If you’re a small business, your website is by far one of your most valuable assets. A website has the power to immediately shift your offerings from a local to international audience. When it comes to getting noticed by your dream clientele, the content on a website is king and the right mix of information is important for them to decide if you’re the right fit. These are five must-have items on your small business website:
1. Defined Purpose
Who are you serving? The more clearly you target your dream customer and let them know you’re a match made in heaven, the more likely they are to hire you. This isn’t the time to be wishy-washy. Think about who makes you the most happy to work with — if you’re happy creating for this specific audience, it will show in the work you’re producing.
In our intro copy, we focus on passionate, driven entrepreneurs who are ready to grow. Small businesses with great attitudes and the drive to succeed are our dream clients. That one-to-one, personalized touch is where our best work happens. This target can be further narrowed down to creative small businesses — specifically lifestyle, beauty, food, fashion, photography, creative consulting and design-focused genres. Of course, if someone is slightly outside of these areas, we are open to working with them but having a focus in mind keeps our overall portfolio tight and on-brand.
2. Ethical Bribe
Don’t worry, this isn’t as bad as it sounds! An ethical bribe is simply a free gift that you offer in exchange for someone joining your mailing list. Essentially, it’s a way to say thank you while providing something of genuine value.
The most common ethical bribes are e-books, resource lists and video training series. When you sign up for the Branch mailing list at the bottom of each page on our site, you’ll receive an email with a link to download a list of our top 50 design resources.
Building your list is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Even if you haven’t fine-tuned your products or services yet, having a list in place means that as soon as you’re ready to roll out offerings, you have a direct audience to reach.
Many people who visit your site for the first time may never come back but with a list, you can keep them updated via e-newsletters. Our preferred service is Mailchimp — it has a beautifully designed interface and is super user friendly.
3. Curated Portfolio
The golden rule of portfolios is to only showcase the work that you want more of. This is the time to attract and repel. Over the last year, we’ve thinned out some of the larger brand projects that while impressive, didn’t fit our modern, streamlined aesthetic. In their place, we mixed in more beauty and lifestyle brands. Just like that, more inquiries from those types of companies began rolling in. When crafting your portfolio, hold onto the sentiment “If you build it, they will come” and focus, focus, focus.
4. Services Offered
The more clear you are about what you offer, the easier you’ll make it for potential customers to know if you’re the right fit. Specialization is key — nobody wants to hire a jack of all trades who happens to be a master of none. If you’re passionate about web design, play that up. If you have a special knack for branding, packaging, print design or digital products, put the focus there.
It’s completely okay if you’re not a full-service agency with 100 employees. Many small businesses prefer to work with a dedicated, knowledgeable freelancer because they want that personalized, focused touch. It’s important for small business clients to not feel lost in the mix.
Our focus is tightly wound around three core areas: branding, web design and print design. We occasionally do packaging and other specialized services but overall, it’s important to fine-tune and focus where you’re most confident.
5. Contact Information
Make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to get in touch! Keep it simple — this is not the time to be clever and crafty. In our main navigation, we’ve listed CONTACT and when you click through, you’re provided with an email address and a contact form since some folks really hate filling out forms, no matter how well designed they are.
If a potential customer chooses to use our form, it has multiple fields to assist them with providing the information we find most useful when putting together a custom quote. Quotes may take a few days so the meantime, we follow up immediately with a PDF media kit that outlines introductory services, rates and frequently asked questions to keep the communication flowing.
Having a website in place that fully showcases your personality and capabilities is more important than ever. A website is your window to the world and the more clear you are about what your business stands for, the easier it will be for your ideal mix of clients to find and hire you. -Shauna
Photo: Afsoon Zizia.