Before committing to a business, customers typically need answers to a range of questions. In some cases, a quick review of the business’s website can solve the biggest questions they may have — like how to buy or the particular benefits of a business’s services.
The most effective business sites anticipate the concerns that a customer may have. These sites answer common questions so that visitors can move on to a purchase without needing to reach out or investigate your business off-site.
The right strategies will ensure that your site can resolve common concerns a prospective customer may have.
1. How Do Customers Know Which Product To Buy?
If you offer multiple products or services, it’s good to explain the benefits
Businesses that offer multiple products have a wide range of options they can use to solve this problem. A clothing retailer, for example, may create seasonal or aesthetic category options on their online storefront, allowing customers to filter products by look or function.
Another company may offer an FAQ or flowchart that describes the different services they provide and how customers can choose which one will fit their needs.
Offering these resources will help customers know the unique benefits each product or service offers — ensuring that they feel equipped to make an informed purchase.
2. What Does Business As Usual Look Like?
When a customer reaches out to your business to purchase a product or service, what happens?
How does your business handle unusual cases — deals or purchases where things don’t go as planned?
Client case studies are a great way to provide some insight into your business’s process — how you provide the services you offer to clients.
For example, see this case study from Fine Art Brokers, a New York- and London-based team of art brokers.
This case study outlines what working with the team can look like — what potential clients should expect if they decide to buy or sell art through an art broker.
The study describes the services offered — assessing a painting’s condition, determining how well it would fit in with the client’s existing painting and installing the painting once purchased — in a way that may answer some basic questions about the company a customer may have.
This particular study also shows how the team handles a certain edge case — in this example, assisting clients with buying and selling the same piece of art.
Case studies like these are a great way to provide more information about what it is like to work with your business, even if you can’t anticipate every question a customer may have.
3. What Is Your Unique Value Proposition?
Some websites lead with what makes their business different — emphasizing the unique offerings they can provide that other businesses don’t. These unique characteristics are the business’s unique value proposition, or UVP.
For example, translating service Gengo advertises its UVP on the homepage of the business’s website — professional translation without the wait.
This homepage demonstrates the UVP quickly and provides supporting content that helps to back up the assertion. On the site navigation bar, visitors can access case studies, testimonials and other content that shows off what Gengo really means when it advertises professional translation.
This approach helps answer one of the biggest questions that visitors may have when browsing your site — why should I shop with you out of all the businesses in your niche?
4. Where Do Customers Go When They Have Questions?
Prospective customers can have a wide range of technical questions. They may need to know how they order, where to find order numbers or how to access certain product features.
Help systems and frequently asked question pages (or FAQs) can help pre-empt these questions, answering them before a visitor gives up or turns to customer support.
A great example of an effective help system is this one, provided by graphic design tech company Adobe.
This help system covers key topics that existing and prospective customers may have — like how to install offered products, how to cancel or upgrade a plan and whether the company charges cancellation fees.
If a visitor has any question about the products the company offers, its payment structure or how to use the software, this help system provides a good place to start.
An FAQ or help system can’t answer every question that a visitor may have, and smaller businesses may not have the content budget to provide in-depth answers for every question. However, any effort can help reduce the chance that visitors have a question your site can’t answer.
5. How Do Prospective Customers Get Started?
Once a customer has decided to make a purchase, you want your site to direct them exactly where they need to go. Streamlining the purchasing process will help ensure that interest in your business turns into a conversion.
Calls-to-action, contextual links and other conversion funnel features will help direct customers to the next step in the buying process.
This site, from cloud storage service Dropbox, shows what this can look like in practice. On this page, there are two possible ways for a customer to move forward — the large sign-up form on the right side and the “Get Started” button at the top right.
The sign-up form provides the quickest way forward for prospective customers, while the “Get Started” button redirects visitors to a page that provides extra information on plans and pricing.
The “Get Started” button is accessible from most of the website, ensuring that even if customers navigate away from the homepage, they can still move to the next step in the sign-up process.
Use Your Business Site to Manage Customer Concerns
Effective site designs can help you pre-empt some of the most common concerns your prospective customers may have.
FAQs, help systems, case studies and a mention of your UVP will help to answer questions and demonstrate how your business gets work done. Making it easy for potential buyers to move from interest to action will ensure your website facilitates as many sales as possible.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.