the competition on their street or town, today it is the world. Customers are looking for authentic online buying experiences and a well thought out and branded website is the first step in helping that happen. The impact of experiences at each customer encounter is extremely important and for a lot of businesses the walk-ins happen online. In an interview with creativebloq, Yoke, the design firm based in Bristol discusses why they use WordPress to build and brand their site.
Their co-founders Jay Bigford and Alister Wynn opine:
“Using WordPress enables us to speed up the build by narrowing the number of templates we use. We know we’re designing for a CMS, so we’re strict with our output and always stick to a maximum of three templates. This allows us to make sure we get fewer, tighter and more polished templates, rather than many, loose pages.”
They further speak about the importance of branding using their Word Press site.
“The key to the success of our website as a marketing tool for our business is to have valuable expertise-based content on there,” explains Bigford. “We’re constantly adding blog posts researching into topics that relate to our target clients.”
To get started on branding your WordPress site you need to think how the target customer would probably explore and seek information on your site. The design of the website sets the expectations and first impressions. A customer seeking a dentist’s services would expect a clean, fresh look with the dentist’s credentials easy to read. In addition to this they would seek the clinic timings, contact information and assuring testimonials from former patients.
A children’s library on the other hand needs to have a fun, friendly feel that is inviting for children. Bright, warm color, large typeface with smiling icons all encourage little customers to explore the library’s page.
A great logo is an integral part of branding the website. An airline manufacturer with a floral font is unlikely to inspire confidence. There are many good freelance designers on Fiverr and Elance who can make a logo based on your specifications. Try to incorporate the message of your brand in the logo. An education based site that uses Chalkduster font for its logo is drawing on a symbol of all teaching that started in schools. Lego’s red, yellow black and white logo incorporates the fun, learning and vibrancy of the toy brand.
Increasingly customers when comparing services are looking at expertise. The best way to showcase your expertise is to write insightful blog posts. A supermarket could blog about produce sourcing and their personal philosophy in sourcing from where they do. This indicates thought and expertise have gone in to get the produce to the storefront. A play school that blogs about child rearing skills that can be used anywhere is telling parents that they understand the challenges of rearing young children and are sharing useable tools to raise them. Good blog posts also help in engaging users and building a community. A shoe store that blogs about lifestyle and local runs or marathons is going beyond closing the sale after selling a shoe. They are in effect becoming the shoe consultants to the customer, who will rely on them and spread good referrals about the shoe store.
Good content also helps inspire confidence in customers. A training company that details its training methodologies and case studies will help new customers engage with them. Case studies are an excellent way to showcase expertise, the challenges faced and overcome by the company. Prospective customers often relate better to them than they would with advertising copy.
Showcasing your Portfolio
A section devoted to work that has been done, is a great way to good branding. A product design company can showcase their many creations and uses. An interior designer can provide images of the various kinds of spaces that they have helped redecorate – schools, office spaces, homes and even public spaces. This will show that the designer has experience in handling different kinds of spaces. A website developer’s various websites with links helps create a clear brand identity in the mind of the buyer. That is, the designer is very good at creating a fun, quirky look or neat, meticulous work and so on.
Apart from a simple gallery, you can also choose to provide thumbnail images with information about each. They can be sorted by date, time, year or project type.
Detail any additional services you provide. A hotel could list its baby-sitting service – a big draw for young parents who want some time out. A hospital that has nurses for home care after the hospital stay is telling patients that their expertise and help is at hand outside the hospital too. This is both reassuring and convenient.
Social Media Links
Ensure all social media links are clearly visible and actionable. In the past I have enjoyed a post and found that as I looked to share it, it is not visible and sometimes the social button turns out to be an image not an active link. These are mistakes that you must avoid at all cost.
Social media buttons are also great leaders – in that they lead the way to – your social network pages. A moving company’s social network page has posts of customers who have used the service standing in front of the moving van with happy smiles with the destination they moved from, to. These images say what a brochure could not.
Be sure therefore to use a good social link plugin that will help you get more followers and shares.
A good bio puts a story and a face behind the products or services you are selling. A thumbnail image, professional details, some interests and hobbies help create an approachable persona in the customers mind. A financial trainer who lists her credentials, says she likes playing monopoly, going on long drives and has two dogs goes away from being a professional who talks about numbers and concepts alone to one who is multi-dimensional and identifiable. WordPress has a free bio plugin that you can use to make an interesting one. It also allows for social links so that customers may follow you if they choose to.
All details like email, telephone, mailing address, if clearly visible get the ball rolling for order confirmations. Free plugins that do this unobtrusively are available on WordPress.
It was Scott Bedbury who wrote:
“A brand is a story that is always being told”.
Your website is a wonderful canvas to do this ever-evolving story with the essentials being provided by WordPress.