What’s the difference between big businesses and small businesses? Ask most customers, and they’ll say it’s personality. Big businesses tend to be giant monoliths whereas small businesses have a flavor and sensibility that they can’t match.
According to Alice Bredin, the president of a company that helps large B2B companies market themselves to smaller companies, small businesses are able to have a lot more fun with their sites. It’s okay, in Bredin’s opinion, for small business websites to have elements that reflect the personality of the person running it.
It could be that you’re a couple working side by side in a basement. Or you might be a group of eager young men, straight out of college. Whatever your situation, it’s okay to say something about yourself through your website. Customers actually like this.
People are looking for character, according to Kelly Cutler, a marketing executive at a web advisory firm. They want a firm that is prepared to go out on a limb and do things a little differently. This means that you far more leeway than you imagine to customize your site.
So what is it that customers want from your website?
#1: Your Unique Selling Point
When it comes to large companies, customers have got a pretty good idea what their unique selling point is. But because smaller companies are less well known, they have to work harder to make sure that their message comes across clearly. One of the first questions visitors will have is who you are and what you do. It’s okay to include a little bio about yourself, explaining your experience and why you decided to start the business, but remember to include any details that set you apart from other people in your industry.
Cutler says that any information that you do include should be short, sharp and straight to the point, There’s no need, in her opinion, to write a novel.
#2: A Non-Generic Brand Image
Too many small businesses are generic and use photos that could appear on any site in their industry. A far better option is to use curated stock photos – stock photos that have been specially chosen to complement your brand image. You want your site to look as if it really differs from the rest of the competition and that your business is out there in the real world, doing things that make a difference to people’s lives.
#3: A Personal Touch
We all expect marketing emails and spammy website banners from large companies because they serve so many customers. But if you’re a small business, customers expect a different level of treatment. They don’t want to be thrown on a pile with the rest of your clients. Instead, they want you to prove that you care about them individually. This could mean mentioning them on your site or communicating with them directly using an embedded chat feature.
#4: Guidance On Your Process
Finally, businesses need to show customers how their business works and what they need to do next, once they reach your website. You’d be amazed at how many companies forget about this.