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What does your business do?

19th November 2011

I meet with new clients each week. One week might be a local mechanic, the next a mum starting a handmade soap business, the next a local company exporting internationally. To make an effective website I have to understand these companies, this requires me to sit with the owners and ask questions and listen. What does your business do? What services or products do you provide? Who are your customers? What do your customers want from a website? What would they search for online?

Having my own business I understand how hard some of these questions might be. Most people just run their business. They have their existing customers that come back; through word of mouth or a minor marketing campaign they might get some more customers. But on the whole they are not proactively strategising or taking the time to analyse and define their business.

Once we do start talking the answers come, people do know their business and customers but it is not in the forefront of their mind.

I think in todays economic conditions and particularly entering into the online space it is essential to have these answers in the forefront of your mind. Knowing who your customers are and what they want is essential for getting new customers. Knowing your business and your unique offering is essential to differentiate yourself from competitors and to gain customer loyalty. This goes beyond a slogan or elevator pitch, you should have a core understanding of your business strengths, culture and direction. This understanding will guide your business day to day, guide how you interact with employees and customers. This passionate and clear message will gain employee and customer loyalty.

So your website needs to communicate this quickly and succinctly. If you are the only qualified Subaru mechanic in Armidale, then that is one thing to talk up. If you are a second generation business employing 10 local people, then this is another fact to present. If you offer face to face service, backed with over 20 years experience in the industry, that sets you apart. You and your employees set you apart, their passion, personality and service are what customers encounter every day. People browsing your website need to understand quickly what you do and why they should give you money for your product or service.

This is true particularly if you start a social media campaign. If you start a Facebook or Twitter page you need to have a strategy and understand what your business offers, what sets you apart. Instead of you just posting the latest special or something inane, you have a clear message to engage customers. Instead of trying to get the most followers you use the technology to really connect with people and build your business and brand.

This extends beyond your website and social media presence. Everywhere you go and everything you do for your business should communicate and reinforce this message. The next customer that walks through the door, the next business chamber meeting, the next radio ad, the next conversation you have with an employee. This is not some smarmy sales and marketing, positive thinking stuff, just embody your business and communicate how great it is.

What does your business do?