How to make your small business website more effective (Part 1)

As a small business owner, having a website is important. But, having an effective website is crucial in order to reach your target audience and to grow your business. However, the idea optimizing a website or create a new one can be daunting and overwhelming. Instead of being confident in your website, it stresses you out and is honestly a burden. The good news is you can create a website that not only captures the attention of your ideal clients, but also helps alleviate their frustrations. You can make your website more effective by incorporating the right elements. 

Hands pointing to laptop screen

We will look at some essential elements of an effective small business website that will engage your target audience, address their problems, and guide them towards taking action. Hopefully, whether you’re looking to improve your current website or start from scratch, by incorporating and understanding these elements you can create a website that truly represents your business and drives results.

Bright neon red sign that says BUY

1. Clear Call to Action

For a small business website to be effective, it needs to have a clear and compelling call to action (CTA). A Call to Action guides visitors on what you want them to do. One way to test if your CTA is clear, is have someone look at your website (if you have one) for about 15 seconds. Then, ask them if they can tell you what want them to do when they reach the site. If they can’t answer that question, you need to make your Call to Action more clear.

Take for example, Hulu. There is no confusion on the part of Hulu or the user on what action they want the visitor to take. Hulu wants you to get the Deal and sign up.

Image of HULU deal

When a visitor arrives at your site, they need a clear direction that helps them understand what action to take. Whether you want them to sign up for a newsletter, request a quote, schedule a consultation, or make a purchase, your CTA must be prominently displayed. Lastly, do not use passive language such as ‘Learn More’. You want them to do something. Hence the name Call to ACTION.

Consider using action-oriented phrases that resonate with your ideal clients, such as “Get Started Today” or “Unlock Your Business Potential” or “Get the Deal”. Place the CTA strategically on your website, making it easily noticeable and accessible. The best place to do so is smack dab in the middle of the screen. Utilize contrasting colors, compelling button designs, and persuasive copy to draw attention to the CTA. By providing a clear and enticing call to action, you make it easier for your ideal clients to take the desired steps and alleviate their frustrations.

Man sitting over laptop frustrated at ineffective website

2.Talk about Problems your clients have

It’s essential to address the specific problems and challenges they face. When it comes down to it you are selling a solution to their problems. As a small business owner, you understand the frustrations and burdens that your clients are experiencing, and your website should reflect that understanding. It is important to create empathy with your clients. You can do this by stepping into their shoes briefly and letting them know you get it and are right there with them. When you clearly articulate pain points and challenges your clients encounter, you create a sense of shared burden and build trust.

By understanding your clients’ needs and pain points you can provide tailored solutions that resonate with them. By highlighting these challenges on your website, you show that you truly understand their situation and have the expertise to help them overcome those obstacles. Use engaging and relatable language to describe their problems, and illustrate how these challenges can impact their businesses negatively. With this however, you do NOT want to be a fear-mongerer or try to trick them in any way. You merely want to show them what life is currently life. Help them really understand, feel and remember their problem, because you are going to turn that around in a moment.

For example, instead of simply stating, “We provide tax services,” you can say, “Do you struggle with filing your taxes and making sure everything is correct? We understand that filing taxes correctly can seem scary and daunting….” By explicitly acknowledging your clients’ pain points you can now position yourself/your services as the solution.

Neon sign reading This is the Sign you've been looking for

3. Clear Description of how you solve their problem

Once you have addressed your ideal clients’ challenges, it’s important to clearly communicate how your business can help solve those problems. You have already reminded them of where they are, now you can alleviate their frustrations and capture their attention. You do this by positioning you/your services as a trustworthy guide. This is how. you gain the trust and confidence of your audience.

In this element, you want to craft a compelling message that outlines the unique value proposition of your business, and how it directly addresses the pain points of your ideal clients. So, now instead of focusing on how life is currently, you will focus on how life could or should be for them. You want to focus on the benefits they experience when working with you. Now, you don’t want to get too technical or detailed about the features of your offerings. Rather, use relatable language and storytelling techniques to connect with your audience.

At this point you have already pointed out to them the struggle they feel in filing their taxes. And that you understand how they feel. Now, you can position yourself as their guide by saying something such as: ‘That’s why we are with you every step of the way. With over 15 years of experience of helping small business owners, we can help make sure your taxes are done correctly and quickly. We take that burden off you and ensure your paperwork is up to date, forms are filled out correctly, and you get to focus on what is most important, your business.”

Clearly describe how you provide solutions and position yourself as a reliable and trustworthy guide. When you do this you instill confidence in your ideal clients and alleviate their concerns.

image of feet walking up steps

4. Easy Plan for Them to Get Started

Another key element to make your website effective is provide a clear and easy-to-understand process for them to get started. Your website should outline the steps they need to take, making it simple and straightforward for them to engage with your services or make a purchase.

Break down your process into no more than 3-4 easy steps and present them in a visually appealing and intuitive manner. By outlining the process in 3 steps you allow your client to see what they need to do. This helps provide clarity as well as make it easy on your clients. When they see the steps they think ‘I can do that!’ and not only reduces their stress, but also increases their confidence in working with you.

Create a dedicated “Getting Started”, “How It Works”, or even “Easy 3-Step Plan to Get Started!” section on your website that highlights the steps involved. Clearly state the actions they need to take, such as ‘Fill out the Form’, ‘Schedule a Consultation’, or ‘Get Your Taxes Done’. You want to really emphasize the simplicity and efficiency of the process. Remember, do not lie to them but make it so that the potential client thinks, ‘I can’t mess this up!’.

What about if you have more than 3 Steps?

Now, it is easy to think well, 3-4 steps is not enough, really I have about 6-7. Ok, that is fine. One of the things to remember is that you are guiding them on this journey. In fact, you can also do a pre-purchase and a post-purchase phase if you like. For example, if you have ever read (or seen) the Lord of the Rings movies you are familiar with Frodo’s task to destroy the One Ring.

Frodo and the Hobbits preparing for battle

You can break down his task in 3 steps: Get the Ring, Take it to Mordor, Throw it in Mount Doom. But before that he had to get it to Rivendall. So, he had 2 phases to his task: Keep the Ring safe, Take it to Rivendall, Give it to the Elves. So in a sense, that was his pre-purchase phase. His next task, after he volunteered, was to Get the Ring, Take it to Mordor, Throw it in Mount Doom.

I say all that for 2 reasons:

1) You can have 2 phases of steps to help alleviate confusion and help instill confidence in your potential client, a pre and post phase if you will, and

2) You don’t have to give every detail up-front. You will notice from the example above, that nowhere in those steps do we learn about the different paths to Mordor, same thing with your business.

By breaking down your process into 3-4 steps, you create clarity and reduce the stress your clients may feel. Remember, you want to avoid overwhelming them with too much information (without lying to them). Create an easy plan for your clients to get started, this ensures a smooth, stress-free experience that increases their confidence in working with you.

people working at a laptop creating an effective website and plan

Conclusion

In this post, we looked at how you can make your small business website more effective by incorporating key elements that address your ideal client’s frustrations and drive growth. To recap, we learned that implementing a clear call to action, addressing your client’s problems, providing a clear description of how you solve those problems, and presenting an easy plan for them to get started, you incorporate effective elements in your website that not only relieves you and your client’s frustrations, but also drives growth for your small business.

By understanding the pain points they have, empathizing with them in those challenges, and presenting a simple, step-by-step process, you can alleviate their stress and instill confidence in working with you.

If you enjoyed these tips, and want to make your small business website even more effective, I want to encourage you to download my 5 Essentials. This guide shows what you need to make your website effective. If you are still feeling frustrated about your website and wondering if it is effective, check out my guide to make sure your website is a powerful tool that targets your audience and drives growth.

Cover of Reanimation Design 5 Essentials guide

Next week we will look at some visual design elements that will make your website effective by enhancing your website’s appeal to further engage your ideal clients. These elements will provide you with a guide to creating a successful small business website that captures attention, addresses frustrations, and drives growth.